So Cal education, LAUSD, the Cal States and the UCs

Hundreds of protesters line streets before LA Unified board meeting

protesers LAUSD board

Tami Abdollah / KPCC

Protesters gather outside LAUSD board meeting on Tuesday, March 13, 2012. One mom (left, in red) Katherine Donapetry, was there to support early education for her two daughters, noting that parents had tried raising money. "We don't know what else to do."

Hundreds of protesters lined the street outside L.A. Unified's downtown headquarters today to speak out against proposed budget cuts that would eviscerate the adult and early education programs as well as funding for programs such as Academic Decathlon.

Katherine Donapetry stood outside with other parents from Vanalden Avenue Early Education Center in Reseda to protest cuts that would eliminate such a program. Donapetry has a 5-year-old and 2-year-old daughter.

"My 5-year-old...it's done great things for her. She's ready for kindergarten," Donapetry said. "I want hte same thing for my little girl, and all the children after."

Donapetry said parents have worked to raise funds, volunteer and even help clean the school grounds.

"We don't know what else to do," Donapetry said. "Everytime they cut somebody, another parent walks in to help."

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LAUSD board to discuss budget cuts, pink slips, parcel tax, pedophiles

LAUSD board meeting

Tami Abdollah / KPCC

LAUSD board meeting, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012

L.A. Unified's school board meeting Tuesday is expected to be quite the scene, with discussion of budget cuts including teacher pink slips, a parcel tax to increase district revenue, and resolutions on employee dismissal procedures after recent sex-abuse cases have rocked the district.

The board delayed a February vote on the superintendent's budget plan, which then estimated that the district faced a $557 million budget deficit on its $6 billion budget.

The district has since been readjusted its 2012-13 budget shortfall estimate down to $390.2 million due to the state Legislature's vote to restore transportation funding to schools, higher than expected revenues from the lottery and lower expenditures mostly on benefits, said LAUSD spokesman Thomas Waldman.

A nearly $170-million difference may mean fewer layoffs or less severe cuts to programs. The details on what exactly this new deficit figure means will be detailed by Superintendent John Deasy at Tuesday's meeting.

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LA Unified faces $557 million budget shortfall for 2012 and it may get worse

Mercer 20360

Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

L.A. Unified faces a $557 million budget shortfall for 2012, officials announced at a board meeting today. That's up from the previously estimated $543 million. LAUSD said it could lose more than 7,500 employees because of this.

Here are some quick numbers from the presentation:

  • The nation's second largest district faces a fifth year of consecutive deficits. Since 2008-9 total deficits amount to more than $2.8 billion.
  • In 1965, California ranked 5th in the nation for per student funding; today it ranks 46th in the nation in per student funding and 50th in student to teacher ratios. No other portion of the state's budget has been cut as much as K-12 education.
  • If Gov. Jerry Brown's initiative to raise taxes in November does not pass, then LAUSD will face another mid-year cut and its funding per pupil rate will be about $4,888 for 2012-13. Of this amount, the state would pay only $3,224 and give IOUs for the remainder.
  • LAUSD has already laid of 8,000 employees in the last five years. And Supt. John Deasy has reduced central bureaucracy to ensure money goes to instruction; local districts have been reduced from eight to four.
  • The district is trying to put a parcel tax before voters to raise up to $300 million for schools. But even if both the parcel tax and the governor's tax measure pass, L.A. Unifed will still have to make $250-300 million in cuts.

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LAUSD board staff member on budget: 'It's ugly. Absolutely awful unless we get some help.'

John Deasy

Nick Ut/AP

John Deasy, head of the Los Angeles Unified School District

Superintendent John Deasy will unveil the proposed LAUSD budget at today's board meeting with a shortfall greater than expected at $570 million. There are proposed cuts to early education programs, the academic decathlon, science centers, band, and adult education, according to a board staff member who was informed of the proposals Monday.

"It's ugly. Absolutely awful unless we get some help," the board staff member said. "Everything that is good about education that keeps people in schools is going."

The board staff member stressed that the details of the budget may have changed since they were informed, as it is a work in progress.

The budget proposal will be voted on at next week's board meeting. Between now and then it is expected to change a number of times as the board members debate what is or is not a necessary cut.

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Education in brief: CSU board meets, L.A. Unified restructuring, teachers tenure weakens

CSU Broken Glass

Adolfo Guzman-Lopez/KPCC

Protestors broke through a glass door at CSU headquarters in Long Beach on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2011. A San Diego State student was one of several people arrested.

Lots going on in education today. Here's the rundown: 

The Cal State University Board of Trustees is meeting for in Long Beach and are set to debate and vote on changes to the system's executives' pay. You can listen to the discussion on their website. The meeting got off to an emotional start with public comment from angry students who asked the trustees to reconsider tuition increases, and said they would be held responsible for their actions.

Students at Monterey Continuation High School in East L.A. are performing their own plays — "2012 Meets 1970" — with professional actors tonight today and tomorrow. The students interviewed four former participants of the 1970 Chicano Moratorium including organizer Rosalio Munoz, visual artist Viviana Chamberlain, film and television director Jesus Trevino, and AFTRA director Consuelo Flores. More on this to come.

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