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

Good news? More students want to go to UC schools; Bad news? More will be turned away

California University Students Demonstrate Statewide For Increased Funding For Education

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Eleven UCLA students sit in a circle after in the intersection of Westwood and Wilshire boulevards as part of a protest of bank practices and rising fees at public universities before they were arrested by are arrested by Los Angeles Police Department on November 9, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The protest organized by ReFund California was one of several planned at universities around the state.

The University of California released its applications numbers for fall 2012 today. Maybe not the most exciting reading, but here are some interesting highlights:

Applications are up across the board from in-state, out-of-state and international students. Kate Jeffery, UC's interim director of undergraduate admissions, attributed this to a general trend across the nation of students "hedging their bets and not just applying to private institutions" any more.

In numbers:

  • UC saw a 56 percent increase in freshman applications from out-of-state and international students, which brought the applicant figures up from 21,095 to 33,001 for fall 2012. (Out-of-state applicants went from 12,759 to 19,128 and international applicants from 8,336 to 13,873.)
  • Apps from California residents were up 9.8 percent to 93,298. ("From the point of view of affordability, students affected by the economy may be considering UC instead of just a private education," Jeffery said.) Jeffery also said the increase might be because of the system's decision to drop the SAT II subject test requirement for applicants this year.
  • Overall, there was a record high of 160,939 students who applied to UC, up 13.2 percent from last year. UCLA specifically saw a 12.7 percent increase in apps, with freshmen apps specifically up by 19.1 percent.

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It's gotten bad: Budget issues literally push one school official to her hands and knees

Before the pledge, she got down on her hands and knees in front of the horseshoe and began a prayer to God — asking for forgiveness and asking for all in the room to repent for their sins.

That's how Inglewood Unified School Board vice president Trina Williams started the district's first meeting of the year, reports my KPCC colleague Adolfo Guzman-Lopez.

The night apparently didn't get any less dramatic, as the board discussed the likelihood that it would run out of money in the next few months and be forced to declare bankruptcy. That would likely mean the state would strip the school board of its powers and take over the operations of the 12,000-student district.

Guzman-Lopez reported over KPCC's airwaves today:

"The district expects an $18 million deficit by the end of this fiscal year. The superintendent recommended taking out loans, freezing expenses and laying off employees. Inglewood schools have already dismissed 223 workers, mostly teachers, to cut the deficit. The teachers’ union president said a declaration of bankruptcy and a state takeover would stem the flow of red ink."

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Parcel tax would charge Angelenos $200 to $300 annually to raise cash for schools

School Shooting

Nick Ut/AP

The incoming head of the Los Angeles Unified School District, John Deasy, speaks to the media while students line up for a security check upon their arrival at Gardena High School in Gardena, Calif. on Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2011. The high school where a gun went off in a student's backpack and wounded two classmates failed to use a metal-detector to check youngsters as required, Deasy, said Wednesday. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

L.A. Unified Superintendent John Deasy gave a few more details on a possible parcel tax to KPCC this morning. He said though it is premature to say exactly how much it would ask people to pay, it is probably in the range of $200 to $300 a year per parcel, to try to close the district's budget gap and raise money for schools.

"The range will be determined by the gap," Deasy said. It's not a political decision...it's about necessity."

The nation's second-largest district faces a $543 million budget shortfall and the potential of more cuts if an initiative Gov. Jerry Brown is trying to put before voters to raise taxes is not approved. The governor's proposed 2012 budget presumes these initiatives would pass; otherwise public education would be hit by $4.8 billion in cuts.

The initiative would temporarily increase sales tax by one-and-a-half percent and income taxes on people earning more than $250,000. The increases would expire in 2017.

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LAUSD budget shortfall: $543 million and thousands could be laid off

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A school bus drives by on Oct. 8, 2008 in Los Angeles.

John Deasy

Nick Ut/AP

John Deasy, head of the Los Angeles Unified School District


L.A. Unified Superintendent John Deasy painted a stark budget picture at today's first board meeting of the year — a $543 million budget shortfall for the next academic year, plus the possibility that thousands of employees could face layoffs, whole school programs could be cut, and months of school could be lost.

"Quite simply we've reached the point where there is not a single solitary thing in this budget that can and should be reduced," Deasy said. "I actually believe, at this point, that the rights of youth are completely imperiled, if not outright violated, by the continued cuts in public education in the state of California."

At Tuesday's board meeting, Deasy's presentation went from dark to depressing, as he outlined the possible scenarios the nation's second-largest district faces, depending on whether an initiative to raise taxes that the governor is trying to put on the November ballot is approved by voters.

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LAUSD examines plan to up student enrollment

An empty classroom

BES Photos/Flickr (cc by-nc-nd)

A typical classroom.

Superintendent John Deasy painted an ominous picture of the school district's budget for the coming year at Tuesday's LAUSD board meeting. The district is looking at a $543 million budget deficit for 2012-13. He raised the possibility of putting a parcel tax before voters on the November ballot to help raise revenue for schools. If Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed 2012 budget is approved and his initiative to temporarily increase taxes is passed by voters in November, the district would receive about $237 million in state funding, Deasy said. If not, K-12 education would be cut by $4.8 billion. Thousands of employees could face layoffs, entire programs could be cut, and months of school might be lost, Deasy told boardmembers.

The board unanimously approved a resolution (6-0, board member Bennett Kayser wasn't present) to examine expanding magnet school, dual immersion and IB program enrollment to remedy the district's declining enrollment numbers. The district also agreed look at expanding Gifted and Talented Education testing to all students, not just those whose parents or teachers ask. The resolution also asks the district to review the risks and benefits of allowing families the ability to choose multiple magnet schools (instead of just one) during the application process.

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