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Inglewood Unified classified employees say no to cost cutting plan

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KPCC radio reporter Adolfo Guzman-Lopez sends over his notes on Wednesday night's Inglewood meeting:

Led by their union president, a group of Inglewood Unified classified employees voiced their opposition to a cost cutting plan at the scheduled school board meeting Wednesday night. Union president Jameer Ali told board members during public comment that a plan to cut $7 million to qualify for a loan to fend of bankruptcy is misguided. Ali recommended the board give up its mileage stipend. “We can say that you guys are concerned with the district and are stepping forward and then employees will not have a problem with that,” he said.

The 12,000 student school district faces a large budget deficit that county and state education officials warn is pushing it into bankruptcy by the summer. The board is proposing a plan to recoup some of the thousands of students the district has lost in the last few years. Magic Johnson Enterprises is proposing that the district award it a contract to run one such program. The company’s chief of marketing, Gerald Johnson said the program could recoup at least 150 students and the state funding the comes to the district. “The idea is that we want to leverage the power of the Magic Johnson brand, we want to leverage the fact that Magic Johnson Enterprises and the Magic Johnson Foundation has been in local communities around the country for years, he said.

Finance officials with the L.A. County Office of Education are monitoring the district’s finances. They say board members need to take drastic measures to avoid a state take over if the district goes bankrupt.

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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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