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.
The first LAUSD board meeting is just getting under way. I have a shoddy Internet connection here. So not sure how many updates I'll be able to give. I'll be writing up something shortly after if I can't tweet or blog.
MGShelton/Flickr (by cc_nc_nd)
It's the first week of school after the holidays for LAUSD students (welcome back), and board members will also be returning to work with today's first board meeting of the new year.
A few scheduled highlights:
• Supt. John Deasy will give an update on the district's budget situation. This was supposed to be the day Gov. Jerry Brown unveiled his proposed 2012 budget. But with its accidental release last Thursday, today's meeting is going to instead deal with the response. LAUSD spokesman Tom Waldman said we should hear about some ways the district is looking to raise revenue.
• The board will also deal with two resolutions that both seek to remedy the district's declining enrollment numbers.
One resolution (which will be introduced today in advance of a vote next week) proposes to do away with the enrollment boundaries for L.A. Unified neighborhood schools to give parents more flexibility and allow them to select a school within the district that fits their child's needs.