To help close an expected $718 million budget deficit, the Los Angeles Unified School District voted today to send temporary layoff notices to nearly 9,000 employees, most of them teachers. KPCC's Adolfo Guzman-Lopez attended the contentious school board meeting and filed this report.
Adolfo Guzman-Lopez: As the meeting began, union president AJ Duffy stepped to the microphone. He had promised the union would oppose the temporary layoffs by getting arrested, if necessary. School Board President Monica Garcia asked him to stop.
Monica Garcia: Mr Duffy, you are out of order.
AJ Duffy: We are willing to call off this demonstration if we get a guarantee from the district –
Garcia: Mr Duffy.
Duffy: – that our teachers and health and human service professionals will not be cut.
Garcia: I need you to sit down. We have business to conduct. Mr Duffy, last chance. This disturbance has interrupted our meeting.
Guzman-Lopez: Garcia reconvened the meeting in a nearby room. Duffy said he knew of Garcia's plans. No one was arrested.
District Superintendent Ramon Cortines led the discussion about layoffs. He said the proposed cuts will reduce L.A. Unified 's spending by nearly a billion-and-a-half dollars in the last two years.
Superintendent Ramon Cortines: This crisis has provided us with the opportunity to restructure our district. To focus on our schools. However, it creates a domino effect, bumping from the central office, to the local office, to schools.
Guzman-Lopez: In the end, the school board voted to warn 8,846 people they may not have a job the next school year. The list includes principals, elementary school teachers, and math, English, and science teachers in the secondary grades, as well as counselors and social workers. District administrators say they may not issue final layoff notices for another three months.