LAUSD Superintendent releases plan to lay off fewer teachers

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Los Angeles Unified School District's superintendent said today that the district will have to lay off fewer teachers than expected to close a large deficit in next year's budget. KPCC's Adolfo Guzman-Lopez has the story.

Adolfo Guzman-Lopez: Superintendent Ramon Cortines said he'd identified money to avoid laying off about 1,900 elementary school teachers, about one-fifth of those given provisional layoff notices. He said experienced teachers have been key to raising test scores.

Ramon Cortines: I want to do everything possible to continue that trajectory.

Guzman-Lopez: L.A. Unified board members want pay concessions from labor unions to help close the budget deficit. To varying degrees, the unions say no.

Those differences were evident during a town hall convened by L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa at a middle school in L.A.'s Pico Union district. Most who attended, including Los Feliz parent Alex Horner, showed up to oppose teacher layoffs.

Alex Horner: I look around this room and I see all these people here, and I see the mayor see all these people, and I think there is hope, there is hope.

Guzman-Lopez: Other Los Feliz parents said the teachers' union should agree to employee furloughs and pay cuts to avert layoffs. Afteward, the union representative at this school, Julie Van Winkle, said L.A. Unified's central office should cut costs first, and Mayor Villaragiosa and school board president Monica Garcia were right to support that idea.

Julie Van Winkle: Then at the end I felt like she was almost saying they were planning on going ahead and voting on these terminations so that they could move on with their agenda.

Guzman-Lopez: The teachers' union wants the school district to use all federal stimulus funds to prevent layoffs. L.A. Unified leaders say using that money now would be foolish because they expect another budget shortfall after this fiscal year.