David McNew/Getty Images
Superintendent of Schools Ramon Cortines and other members of the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education in Los Angeles, California. File photo.
Los Angeles Unified officials are expected to approve today a mass mailing of nearly 4,700 layoff notices for teachers, administrators, counselors and nurses as they work to close a crippling $640 million budget deficit.
Recommended by district financial staff in a report to be reviewed today by the Los Angeles school board, the move would virtually eliminate school nurses and librarians, increase all class sizes – including a high of up to 44 students in middle school – and boost counselor loads to 1,000 students each, the Daily News reported.
Layoff notices would also go out to nearly 1,000 janitors and maintenance workers and 520 school office workers, if the board approves the recommendations, according to the newspaper.
While the district often rescinds layoff notices after they are sent, usually because it manages to find money or the unions make concessions, the sheer number of layoffs proposed for the second straight year points to the district's harsh financial reality.
No matter how much money the district can scrape together over coming months, Los Angeles schools Superintendent Ramon Cortines said some layoffs are inevitable, as are cuts to services.
"This is disruptive and doesn't provide stability for our schools, students or parents," Cortines said in remarks reported by the Daily News. "But I have looked at every area in this district... We are already down to the essentials."
District officials told the Daily News that the latest plan could be avoided if employee unions approve other cost-cutting plans, like implementing furloughs or reducing the school year by a week.