First furlough day for 680,000 L.A. Unified students

The parents and guardians of nearly 700,000 Los Angeles Unified School District students had to make alternate plans for their kids today. It’s the first unpaid day off for the staffs of most district schools.

L.A. Unified’s 70,000 employees took the unpaid day off to help close a $600 million budget deficit. In March, the school district’s largest union, United Teachers Los Angeles, agreed to five furlough days this academic year and seven next year.

The district’s 29-story headquarters in downtown L.A. closed for the day. So did more than a thousand campuses. The furloughs are expected to save the district $140 million. That money, by agreement with the teachers union, is to be used to save about two thousand jobs – mostly for teachers.

The furlough day resulted in more teenagers out and about in L.A. streets and malls. In the neighborhoods, more families with young children were visible, compared with the middle of a typical Friday. The 340-officer L.A. Schools Police is not subject to furloughs. A watch commander reported few incidents, but no one was available to explain how the school district shutdown affected the police force’s deployment.

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