LA Unified budget includes nearly 3,000 layoffs

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The Los Angeles Unified’s board of education yesterday approved a final budget for the next fiscal year. To close a large state funding gap the school district is projecting it’ll have to lay off nearly 3,000 employees before the fall to help close a large funding deficit.

Many of the employees who face layoff are campus clerical workers represented by the California School Employees Association. Schools couldn’t function without them according to chapter president Susan Gossman.

"Who’s going to input grades? Who’s going to provide rosters for teachers? Who’s going to put together teacher roll books? Who’s going to supervise student workers? Who’s going to assist kids with college apps? Because we all know counselors are too impacted for that," Gossman told board members.

The budget the school board approved projects concessions from all labor unions and imposes cuts to central office budgets, arts education and adult education.

"I want a daily update on what are the progress of the negotiations," Board Member Steve Zimmer told Superintendent Ramon Cortines, "because at this point with so many people on the line we need to be involved."

The state requires all school districts to submit three-year balanced budget plans every July. L.A. Unified administrators said only the budget for the next fiscal year will be in the black.

"Districts are in a very difficult position. Because of the continued, overall state budget problems all that I would call low hanging fruit has already been plucked," Ken Shelton, head of Business Services at the L.A. County Office of Education, said referring to employee layoffs at many school districts.

Shelton wouldn’t talk about the penalties for violating the requirement. He expects a significant portion of L.A. County school districts to also submit budgets that bleed red ink.