The Los Angeles Unified School District barely made it through the 2009 – 2010 school year without having to undergo major teacher layoffs and cutbacks—thanks largely in part to over $100 million in federal stimulus money, the district was able to hold onto 12,000 jobs over the past two years. And still 4,700 employees will have been laid off, with a future that seems bleaker and more uncertain. Staring down a projected state budget deficit of $28 billion and out of federal stimulus funds, the LAUSD superintendent is warning of furlough days, spending cuts and more layoffs. The district is still facing an ongoing deficit of $142 million, making budget cuts through some means all but inevitable. Teachers unions are gearing up to push back against these cuts and 2011 threatens to be a very contentious year. How can L.A.’s public schools thrive under these difficult circumstances?
Ramon Cortines, Superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District