The Los Angeles County Office of Education approved L.A. Unified's $7.3 billion budget this week after county officials raised concerns the district may be misrepresenting its financial figures.
This school year, L.A. Unified Superintendent John Deasy is channeling more than half of the $837 million in state funds for low-income students, English learners and foster youth into the special education program, arguing 80 percent of the special education students fall into one or more of the three targeted groups.
Under California's Local Control Funding law, counties are required to sign off on school districts' spending plans for these high-need students. In late August, Los Angeles county officials asked L.A. Unified to "provide rationale that supports the identification of these expenditures."
Deasy responded in writing, saying the state Legislature does not prohibit "supplanting" funds.
The county conceded.
Arturo Delgado, superintendent for the Los Angeles County Office of Education, said based on the district's argument that most special education students fall in the high-need categories, the shifting of the funds "is appropriate.”