LA school board delays vote on layoffs

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L.A. Unified's board of education was ready to cut more than 8,500 jobs at its board meeting yesterday. After nearly three hours of deliberation, loud protests outside the meeting room and a letter from Washington D.C., the board decided to put off the decision for two weeks. KPCC's Adolfo Guzman-Lopez has the story.

Adolfo Guzman-Lopez: Members of several L.A. Unified labor unions chanted outside school district headquarters.

["Save our schools!" chant]

Guzman-Lopez: Inside, civic leaders, teachers, and students urged board members not to cut teacher jobs to close a nearly $1 billion deficit. Markie Metzlee is a second grader at Topeka Drive Elementary school in Northridge.

Markie Metzlee: I am also a future USC Trojan, but only if you continue to provide me with the same sort of great teachers I have right now. Mr. Cortines, Ms. Galatzan. [speaks in Korean]

Guzman-Lopez: The 7-year-old addressed administrators in Korean and Spanish. Nine Southland members of Congress also had an opinion. They sent a letter, read by a board member, urging the board delay job cuts and find other cost saving measures.

Board member Yolie Flores Aguilar suggested the school board negotiate pay cuts and furloughs with labor unions. The school district, Superintendent Ramon Cortines said, would save $15 million if all employees took one unpaid day off.

Cortines agreed to sit down with union leaders in the next two weeks to talk furloughs. A.J. Duffy leads the school district's largest union, United Teachers Los Angeles.

A.J. Duffy: I'm not even willing to discuss that at this point. What I want to see is more cut from the bureaucracy. This is an ineffective, inefficient bureaucracy run by board members who have totally missed sight of what their job is.

Guzman-Lopez: The president of the union that represents about 2,500 school district administrators says he'll hear out the superintendent's furlough suggestions.