LAUSD board approves plan to lay off thousands of employees

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On a 4-to-3 vote Tuesday, the Los Angeles Unified school board decided to cut nearly 7,000 positions, half of them teaching jobs, to close a gaping deficit in the coming fiscal year's budget. KPCC's Adolfo Guzman-Lopez has more.

Adolfo Guzman-Lopez: Before the vote parents, teachers, and even a former L.A. Unified board member pleaded with the board not to lay off teachers.

Jackie Goldberg: We laid off all those music teachers, we laid off the reading teachers, we laid off the P.E. teachers.

Guzman-Lopez: Jackie Goldberg served on the board two decades ago during a similar fiscal crisis.

Goldberg: If you do what you are supposed to do today, if you do the responsible thing today you will be nailing, like I did, another nail in the coffin of public education.

Guzman-Lopez: Against labor union suggestions, superintendent Ramon Cortines recommended using federal funds to spare jobs over two years. The board put off a layoffs decision last week so Cortines could negotiate concessions from district labor unions. He told the board he'd identified money to spare nearly 2,000 elementary school teachers but reported no progress with the unions.

Ramon Cortines: At this time, our collective bargaining units have not agreed to staff reductions, so I believe that I must proceed with my recommendation.

Guzman-Lopez: Cortines said union concessions are still possible before L.A. Unified submits a final budget to county officials in about two months. The president of the 48,000 member teachers union wasn't as hopeful. The union's planning rallies to oppose the board vote.