LA Unified set to take final vote on budget cuts

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After months of deliberation, Los Angeles Unified School District board members are set to vote tomorrow on cuts that’ll add up to nearly $900 million for the coming fiscal year. KPCC’s Adolfo Guzman-Lopez has more.

Adolfo Guzman-Lopez: The most contentious proposal is to lay off about 2,000 L.A. Unified teachers. To offset state budget cuts, Superintendent Ramon Cortines says he’s already cut support staff jobs and central office budgets.

Ramon Cortines: I just don’t think we can avoid the inevitable. Nobody has provided a plan. Not one of the bargaining units. Not any group of people. They all say to me, "don’t do this." But they don’t offer any alternative.

Guzman-Lopez: Teachers union leaders say Cortines could have made even more cuts before proposing teacher layoffs. USC school financing expert Larry Picus praises L.A. Unified for avoiding big teacher layoffs until now.

Larry Picus: The difficulty of course is that virtually all the district spending occurs at school sites. So if you’re going to make the size reductions in spending that the district is forced to make, you have to reduce available resources at schools.

Guzman-Lopez: Picus says if teachers had agreed to pay cuts, more jobs could have been saved. The school board will also discuss whether to place a parcel tax on next year’s ballot to help close next year’s expected deficit.

Superintendent Cortines says he doesn’t look forward to tomorrow’s meeting. Protests are planned outside district headquarters in downtown L.A.