LAUSD board OKs deal to shorten school year, cancel 1,421 layoffs

The Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education gave final approval today to an agreement with its teachers union that will shorten the school year and cap layoffs at 2,100 workers.

United Teachers Los Angeles announced late last week that its membership had ratified the two-year deal aimed at trimming the district's $640 million budget deficit.

"Today, we thank the teachers for their service and sacrifice on behalf of the students and families of Los Angeles Unified,'' Board President Monica Garcia said. "Your courageous vote protected class size and services to our students and saved the jobs of critically needed teachers and health and human professionals.

"We are grateful for your tireless commitment to our children,'' she said.

The board voted today to rescind 1,421 layoff notices — 1,280 that were sent to permanent elementary teachers, 85 sent to secondary counselors and 56 to school nurses. About 600 more notices are expected to be rescinded later, district officials said.

As part of the agreement between the district and UTLA, teachers will take five unpaid furlough days in a shortened 2009-10 school year, and seven unpaid furlough days —ncluding two days off for students — in a shortened 2010-11 school year.

A total of 1,825 teaching jobs were saved as a result of the deal, according to the district.

The furlough days and shortened school year are expected to save the district $147 million, officials said.

"I am very pleased,'' district Superintendent Ramon Cortines said. "I appreciate the understanding of the district's teachers and the sacrifices they are making of instructional time and salary.''