LAUSD budget outlook looking dire

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L.A Unified’s superintendent presented several dire scenarios Tuesday to close a school district funding deficit he predicts will top a billion dollars in the next three fiscal years.

In a statement, Superintendent Ramon Cortines says a combination of salary cuts, furlough days, and cuts in the length of the school year will be necessary to close the school district’s funding deficit.

It’ll help to have supplemental federal jobs money for next year, the superintendent says – but not enough to close a $268 million deficit in the 2011–2012 fiscal year that could affect 3,300 jobs. The deficit for that year could reach about $900 million.

Cortines has identified $5 million to cut from central office expenses. He also suggests cuts to employee health and pension benefits. L.A. Unified expects to spend $1 billion a year on health and welfare costs, officials said.

The school district’s teachers union said the predictions are exaggerations meant to help the district through labor negotiations. The union wants the district to use all its federal jobs money now.

L.A. Unified teachers accepted five unpaid instructional days off this school year to help cut the district’s current school year deficit.