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Lower enrollment and pension obligations cloud LAUSD’s financial future

LAUSD students at Leland Street Elementary School in Los Angeles.
LAUSD students at Leland Street Elementary School in Los Angeles.
Kyle Stokes/KPCC

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The LA Unified School District Advisory Task Force released its report on Tuesday that identifies challenges the district is facing.

The report - titled ‘Hard Choices’ - calls on LA Unified to create a budget focused on students’ needs. Among the most pressing challenges was the budget deficit, a problem that would force severe cutbacks in programs and jobs.

The district will have a deficit of $400 million by school year 2020-21, according to task force co-chair Wendy Greuel. Unless fixed, the report says, the district will exhaust its savings. Compared to similar school systems, the Los Angeles school district is spending more on teachers’ pay and less on activities that could enhance student learning.

‘Hard Choices’ is based on the work of consultants, who delivered their analysis to LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner’s panel in March. Some conclusions in the report - notably those about salaries and benefits - are expected to be challenged by unions, reports the Los Angeles Times.

We take a closer look at the budget challenges the LAUSD is facing and how the district intends to address them.


Wendy Greuel, co-chair of the LAUSD Task Force, which released a report this week looking at the financial challenges facing the district; former L.A. city controller

Alex Caputo-Pearl, president of the teacher’s union, United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA)

David Tokofsky, a consultant strategist with the Associated Administrators of Los Angeles, which represents principals and other administrators working in LAUSD; former LAUSD board member and a former teacher in the district