LAUSD Wrangles with Budget Woes

December 17, 2018 - 9:06 am

(KNX 1070) - With student enrollment falling, and pension costs rising, the Los Angeles Unified School District continues to spend a lot more money than it is taking in.  

And if it’s not resolved, authorities could step in and take over.

LAUSD must submit a report Monday to the LA County Office of Education on what exactly it plans to do to deal with the deficit spending.

Dr. Candi Clark is the CFO for the LA County Office of Education who says it’s s a serious situation and they want to know what the district is doing about it.

According to one report, some of the things on the budget chopping block include the district’s chief of police position and 13 police officers for a savings of more than $1.5 million.   

Los Angeles Unified School District teachers marched on Saturday to try to garner support for a strike.

Friday was the last day for students before their Winter Break and they may come back to find their teachers gone out on the picket lines. 

Classes are scheduled to resume on January 7.

The teachers union has handed out “strike kits” to its leaders. The school district has reached out to parents distributing “family resource guides” to prepare them for a possible strike. 

Nick Melvoin is the Vice President of the School Board and he says meeting union demands could lead to thousands of layoffs or move the school district closer to bankruptcy.

But Teachers’ union president Alex Caputo Pearl scoffs at that, saying LA Unified can tap into its big reserve fund.

A mediator has tried to resolve the impasse and a report is due out soon.

Once the report is public, the school district could choose to just impose a new contract and the teachers could choose to hit the streets.

United Teachers Los Angeles had planned to walk out in January. 

They do emphasize that schools will remain open if a strike occurs. During the last strike in 1989, one of the big problems was students skipping school.    

In October, a mediation session ended with no contract and the district immediately filed an unfair labor practice charge against the United Teachers Los Angeles for allegedly refusing to bargain in good faith.  

The union represents about 33,000 teachers.

The district is offering a six-percent raise over two years and class-size reductions, but the union says the proposal does nothing to make schools better.  During the negotiations, the Los Angeles Unified School District updated its offer to include a 6 percent pay raise over two years and a reduction in class size to schools that need it the most.

United Teacher Los Angeles called it insulting to its 33,000  members. 

The union is asking for a 6.5 percent pay increase retroactive to July of 2016.