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Mayor to Meet With LAUSD Board Members, Teachers, & Parents

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LAUSD Board President Monica Garcia discussing layoffs
LAUSD Board President Monica Garcia, seen discussing layoffs at the March 31st meeting, will be joined by Mayor Villaraigosa and others today to talk about alternatives to teacher layoffs.


LAUSD Board President Monica Garcia, seen discussing layoffs at the March 31st meeting, will be joined by Mayor Villaraigosa and others today to talk about alternatives to teacher layoffs.
With one day left before the LAUSD Board is due to vote on the postponed motion for thousands of layoffs district-wide at their regularly scheduled meeting, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is expected to meet later this morning with teachers and parents to talk about ways to avoid the ax falling so mightily.Joining Villaraigosa will be LAUSD Board President Monica Garcia and Vice President Yolie Flores Aguilar. Although layoffs have been the subject of much discussion in recent weeks, the Board opted to delay the vote in the hopes that more conversations between teachers' bargaining units, Board members, parents, and Superintendent Ramon Cortines could elucidate legitimate options as alternatives to laying off over 3,000 teachers--many of whom are self-described as the newest, youngest, and most enthusiastic on the payroll, and who have been holding frequent protests. The layoffs also span to include thousands of other LAUSD employees who work in a variety of capacities, such as janitorial or food service, among others.

The common objection among those who may face the chopping block, as well as critics of the LAUSD, is that the cuts should come from higher on the hog, so to speak. Many believe that the district could do much to counter the over $600 million deficit if they were to "trim the fat" from higher up. Another option that some teachers endorse is to take furloughs, an idea to which the United Teachers Los Angeles--their union--rejects.

For his part, "Villaraigosa is expected to recommend that LAUSD employees agree to salary reductions and cutting administrative costs to save teacher jobs," as well as seeing that "100 percent of federal stimulus money to go to schools."

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Despite this period of dialogue, Cortines remains fairly certain that layoffs are inevitable, and that the federal stimulus money will not fully address the district's budgetary woes. Initially reluctant to delay action on the proposed cuts, the Superintendent who recently reached his first 100 days in the position, has the unenviable task of preparing schools and administrators for reduced budgets and staffs for the upcoming school year. Further, "Cortines also said he might consider stepping down from his job if the board delayed a decision."