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Pencils Down: L.A. Unified Board Approves Final Budget With Pay Cuts & 3000 Layoffs

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In the face of a $408-million shortfall, the Los Angeles Board of Education approved its final budget on Thursday, "bridging a multimillion-dollar deficit in the state's largest school district with pay cuts and the layoffs of about 3,000 people, including some teachers, counselors and office workers," according to the LA Times.

Members said they had no choice but to order the cuts because of declining revenue from the state and federal governments. The general fund is about $7 billion. "It is criminal what we are doing at the state level … but I know it's the best budget we can have at this moment," said board member Steve Zimmer, who voted for the budget. Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte cast the only dissenting vote on the seven-member board.

It is unclear how much revenue the district will receive from the state budget signed Thursday by Gov. Jerry Brown. Los Angeles Unified officials reached agreements in early June with most of its employee unions to take furlough days in an effort to save money and jobs. Other savings were achieved at the cost of cutting and scaling down programs like the district's successful Academic Decathlon program, shifting money from accounts to the general fund and other financial maneuvers.

More than 55% of the district's office workers have been laid off since 2008, said Connie Moreno, a representative of the California School Employees Assn., one of the unions that did not agree to furlough days.
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Looking ahead, district officials said next year's budget could face a $629-million deficit.