Over A Hundred Layoffs Expected In Proposed LAUSD Budget
The Los Angeles Unified School District is expected to approve Tuesday a budget of $7.5 billion for the upcoming fiscal year. The proposal includes layoffs for 121 workers, and 180 "reassignments" that could result in lower pay, reports the L.A. Times.
The layoffs largely fall on library aides, with 30 aides expected to lose their jobs if the budget is passed. That would leave 43 elementary schools without staffing at their libraries. Other employees that are expected to be laid off include clerks, payroll specialists, accounting technicians, and teaching aides.
No teachers are expected to face layoffs in the proposed budget.
As for reassignments, the budget buts are expected to affect accountants, accounting analysts, financial analysts, payroll specialists, campus aides and textbook inventory clerks, among others, according to Los Angeles Daily News. Some of these positions are set to see a reduction in hours after reassignment.
As noted at the Times, the LAUSD is facing a budget crunch, partly because of anticipation of less funding from the federal level. In the proposed budget, district officials are projecting a 20% cut to Title 1, a federal anti-poverty aid.
According to the Washington Post, President Trump's administration has proposed cutting $10.6 billion from federal education initiatives, and take $1 billion from Title I to spend on a new grant program called Furthering Options for Children to Unlock Success, or FOCUS, which urges school districts to to allow students to choose which public school they attend. The students, if they change schools, would bring their federal, state and local dollars along with them. Democrats have criticized the proposal, saying that —the allowing of Title 1 dollars to follow a student—would redirect money from underserved schools and boost schools in affluent neighborhoods.
In a letter prefacing the proposed budget, LAUSD Superintendent Michelle King said that the district "must remain vigilant in addressing the uncertainties at the state and federal levels, including possible funding changes that could impact our most disadvantaged students."
Another factor that takes a hit at LAUSD's wallet: a declining trend in enrollment. As reported at LA Weekly, LAUSD owns 750 properties on land that makes up more than the city of Santa Monica, but many of the schools are under-enrolled. After enrollment had peaked in 2004 with about 750,000 students, the pool has been shrinking each year since then; today it stands at about 514,000. Charter schools have redirected some of those students away from public schools, but even charter schools have been seeing smaller enrollment numbers.
LA Weekly attributes the shrinking enrollment to declining birthrates. As reported in an earlier Times article, California’s birthrate dropped to its lowest level ever in 2016; between July 2015 and July 2016, there were 12.42 births per 1,000 Californians. The rate hadn't dipped down to those figures since the Great Depression, when it was 12.6 per 1,000 in 1933. During the '50s, it was not uncommon to see the rate hit 25 births per 1,000 Californians.
The school board is scheduled to approve the budget today at 3 p.m. A separate, special board meeting will be held at 12 p.m. to discuss the possible layoffs.
LAist has reached out to United Teachers Los Angeles, but have not heard back by time of publication.