School districts throughout the state of California are drafting a series of alternative budgets, hoping to be ready for which ever financial reality turns out to come true. Currently, Gov. Brown is promising the same k-12 funding as last year, assuming voters agree to tax themselves in June, a promise that is likely to be broken. If this fantasy does not come true, the Legislative Analyst Office has proposed billions of dollars in cuts. Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) has just approved their doomsday budget, and sent layoff notices to over 7,000 employees.
The Los Angeles School Board voted 5 to 2 in favor of the Doomsday Budget, which includes $408 million worth of cuts. If the Brown tax plan goes through, however, the cuts will closer to $200 million. LAUSD is also asking employees to accept “shared sacrifices” such as more unpaid furlough days. (They already voluntarily accepted furlough days this year, and would continue with those next year, plus additional ones under the new plan). Approximately 5,000 teachers will receive pink slips, while many low seniority teachers will be protected at 45 low-income, low-performing schools as a result of a recent court ruling. The plan also calls for increasing class sizes, with kindergartens ballooning to 30 students per class.
Ultimately, LA schools will become much less safer, with fewer adults around to supervise, teach, and provide counseling and health services for students. School cultures will suffer, too, as well-respected and quality teachers are let go, increasing anxiety and uncertainty among remaining stuff. LAUSD’s lame duck superintendent, Ramon Cortines, said that it is time for “all of us to come together to restore essential services needed by our children.” However, he will not be giving up any of his pension to help the children and he won’t be around to see the devastation, while the Doomsday plan will do just the opposite: reduce or eliminate essential services. Incoming super, John Deasy, cried crocodile tears for teachers, saying no one wants furloughs or layoffs. However, his six figure salary is unlikely to suffer, either.