Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Sky is Falling: LAUSD Has Only $700 Million in Surplus

Last week, LAUSD presented an Interim Financial Report stating that it will end the 2011-2012 school year with reserves of over $700 Million, roughly 12% of its $6 Billion budget.

Despite this sizeable nest egg, the district still voted 6-1 to approve a worst-case scenario budget closing all the adult schools and it issued pink slips to all teachers, administrators and staff in Adult Education. This is after laying off thousands of regular education employees earlier in the month.

So why all the gloom and doom when the districts is sitting on so much cash?

Districts around the state have been using the financial crisis to argue that financial uncertainty necessitates austerity measures such as continued downsizing, furloughs, and wage and benefits cuts. Yet at the same time they have been implementing all sort of expensive “reforms” like Common Core Standards and reconfigured evaluation procedures.

A perpetual state of crisis makes it much easier to convince the public and sometimes the teachers, too, that austerity is inevitable. It also makes it easier to justify the selling off of district resources. According to the 4LA Kids blog, there are already reports of charter schools operators prowling around the facilities used by adult schools in hopes of getting a cut rate deal on the buildings.

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