Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Budget Update

At yesterday’s Board Meeting, Superintendent Ray Cortines and Chief Financial Officer Megan Reilly provided the Board and the public with a budget update. Because of the State’s deteriorating fiscal condition, Superintendent Cortines and Ms. Reilly anticipate that the District will have to cut at least $250 million for the current school year. This is on top of $427 million the District has already cut from this year’s budget.

Unfortunately, we have very little clear information about what the impact of the State’s budget deficit will be on LAUSD. There have been five different proposals from the Governor, State Legislature and the independent Legislative Analyst Office attempting to close the State budget deficit. But, there has been no agreement. As the State continues to deliberate, the deficit continues to grow and our options to address any mid-year cuts driven by the State become fewer.

Because we do not have a clear picture from Sacramento the District has instituted spending and hiring freezes, and, yesterday, the Board voted to give the Superintendent the authority to send mid-year layoff notices to non-permanent teachers should the state budget crisis become so severe that this action would be necessary. I want to be clear that even though the Board voted to give this authority, the Superintendent will come back to the Board before enacting a mid-year layoff to share with the Board and public his plan for responding to the mid-year budget cuts we will have to make.

I’ve heard from many of you about the lack of logic in laying off our newest teachers. I agree. It is illogical to layoff non-permanent teachers at mid-year. It’s a blanket move that discounts other important factors like performance, the cohesion of a school site team, and the impact on students. But, as I said, with each day of delay, our options are more and more limited, and this action may be one of the few options – given legal and contractual obligations – available to LAUSD should the state budget crisis become so severe that we have to reduce the number of people we employ in the middle of the school year.

The bottom line right now is that no one is receiving layoff notices. We simply do not have enough information about what the State budget crisis will require of us. Superintendent Cortines will come back to the Board once we have more complete budget information from the State and he will share his plan, which will include above all, a focus on streamlining central and local district offices and reducing administrative and non-school positions.

In the meantime, please consider contacting your state representatives to let them know how they can help your child and your school by passing a budget that is fair to education. You can find your local legislator by going to

For more info on the budget, watch "Superintendent Cortines: On the Record" featuring LAUSD Superintendent Ramon C. Cortines, Chief Operating Officer David Holmquist, and Chief Financial Officer Megan Reilly. The three will discuss and examine the LAUSD budget outlook and the potential cuts that face LAUSD in the next few years.

The special report will air on KLCS on the following dates and times:
Wednesday, Jan 14 at 7 p.m.

Thursday, Jan 15 at 4:30 p.m.
Friday, Jan 16 at 6:30 a.m.
Sunday, Jan 18 at 8 a.m.
Tuesday, Jan 20 at 10 a.m.
Thursday, Jan 22 at 10 a.m.


Anonymous said...

Please instruct Ramon Cortines to stop injecting partisan politics into this budget crisis.

First, he sends home a letter to parents -- urging them to organize and swamp their Democratic legislators (there are hardly any GOP legislators in the LAUSD territory).

Then, Cortines sends a memo to staff praising Schwartzeneggar lavishly for his "leadership" during the budget crisis.

This is the work of either a political hatchet man, or an out-of-touch 76-year-old who can't keep his facts straight.

Everyone has to suspect Broad and Riordan's interest in a Sen. Schwartzeneggar and a Gov. Villaraigosa has a big, invisible hand in all this.

It makes all of you on the school board look just terrible: inept; impotent; incompetent.

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