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Deasy to Board: Your Wish List Could Cost $1.4 Billion

Hillel Aron | August 19, 2013

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LA Unified Superintendent John Deasy will tell the LAUSD School Board on Tuesday that its wish list for new hires and other programs will cost the district up to $1.4 billion at a time the district is still facing a deficit of $350 million.

The board asked Deasy in June to develop spending proposals that include hiring teachers, social workers and grounds workers and others, back to pre-recession levels, as well as a plan to extend the school year. He will make his presentation at the board’s meeting on Tuesday.

Thanks to voter approval of Proposition 30 and Governor Jerry Brown‘s Local Control Funding Formula (or LCFF), many are expecting new revenue to flow into the district. But Deasy’s report will show that district budget deficit may still reach as much as $350 million in the 2014-15 school year. This year’s $450 million hole was offset, in part, by $200 million in one-time funds from the state.

The district’s short-term budgetary woes were made slightly worse by the latest version of LCFF, which will net LAUSD about $30 million less than it originally expected.

As a result, the district may not have the kind of money to buy all the things board members want. Deasy’s presentation suggests that the total price tag for hiring everyone the School Board wants could approach half a billion dollars.

The estimated costs of the School Board's wish list

Deasy’s estimated costs of the School Board’s wish list

Hiring enough teachers to bring the teacher-to-student ratio down to pre-recession levels?  That’s $207 million. Making sure there’s one psychiatric social worker for every school site? That’s $68.8 million. Bringing back adult education enrollment to 2011-12 levels? That’s $63 million. All those new hires would add up to $499.8 million.

Both Deasy and teachers union President Warren Fletcher have said that they would like teachers to get raises, and the SEIU local 99, which represents classified employees, is also expected to ask for raises. Deasy estimates giving employees raises of 6 percent would cost as much as $240 million.

A proposal by Monica Garcia, a Deasy ally, to explore lengthening the school year, was also passed in June. Deasy estimates the cost of adding 15 to 20 school days as $225 million to $300 million.

The entire wish list, including that $350 million shortfall? $1.2 billion to $1.4 billion.

The Board is currently scheduled to make a decision about new hires in September.

Previous posts: Board Preview: Deasy Will Present Hiring Options and Their CostMarathon Board Meeting Signals Changes to ComeConflicting Options at Tomorrow’s Board Meeting; Board to Consider Hiring, Formula IssuesDeasy Wants to Revamp Local School Funding Formula

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