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JUST IN: Budget shows big increase, but deficit ahead

Vanessa Romo | June 11, 2015

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budgetLA Unified released a new $7.1 billion budget today that shows a big increase for next year, marking the second year the district will receive funding increases in the hundreds of millions due to higher state revenues.

But despite the added injection of cash —the general fund will grow by more than $700 million over last year, a 12 percent increase — district officials warn the good times will expire in just two years. While district officials project surpluses in 2015-16 and 2016-17, rising expenditures will lead to a $333.4 million deficit by 2017-18.

In a memo to LA Unified Superintendent Ray Cortines and school board members, Chief Financial Officer Megan Reilly explained that drastic cuts to programs would be necessary to balance the budget for that year. However, “If implemented, it would be difficult for the District to retain any semblance of good educational programs for our students,” she wrote.

Here are a few highlights from Cortines’ proposal:

  • The budget reflects an additional $311 million in one-time funds
  • LCFF spending is up by $419 million. About $170 million of that is allocated for students living in poverty, requiring special education services, or foster care students.
  • It reflects salaries compensation increases for bargaining units that have settled for a total of $345.8 million in 2015-16.
  • $170 million have been allocated for spending on programs to make schools more equitable, including “Board priorities such as an A to G and Zero dropout initiative, and Dual Language and Magnet program expansions.”

The budget will be formally presented to the school board on Tuesday, June 16.

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