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Public gets last chance to shape LAUSD 2014-2015 budget

Vanessa Romo | June 16, 2014

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Superintendent John Deasy LAUSD*UPDATED

The revised budget is in the hands of the LA Unified Board of Education, but the public has a final opportunity tomorrow to weigh in on how the district’s $7 billion budget will be spent.

The board has set a limit of 30 speakers to address the six members for two minutes each, to advocate for their causes célèbres.

But in all likelihood, the budget presented last week by Superintendent John Deasy and the spending plan that reflects the new revenue from the state’s Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) will not change significantly after parents, students and community leaders have their say. In fact, there’s very little the board members can do, either, as the budget approaches a final vote on June 24 and presentation to the LA County Office of Education before July 1.

School board members cannot veto line items. To adjust spending in a particular area, a member must raise the issue for discussion, make recommendations on where to find an offset, then persuade a majority of colleagues to agree to the changes.

“I don’t think that’s going to be happening,” Chris Torres, Chief of Staff for board President Richard Vladovic, told LA School Report. “The board members have expressed everything they’ve needed to express in the past meetings.”

The only item on the agenda that may impact the budget is Bennett Kayser’s resolution to invest $44 million over the next three years in early education. His motion would earmark $10 million for the upcoming school year, $14 million in 2015-2016 and $20 million in 2016-2017.

Meanwhile, the teachers union, UTLA, is pressing for more changes. Union leaders are planning a noon press conference at district headquarters to campaign for major changes in Deasy’s budget, including money to return teachers, counselors, nurses, librarians and social workers who were laid off during the recession.

“The Superintendent’s budget does not do enough to restore these key positions,” the union said in a press release. “The 640,000 students in this district deserve the type of support system that exists in many other districts across California and the nation.  This inequity cannot be ignored.”

Among other issues tomorrow, Kayser has a motion before the board, to keep Stuart Magruder, an architect, on the Bond Oversight Committee. Magruder’s reappointment for a two-year term was blocked last month because of his opposition to using bond money for iPads.

Deasy is expected to deliver on his promise to provide the board with a final formula for the Student Need Index, which is supposed to identify the district’s neediest schools by taking into account such factors as graduation rates, local crime and environmental health conditions.

The Index was passed in a 5 -1 vote last week, on the condition by board member Monica Ratliff that the superintendent quickly come up with a plan to identify the schools that will be getting additional LCFF dollars as a result of the new plan.

The board is also considering final spending plans for the district’s 53 affiliated charter schools.

For board agenda, click here, and here (for special meeting agenda).

For board materials, click here, and here (for final budget proposal).

Adds details about UTLA press conference.


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