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Tamar Galatzan: Plotting a course for LAUSD’s future

LA School Report | May 6, 2014

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imgresVia LA Daily News | By Tamar Galatzan, LA Unified’s board member for District 3

It’s budget time again in Los Angeles Unified, a process that for the last five years meant agonizing decisions to cut programs, scale back services and lay off employees because of the crippling financial crisis.

This year, thankfully, the board doesn’t have to deal with these gut-wrenching alternatives. A boost in state funding — the result of an improving economy and higher taxes — and a new way of disbursing the money means LAUSD can start restoring popular programs and services and investing in new ones. Despite the infusion of revenue, the budget process is going to be tough again this year because of the competing demands, requests and proposals for how the money should be spent.

LAUSD employees who haven’t had a pay hike for seven years say it’s time for them to get a raise. Overworked principals want assistant principals, office staff and maintenance crews assigned back to their campuses. Teachers say they need training in technology and the new Common Core curriculum. Parents are calling for smaller classes for their kids, along with the return of arts teachers, librarians, nurses and counselors. Community groups want more of all of these resources for students living in poverty.

Each of these options is badly needed — especially when you consider that the district made more than $5 billion in cuts during the recession. The problem is, the additional money simply isn’t going to be enough to make these goals a reality — at least, not all at once.

Read the full commentary here.

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