By Connie Llanos, Staff Writer | LA Daily News | http://bit.ly/r4wrYA
John Deasy, Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent, Tuesday, photographed on July 26, 2011. (Michael Owen Baker/Staff Photographer) >>
7/28/2011 9:39:09 PM PDT [Updated: 7/29/2011 10:49:52 AM PDT] - Los Angeles Unified Superintendent John Deasy is calling for the repeal of some new state education funding measures that he believes restrict districts' ability to control their own spending and calendar.
The controversial measures were part of the deal reached in Sacramento this summer that allowed the state budget to be passed on time.
AB 114, a one-year bill, requires school districts to maintain staffing levels in the 2011-12 school year equal to those they had this year, based on an assumption that state revenues will increase by $4 billion this year.
The bill also strips local county offices of their responsibility to certify that district budgets are balanced for at least two years; and calls for the shortening of the school year by up to seven days, beyond already approved cuts to the school year of five days, if projected revenues are not realized.
In a July 26 letter to Gov. Jerry Brown, Deasy asked for the repeal of three provisions of AB 114 that he said "will have detrimental effects on all students, and in particular, our students who live in circumstances of poverty, and students of color."
United Teachers Los Angeles has been calling on the school district to bring back a majority of the 1,918 educators who were let go July 1 because of this new state bill.
However, Deasy said LAUSD will not return those educators at this time because they were lost due to declining enrollment, the loss of federal stimulus funding and other factors like increases in expenditures.
LAUSD is projecting the loss of some 20,000 students for the 2011-12 school year - costing the district some $100 million in revenue. The district is also losing more than $200million in federal stimulus funding that expired this year.
UTLA president Warren Fletcher argued that the district is breaking the law because if the state is asking districts to count on additional funding that should mean an increase in teachers hired.
"I am an English teacher, not a math teacher, but at what point does new money coming in start counting towards funding programs," Fletcher said.
"If I disagree with the law, it's a democracy. I can advocate for a change in the law, but I don't have a right to break it."
smf: I’m not sure that there is a state anywhere where it’s true - but in California the power to repeal legislation, once enacted, does not lie with the Governor. It lies with the legislature. I agree that parts of AB 114 are confusing and may be bad legislation – but writing letters to Governor Brown is a waste of postage.