from LAUSD Board Member Tamar Galatzan's Board District 3 e-newsletter
WHERE ARE THE CUTS?
According to Galatzan & Superintendent Cortines:
15% OF LAUSD’S TOTAL BUDGET NEEDS TO BE CUT
●● smf's 2¢:
Why does the Superintendent continue to budget based on the projected state budget (which is iffy at best - based on faulty assumptions and relying upon all the May 19th ballot measures passing) and refuses to take into account the Federal Stimulus Package - which is coming and is the down payment on a new federal commitment to public education? Every other major school district in the nation has incorporated the Stimulus in their planning. Not LAUSD.
Why does he continue to propose to lay off employees when the federal funds are meant to - and can -
Why does he continue to pursue his 1999 Plan to Decentralize to the Local Districts (his 1993 Plan to Decentralize to Local Districts failed in NYC when he was chancellor there) and his 100 Day "Plan of Action" - written by outside consultants?
And why does the board go along?
By Board Member Tamar Galatzan
March 26, 2009 - The question of how best to cut the budget understandably preoccupies the entire LAUSD community: board members, parents, teachers, administrators, and the executive staff at Beaudry.
My inbox, and that of my colleagues, is running at or above capacity as constituent groups express their strongly-held views, usually in support of a program or position that they insist must not be eliminated. As I have previously noted, in some cases, these messages provide the first indication to Board members that particular cuts are being seriously considered. In that sense, they double as a public service, keeping us informed on what might be proposed at the highest levels.
But it must also be said that rarely do those seeking to save a particular program offer a concrete alternative for reductions of similar magnitude. At best, they suggest that we cut "waste" or the "bureaucracy", without specifying which waste, or what bureaucrats.
These are easy -- but ill-defined -- targets.
I am strongly in favor of constituent groups fighting for programs that they regarded as critical to the education of LAUSD students. Their passion provides the strongest possible evidence that we live in a community where people care deeply about the fate of our neighborhood schools.
Yet LAUSD is faced with the reality of having to close a $700 million deficit in a short amount of time. Wrenching decisions are being made daily, if not hourly.
It would behoove all those who contact us about the fate of a beloved program or employee to go further and offer meaningful suggestions about where else we might reduce the budget.
Some of you have already sent specific suggestions about staffing levels, scheduling, and contracting, and I have discussed all of these ideas with the Superintendent and his staff.
I guarantee I will take these ideas seriously, and I know the Superintendent will, as well.
TAMAR LAYS OUT GRIM BUDGET SCENARIO
from the Galatzan Gazette
26 March - They nervously waited for the meeting to start, hoping that the news wouldn’t be worse than receiving a “reduction in force” letter the week before.
A special meeting regarding LAUSD’s budget brought together around 70 parents and teachers from schools in Sherman Oaks and Studio City at Riverside Drive Elementary School on Monday evening.
Earlier that day, Tamar had been on the phone with Superintendent Ray Cortines, getting the most up-to-date budget information available to disseminate.
Her office has been inundated with concerned calls and emails about the budget.
“We already cut $400 million from the ‘08-‘09 budget and now we are facing $700 to $800 million in cuts in the next 16 months as a best case scenario,” Tamar told the group.
Tamar also addressed the most upto- day information about federal stimulus funds for education, including money specifically designated for Special Education, technology and competitive grants.
Some parents wondered why construction bond funds can’t be used for education.
Tamar explained that bond language is very specific about what it can be used for.
Parents expressed frustration and said that they feel helpless and want to know what they can do to help.
Tamar noted that there is a special election on May 19 that could further impact the state’s budget.
She encouraged everyone to be informed and vote.
While the Board is trying to spare impacts to the classroom, with Local Districts and downtown Beaudry facing 30 to 50 percent cuts in staff, many teachers may be bumped out by administrators who have seniority and union options to return to the classroom.
One way the District is trying to cushion the blow is by offering an early retirement incentive that 2,100 teachers have already accepted.
Further, Superintendent Cortines is supportive of Tamar’s goal of supporting non-Title 1 schools (schools with a student population of less than 40 percent free or reduced lunch which receive less funding) and will be giving $30 per student next year.
Victor Palomares, a kindergarten teacher stood up and spoke, “When I was a little boy, my father passed away and school was my safe haven.I know that I will be laid off, but I want us to work to provide a safe haven for our students.”
Palomares, who holds two degrees, and a masters in multicultural education, has taught for eight years.
The School Board is tentatively scheduled to vote on a budget on March 31.