|News Statement |
For Immediate Release December 13, 2011
Contact: Tom Waldman
(213) 241-6766 #11/12-83
Los Angeles Unified School District
Los Angeles – Due to the enormous budget cuts that have plagued K-12 education funding over past three years, LAUSD, its students, parents, teachers, and administrators have already made numerous hard sacrifices. LAUSD cannot withstand further budget cuts without adversely impacting the educational benefits offered to its students.
We stand with our students to say enough is enough.
The Director of Finance is expected to initiate mid-year reductions on or after January 1, 2012, including a catastrophic $38 million cut to the District’s current transportation services budget. A cut of this magnitude is devastating as it would deplete half of the District’s transportation budget after it has provided half a year of transportation services.
Unlike other districts, LAUSD cannot simply terminate its transportation services due to the impending decimation of its transportation budget. This is because the vast majority of those services are Constitutional mandated and required by a 1981 court order from Crawford v. Board of Education of the City of Los Angeles.
The Crawford court order mandated LAUSD to implement desegregation programs, including the Magnet School Program and Permits with Transportation Program. The Crawford order remains effective today and requires transportation services be provided to approximately 35,000 students.
The District also provides transportation services to another 13,000 students with special needs because both federal and State law requires transportation to students with disabilities if necessary for them to enjoy the same educational benefits as other students.
Due to the combined mandates, the trigger cuts force the District to choose between two illegal and unconstitutional outcomes. It must either terminate its transportation services in direct violation the Crawford court order (and federal and State law), or divert precious classroom dollars from its general fund to pay for the required transportation services.
Choosing to divert funds that are needed in the classrooms, which the Crawford order requires, violates the California Constitution because further budget cuts would adversely impact the educational benefits offered to its students. Therefore, LAUSD's students would receive a disproportionately lower share of funding and educational opportunities as compared to students in school districts without those mandatory costs.
Under the California Constitution, the State bears the ultimate responsibility for ensuring public school students receive equal educational opportunities and free adequate education services. Calif. Const. art. I, § 7, subds. (a), (b); art. IV, § 16, subd. (a).
The California Supreme Court has consistently recognized that the equal protection guarantees are so important that they require State intervention to ensure that fiscal problems do not deprive a local district’s students of basic educational equality. Butt v. State of California, (1992) 4 Cal.4th 668, 679.
Unless the State is enjoined from implementing the mid-year budget cuts, the District and its students will suffer irreparable harm in violation of the California Constitution. Therefore, LAUSD will file a lawsuit tomorrow that supports our students in schools and acts aggressively to halt these devastating cuts associated with the budget triggers.