Are Los Angeles schools headed for a budget meltdown?
- A new private report commissioned by Los Angeles Superintendent Ramon Cortines says the L.A. Unified School District is “facing a looming, long-term deficit that could force the system into bankruptcy," according to the Los Angeles Times.
- Labor contracts seem to be the largest expense to the district, but costly health benefits and higher pension contributions as mandated by California law are also straining its coffers.
- Recommendations issued by the report's authors include cutting services to disabled students, offering early retirement to teachers, and reducing total school staffing to force alignment with declining enrollment numbers.
This pending budget crisis isn’t the only expensive and recent problem for L.A. Unified. The conceptualization and subsequent cancellation of the district’s highly-publicized $1.3 billion dollar iPad program, spearheaded by former superintendent John Deasy, is also being looked into by the FBI. Deasy is alleged to have had connections with Apple, and to have overseen an “unorthodox and unethical bidding process” for the wildly ambitious 1:1 tech initiative.
The district is also currently embroiled in a spate of teacher lawsuits alleging discrimination, including a $1 billion dollar suit focused on the alleged ousting of older teachers and a newly reported $12 million dollar discrimination suit filed by a lesbian teacher.
- Los Angeles Times L.A. school district headed for major funding shortfall, panel warns