On April 14, Ramon Cortines, Superintendent of the Los Angeles Unifies School District (LAUSD), gave a testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subcommitte on Laborm Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies.
California’s Bad News Budget
- The State budget is in a terrible disposition as “numerous and unyielding reductions in state funding have translated into the District’s current deficit of $640 million and a projected deficit of $263 million in 2011-12” while “California will have a $20 billion deficit every year for the next five years”.
- Thousands of LAUSD employees, including both faculty and non-instructional staff, will lose their jobs while the staff that remains will fall victim to “numerous unpaid furlough days, a steep reduction of work time and significant pay cuts during the next school year”
What Washington Can DO
- House of Representative passed a bill in December which includes “$23 billion in education aid through the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund in the Jobs for Main Street Act”
- “If Congress provides this $23 billion, it is estimated that LAUSD could receive approximately $250 million and save as many as 3,000 jobs.”
- While the Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 budget proposed by President Obama gives education an overall increase of $3.5 billion… it freezes Title I…It will hurt at least 78 percent of our students, and more as the numbers who qualify for free and reduced-price lunch are increasing. “
- “The FY 2011 budget also fails to increase the federal share of funding for Special Education, limiting it to only 17 percent of the costs. Congress must make good on the original promise to provide 40 percent”
Stop the State from Hijacking Funds Washington Intended for Public Education
- “Given the state’s penchant for hijacking dollars earmarked for public education to address its own budget shortfalls, those funds should flow directly to local school districts to protect our students, schools and jobs.”
- “Teacher and other school-related jobs should be viewed as an investment in America’s present and future. Every job lost adds to the unemployment rate and the housing foreclosure crisis–but in this case, it also hinders the education of hundreds of thousands of students in the Los Angeles area and across the nation.”
Cortines’s testimony calls for Washington to improve education reform through a more thorough analysis of California’s devastating economic climate. While LAUSD strives for progress, they can not continue to improve when the livelihood of their staff is so dramatically threatened. Though acts like the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) have helped LAUSD stay afloat in the past year, they can not continue to function without more aid.