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LAUSD authorized to issue layoff notices
CNS--The Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education today authorized sending layoff notices to nearly 5,200 employees, including teachers, administrators, counselors and nurses.
The move is aimed at cutting into the district's anticipated $640 million budget deficit for the coming school year.
"We do not have enough money for education in California, and nobody has been more vociferous with our state people and our governor than I have," Superintendent Ramon Cortines said. "... But I just don't have any other options at this time. So I am not proud."
Authorizing layoff notices does not automatically mean people will lose their jobs. By law, the district must notify employees by March 15 if their jobs might be eliminated.
The affected district positions include 2,370 certificated management employees; nearly 2,000 non-permanent and permanent elementary teachers; 30 music teachers; 291 non-permanent secondary teachers; and 574 support personnel, such as counselors, psychologists, nurses and librarians.
"We perform 2,000--2,000--specialized daily procedures on students in LAUSD schools," said school nurse Linda Handschumacher of the Los Angeles Council of School Nurses. "Now my question is what is going to happen if we are going to have a reduction in workforce with registered nurses? Only RNs and LVNs (licensed vocational nurses) can administer insulin to our diabetics. Currently we have approximately 1,200 diabetics in LAUSD."
Gregg Solkovits, secondary vice president of United Teachers Los Angeles, said the union recognizes that the district is in a financial crisis. But he said he wants the district to ensure it is doing everything it can to make cuts outside the classroom.
District officials should pressure its staff "to continue to look for cuts away from the classroom while negotiations are going on so that we can minimize the impact to the classes, because we've made great strides in this district and student achievement over the last few years and I'd hate to see them all rolled back because of the fact that we devastate the classroom with these cuts," Solkovits said.
Cortines said major cuts have been made to the district's administration and has done everything possible to avoid impacting classes.
"We are not hiding money," he said. "This district has a CFO (chief financial officer) that has been transparent in everything we have done the last two years."
LAUSD board President Monica Garcia noted that even if every district employee took a 10 percent pay cut and the school year was shortened by five days, it still wouldn't save enough money to close the budget gap.
"I know every board member is accepting this information with heavy, heavy hearts because we are very concerned about the impact this will have," Garcia said.
Board member Richard Vladovic said the LAUSD is not alone in its financial doldrums.
"Folks, this isn't smoke and mirrors. We don't have the money," Vladovic said. "If you look around, and I read the paper every day ... every district in the state is starting to look and starting to send notices and starting to lay off people. Long Beach already started the process. It is not our management."