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LA Unified Budget Wars Return with the Usual Competing Visions

Hillel Aron | September 27, 2013



DeasyCompeting visions for future spending will be on grand display again Tuesday when the LA Unified Board of Education meets to put Superintendent John Deasy’s budget plan to a vote (or not) and consider a competing resolution (or not) that would tell him how to spend the money. (See the agenda here.)

Confusing? Welcome to Budgeting 101, LAUSD style.

Deasy’s presentation prioritizes addressing the debt, giving new money to campuses with high concentrations of low-income and English language learning students and raising the salaries of all LAUSD employees. It’s largely an update of the version he proposed back in June.

But the board voted 5-2 to send him back to the drawing board to put re-hiring teachers and staff — an idea backed by the teachers union — at the top of the list, along with a laundry list of its own wants and needs. Deasy effectively said, well, OK, but it’ll cost you something in the $1.2 billion to $1.4 billion range. And that includes expunging a $341 million deficit.

The board has twice postponed voting on his proposal, and it’s entirely possible it will be postponed again, inasmuch as Deasy has scheduled five public hearings in October, and a sixth with union members, to get feedback on his proposal.

Then there’s board member Steve Zimmer’s proposal (No. 14 on your agenda scorecard), that essentially ignores Deasy’s approach and recommends that the superintendent fund things closer to the way the board asked him to back in June.

Zimmer would have the superintendent be “guided” by various “principles,” such as “[b]ringing LAUSD in line with national averages for class size, counselor ratios, administrator ratios, and clerical and classified ratios.” It would return all employees that have been placed on temporary status to permanent status (primarily substitute teachers).

It’s doubtful the board will take action on either plan, given the intensity of the debate.

A Problem for President Vladovic?

And here’s another mystery: What will the board do in the aftermath of the investigation into harassment allegations against Board President Richard Vladovic?

Members were individually briefed this week on what investigators concluded. So far, the nothing has not been released to the public, and — shockingly — there have been no leaks.

If the result was bad for Vladovic, the board could choose to censure him or even remove him as president, the type of thing would most likely be done in closed session –  and the Board doesn’t have one of those scheduled until October 15.

Or, there’s an outside chance a Board member, or even Vladovic himself, could bring the matter up.

But with this board, well, you never know.

Previous posts: Vladovic Investigation Concluded; Board Members are Briefed*Deasy’s D.C. Trip Yields ‘Less than Positive News’ on Federal BudgetCommon Core Budget Approval Put Off for Another WeekSchool Board Meeting Wrap Up: More Discussion Than Votes*

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