District explains how per-student funding doubles, but LAUSD still faces financial crisis
How can the funding more than double per student, yet LA Unified still be facing a financial crisis? Chief Financial Officer Megan Reilly posed that question as she explained the intricacies of the budget and laid out new numbers at Tuesday’s special board meeting. For example, she pointed out that by the end of the recession in 2009,...
By Mike Szymanski | March 31, 2016
LAUSD expects ‘healthiest year’ in a decade for budget, but future deficit raises sharp concern
LA Unified expects this to be its best budget year in a decade, school officials said Tuesday, but board members urged immediate action to address a deficit in three years that could reach half a billion dollars. “This is the healthiest year in the past decade,” Chief Financial Officer Megan Reilly said in a report to...
By Mike Szymanski | March 8, 2016
Major school and kitchen upgrades could be approved Tuesday
The LA Unified school board will consider major upgrades at school sites throughout the district at their regular meeting Tuesday. The Facilities Services Division is asking the board to approve district bonds for projects including replacing a half-century-old canopy over a stairwell, replacing 60-year-old bleachers, upgrading walk-in freezers at 305 schools and replacing ovens, ice machines and...
By Mike Szymanski | March 7, 2016
LAUSD audit shows district debt outstrips assets by $4.2 billion
The latest independent audit of LA Unified shows that through the end of the last fiscal year, on June 30, the district had liabilities that surpassed assets by $4.2 billion. The previous year showed assets over liabilities by $1.7 billion, making for a 12-month swing of $5.9 billion, according to Melba W. Simpson, of Simpson &...
By Mike Szymanski | January 21, 2016
LAUSD going all charter? No, says Ratliff, just looking for information
Declaring that she has no intention of turning LA Unified into an all-charter school district, board member Mónica Ratliff chaired a board committee meeting yesterday that examined just what it is that makes charters different from traditional schools. For one thing, as she learned from a presentation to the committee, charter school teachers don’t have...
By Mike Szymanski | January 20, 2016
LA Unified losing $100s of millions in mandates unpaid by state, U.S.
A major contributor to LA Unified’s pending fiscal crisis is unfunded federal and state mandates that have deprived the district of hundreds of millions of dollars in recent years. The exact number is difficult to calculate because the total not only reflects the amount the district seeks in reimbursement but what percentage the governments return to...
By Michael Janofsky | November 24, 2015
Analysis: Six months later, financial warning to LA Unified unchanged
It’s one thing when LA Unified’s Chief Financial Officer appears before the school board and warns of budgetary troubles ahead, based on current projections and obligations. That’s her job. It’s quite another when a panel of outsiders, brought in to take a fresh look, reaches the same conclusions and expresses them in a hair-raising way...
By Michael Janofsky | November 9, 2015
Outside panel says LAUSD needs to act quickly to remain solvent
LA Unified is on the brink of a severe financial crisis and if officials don’t act now, the whole district could go bankrupt. That’s the overall conclusion of a report by an outside panel asked to look at the financial situation of LAUSD. Its findings are scheduled to be presented at the regular school board meeting...
By Mike Szymanski | November 6, 2015
High-powered secret panel examining LAUSD finances
* UPDATED A blue-ribbon panel of leading figures in education, politics and finance has been working behind the scenes to help LA Unified identify financial challenges and solutions as the district faces budget deficits in the near future. The panel includes people who have worked with the district in the past, and many have...
By Mike Szymanski | October 23, 2015
LAUSD officials in Sacramento to talk trans-k, adult ed and budget
LA Unified officials are in Sacramento today lobbying for adult education and transitional kindergarten programs. Oh yeah, and the budget, too. Among those joining in on the road trip are Chief Deputy Superintendent Michelle King, Chief Financial Officer Megan Reilly and board members George McKenna and Steve Zimmer. They planned to meet with Senate President Pro...
By Vanessa Romo | May 21, 2015