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LAUSD board votes for 5,400 layoffs

April 14, 2009 10:38:50 AM PDT
The Los Angeles Board of Education voted Tuesday to lay off as many as 5,400 teachers and support personnel for the upcoming school year as employees protested raucously outside the meeting.The vote came hours after the board voted to save the jobs of 1,996 elementary school teachers using federal stimulus funds.

The Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation's second largest school system, faces a $596 million budget shortfall for the 2009-10 school year.

The final number of layoffs remains to be determined because the exact amount of state and federal funds coming to the district remains unclear.

LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines said Tuesday the district got a little more money from the state and also has flexibility in how it can use federal funds, so the district is able to spare the jobs of 1,900 elementary school teachers.

Of the proposed 6,500 proposed layoffs, about 1,500 of them are teachers. The district is trying to slash $596 million from its budget.

In a meeting on Monday, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa suggested lowering salaries and cutting other expenses instead of laying off teachers.

However, Cortines said salaries cannot be cut without negotiations with labor unions.

The district is getting about $180 million in federal stimulus money, and one teachers union said all of that money should be used immediately to save jobs.

But Cortines said that won't happen.

"That's not the way the law was designed. It was designed for a two-year period. That's what the House passed," he said. "What we need to do in this district is bring stability for a period of two years, if possible."

The last time the school board considered cuts, they heard a lot of angry opposition from parents, teachers and union workers.

LAUSD is trying to reduce a roughly $718 million deficit.

Eyewitness News Reporters Amy Powell and Sid Garcia and The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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