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LAUSD board votes to postpone budget decision

February 14, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
The Los Angeles Unified School District board members voted unanimously not to adopt a controversial proposal Tuesday that would have eliminated many education programs in the district. But even thought those programs got a temporary lifeline, their future is still uncertain.

Hundreds gathered outside the LAUSD headquarters where the meeting was held, worried about what they were calling a Valentine's Day massacre to education.

Parents and teachers spoke out against the district's latest attempt to balance a $557 million budget deficit.

Their main issue rested with a restructuring plan that would have eliminated adult education, early childhood education and arts programs.

"Kids learn academics four times faster with creative aspects in their curriculum. Don't incarcerate, let's educate," said Matt Sorum, former drummer for Guns N Roses and Velvet Revolver. "They're spending more money on guys in prison than they are on one child to be educated."

Choreographer Debbie Allen also lobbied on behalf of the arts.

"The arts are central to education in America, early education is central to the success of our country," Allen said.

There were dozens of others who spoke on behalf of adult education programs, which serve about 300 thousand students annually.

"Right here in California, here in Los Angeles, we have the largest and best job creating program in adult education, and you wanna close it down? That is in an injustice," said Maywood resident Sergio Calderon

Another element of the plan would have eliminated early education programs for children preparing to enter kindergarten. But in the end, the board voted to postpone a final budget decision until March 13.

"I feel really proud that they didn't cut it, because the kids really need their education," said Judith Udeochu. "And who's gonna look after them if they're at home?"

In essence, the superintendent was told to go back to the drawing board and come back with a plan that wouldn't be so drastic. But school board officials did say it was deeply important to put more pressure on state lawmakers. They said Sacramento has cut more than $3 billion in LAUSD state funding in the past four years.