LAUSD board votes to send 2,400 employees pink slips

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The Los Angeles Unified School District board voted Tuesday to send pink slips to more than 2,400 employees in an effort to deal with a nearly $160 million budget deficit heading into the 2015-2016 school year.

The board voted unanimously to support Superintendent Ramon Cortines' recommendation to send out the layoff warning notices by a March 15 deadline.

Included on the list of those who will receive notices are more than 260 adult education teachers, 59 counselors, dozens of foreign-language teachers, 63 psychiatric social workers and 1,800 administrators.

Tuesday's approved recommendation is LAUSD's first move to lay off employees since 2012 when 5,000 teachers lost their jobs. The district blames the shortfall on declining enrollment. Officials say about 40,000 students have left LAUSD in the last three years alone and 175,000 in the last decade.

The shortfall is also due to increasing retirement pension costs, rising health benefit costs for current employees and retirees and underfunding of special education, LAUSD said.

According to the teachers' union, United Teachers Los Angeles, however, the pink slips are LAUSD's push-back for the ongoing impasse in labor contract talks.

UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl blasted the layoff notices, saying he believes there is funding available to prevent them.

"This doesn't make sense, and it especially doesn't make sense in the face of actually having money," Caputo-Pearl said. "We know from the state that there's going to be an eight to ten percent increase in funding coming into LAUSD."

LAUSD says the notices could be rescinded in May when Gov. Jerry Brown releases his revisions to the state budget.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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