The Los Angeles Unified School District board is expected to approve a nearly $7.3 billion operating budget today for the 2014- 15 school year.
The board reviewed the budget at a meeting last week and made no major changes, with the exception of Superintendent John Deasy agreeing to find $500,000 to preserve the district's family literacy program, which offers English-language training to students and parents.
The LAUSD will receive an extra $334 million from the state in the coming year under the Local Control Funding Formula, which Deasy said in his budget transmittal to the board "is now the primary means of funding K-12 education across the state."
"For the first time, the state is using a need-based model to fund school districts, and we proudly support this model and the funding it brings to our highest-need students," he wrote to the board.
Some opponents have questioned whether the budget does enough to help students in need. Board member Bennett's Kayser had been pushing for stepped-up funding for early education, but he agreed to delay a resolution last week that would have earmarked $10 million for such programs in the coming year. That same resolution included the call for funding to maintain the family literacy program, and Deasy agreed to find the $500,000 to keep that program alive.
United Teachers Los Angeles, the union that represents 35,000 LAUSD teachers and other staff, has also blasted the budget proposal for not restoring positions that were lost or cut back during recent lean budget years. It also contends the budget fails to offer adequate pay hikes for workers who have gone without raises for years, and others who took pay cuts.
Contract negotiations are continuing between the district and UTLA. According to the union, the district has offered a 2 percent raise for all teachers for the current school year, with another 2 percent increase next year. UTLA officials have been seeking a 17.6 percent salary increase over several years.
Even if the board passes the budget, those negotiations will continue, according to Suzanne Spurgeon of UTLA. She said the union has asked members to attend the meeting to pass out fliers and speak during public comment.
--City News Service