February 25, 2013
I am writing to register my distress at the potential impact of sequestration on the students of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD).
The District receives over $1 billion annually in federal funding. According to our internal calculations, the across-the-board cut in major federal education funding alone would mean a loss of approximately $37 million to LAUSD. The cut would cause crippling reductions to our schools that serve our students with the highest needs (students who live in poverty and our English learners). For a school of 1,000 students this could mean a loss of $75,000 to $100,000. In addition, to the direct impact on our schools, our teachers would also lose critical funding for professional development.
As you know, over the past five years the LAUSD experienced a cumulative $2.7 billion reduction in state funding. During this bleak period, the District was forced to lay off thousands of valued teachers, library aides, guidance counselors, custodial staff, and more, as well as cut deeply into vital academic programs.
The passage of Proposition 30 this past November offered our schools hope for the first time in years that the fiscal nightmare was coming to an end. Principals are now cautiously optimistic that their schools will have the funds to restore at least some of what was lost during the ongoing crisis, but sequestration threatens to undermine this effort. It seems particularly cruel to hit schools with the possibility of new cuts just as it appeared their circumstances were finally improving.
I am confident that the entire California delegation understands the devastating consequences of the loss in federal funding to K-12 students across the state. On behalf of our children, I strongly urge you to work together with your colleagues from around the country to reach a budget agreement before March 1, in order to avoid these devastating cuts.
Dr. John E. Deasy, Superintendent
Los Angeles Unified School District