Los Angeles Board of Education Approves New Budget For 2015-16 School Year

LOS ANGELES (June 23, 2015) – The Board of Education today unanimously approved a total budget of $12.6 billion – with $7.8 billion for the operating budget – for the 2015-16 school year. The spending plan reflects the infusion of an additional $170 million in Local Control Funding Formula new supplemental and concentration money to support programs for targeted students.

“The $170 million to further support targeted programs is an important investment and will help our students,” Superintendent Ramon C. Cortines said. “We will increase the Foster Youth Achievement Program, the A to G Requirements and Zero Dropout Rate, the School Climate and Restorative Justice Program, extra counseling services, attendance and enrollment support for school registration, parent engagement, the dual language program, the Magnet Expansion Program, the athletics program and the arts plan.”

The plan also covers a recently concluded salary agreement between the District and United Teachers Los Angeles, the teacher’s union, affecting 35,000 teachers, nurses and counselors through 2016-17. Additionally, the agreement calls for a graduated pay increase of up to 10 percent over the next 18 months.

The Board also voted to restore 227 of 609 positions, or 37 percent of the jobs, scheduled to be eliminated for the coming year.

The Superintendent stated that if and when additional Adult Education funding becomes available, the District would restore classes serving approximately 12,000 people currently on the waiting list.

“I am proud to have voted to support a budget that ensures our employees are paid and provided benefits and will take steps to restore programs and positions in a responsible way,” Board President Dr. Richard Vladovic said. “However, I believe that we must continue to seek alternatives to layoffs and continue to restore employees that have been subjected to RIF notices.”

“The Superintendent and the Board together have worked together to restore programs, to invest in our students facing the most peril and finally offer our employees a long overdue raise,” Board Vice President Steve Zimmer said. “It is a budget that leans toward justice and is driven by equity. It is a budget that prioritizes our children while recognizing that it is our entire school family that moves towards 100 percent graduation.”

“To our state leaders, employees, voters, labor and community partners who continue to press for greater investment in the schools our students deserve, thank you,” Board Member Mónica García said. “We are focused on urban transformation and we have approved a budget presented by our courageous Superintendent Cortines that reflects our priorities: Funding salary and benefits increases to deserving employees, increasing student achievement, and promoting a positive school climate in every one of our communities. Although this is the best budget in recent memory, we have more to do. Our children are counting on us.”

“California, the most populous state in the nation, must do a better job of funding public education,” Board Member Bennett Kayser said. “Yes, we passed a hopeful budget today, but it is woefully inadequate and far less than our students deserve.”

Superintendent Cortines cautioned that the District still faces significant financial challenges in the coming years.

“During the fiscal crisis and the years that followed, the District used one-time reserve funds to cover ongoing programs,” he said. “The District did not recognize declining enrollment for a two-year period. This has made our position dangerous, despite the additional Local Control Funding Formula money.”

The Superintendent added: “We must balance the budget for multiple years and to give the District financial sustainability. We must continue to advocate for funding adequacy at the state level and remind ourselves that there are no more presents under the Christmas tree. We need to be prudent and not dig ourselves back into a bigger deficit.”

Contact: Shannon Haber (213) 241-6766