June 19, 2018
The preparation of the budget for L.A. Unified begins in January for the following school year. The work of the last six months, prior to my arrival, formed the basis for the budget for 2018-19. Over the next nine months, District leadership will work to develop the 2019-20 budget, which must look very different from the 2018-19 budget.
As we heard from the L.A. Unified Advisory Task Force and the CLASS Coalition and United Way of Greater Los Angeles, the District is facing hard choices that it must address. More must be done to help students most in need reach their full potential. At the same time, a structural budget deficit threatens the District’s long-term financial viability.
With L.A. Unified at a crossroads, we need to act now to identify ways to better serve our students and families, and better use our available resources. Over the next several months, we will be creating a plan to do this. I have asked Deputy Superintendent Vivian Ekchian to lead our effort internally.
Some of the principles which will be embodied in the plan include:
- L.A. Unified must be built on well-resourced, family-centered schools that use proven strategies to improve student achievement. Each school needs trained and empowered leaders who can make decisions that reflect the unique needs of their students, schools and communities. Good schools make good districts, not the other way around.
- The District’s system of support and oversight must be organized and delivered in a way to allow the decentralized school communities to flourish. This will require meaningful change from the current top-down, compliance-driven approach.
- The entire system must be transparent and accountable at every level – at an individual school, for groups of schools which serve a community and across the District. Transparency will provide the foundation for the accountability needed to make sure students are inspired and learning, and to make sure all of the District’s resources are being well spent.
- Each community of schools will need to be connected with the community it serves, and will need to be supported by the broader community in Los Angeles. Resources from the public sector (city, county, state and federal), as well as the private sector (foundations, businesses, non-profits and others) need to be available to each community of schools.
We need input and support from all stakeholders – students, families, employees and the communities we serve. We will engage them in every step of the process of designing and implementing this plan.
The objective is to provide as many resources and as much autonomy to each local school as possible. The goal is to deliver on our promise of providing every student with a high-quality education, and to renew the commitment of everyone in Los Angeles to public education.
Contact: Shannon Haber (213) 241-6766