The Board of Education approved $7.8 million more in budget cuts to central operations this week and eliminated three graduation requirements while nearly 1,200 employees began receiving preliminary layoff notices. The cuts are due to multi-billion-dollar reductions to public education in the Golden State, which remains incapable of providing stable funding for its schoolchildren.
The cuts, which follow more than $50 million in budget reductions by the board last month, are part of the school district’s efforts to plan for a worst-case budget scenario that would occur if voters statewide do not approve the extension of certain taxes that are set to expire.
The reductions to central functions – which have already sustained significant cuts in recent years – will again affect a wide array of services, including school safety, research, multimedia services, the superintendent, deputy superintendent and assistant superintendent offices, Personnel Commission, curriculum and textbook services, library services, and several business office functions such as accounting, purchasing, information services, transportation, human resources, risk management and maintenance. The latest central office cuts affect 71.6 positions, including 34 maintenance jobs.
Nearly 1,200 certificated employees – mostly teachers – meanwhile began receiving preliminary layoff notices this week. The notices are being distributed after the school board OK’d the potential elimination of hundreds of positions last month. While nearly 800 positions were approved in February for possible elimination, the school district is issuing nearly 1,200 preliminary layoff notices to allow for the “bumping” process in which employees with the most seniority can bump other employees out of their positions. Such over-noticing of employees is common in school districts, which must issue preliminary layoff notices by mid-March to preserve their ability to layoff employees for the following school year.
Aside from teachers, job cuts here in California’s third largest school district also are affecting administrators, librarians, nurses, psychologists, counselors and support staff.
This week’s actions by the school board included the elimination of computer, health, and service learning graduation requirements, in keeping with recent budget reductions. The three graduation requirements are not state mandated, but they had been adopted in previous years by the local school board.
The number of credits required to attain a high school diploma will decrease from 220 to 210 beginning with the class of 2015. Health and computer literacy will still be offered as electives, and the school district is integrating service learning into other coursework.
LBUSD has cut its budget by more than $200 million since 2008.