Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

The Los Angeles Board of Education has approved a $7.8 billion budget that envisions the layoffs of hundreds of staff members but also provides the first salary hikes in nearly a decade, including 10 percent for teachers and administrators over the next 18 months.

The budget adopted Tuesday reflects an $850 million increase over last year. But adult education was hit hard, losing 261 teacher positions, along with 94 teachers in elementary and secondary schools.

School Superintendent Ramon Cortines expressed the hope that additional state funds might become available and allow the district to rehire many employees. He said if additional Adult Education funding materializes, the district would restore classes serving approximately 12,000 people currently on the waiting list.

Former school board member David Tokofsky, a consultant for the administrators union, accused the district of being shortsighted, noting that the layoffs included math teachers, a subject that needs teachers, the Los Angeles Times reported. He predicted that those instructors would ultimately be offered jobs again. In the meantime, he added, they’d be without health benefits for the summer and tempted to take positions with other school systems.

The spending plan reflects the infusion of an additional $170 million in what an LAUSD statement called 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,” 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.”

—City News Service

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