Supt. Deasy Calls Brown’s Plan for LA Schools ‘Risky’

LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy has criticized California Governor Jerry Brown's strategy to balance next year's budget by asking local voters to approve a parcel tax and approve a separate tax increase.

It is thought that Deasy is uncomfortable, as the district – which in its budget crisis has seen the loss of thousands of jobs – faces hundreds of millions of dollars in cuts if either measure fails to come to fruition, writes Howard Blume at the Los Angeles Times.

Deasy said:

After several years of cuts, "there is not a single, solitary thing in this budget that can and should be reduced.

"The rights of youth are completely imperiled if not outright violated" by the level of public support of education.

California governor Jerry Brown is urging voters not to reject the tax increases he's trying to establish for the November ballot, warning that the alternative would mean cuts of up to $4.8 billion for public schools. Brown's budget looks to close the current gap through a combination of spending cuts and tax increases that would kick in at year's end. It is believed this measure would provide $4.4 billion in revenue – but there is no guarantee voters would approve.

Despite this, officials are said to be advising school districts to budget based on the scenario that voters would see eye to eye with the Governor on the plan, said district lobbyist Edgar Zazueta.

But not everyone shares the Governor's optimism.

"There are several pretty serious unknowns at the moment," Deasy said.

A contingent of about 50 parents and others from at least three highly regarded schools attended the school meeting at which Deasy spoke. They were there to urge officials to reverse their vote to remove funding that had served students from low-income families.

In raising Title I poverty levels, the school board has decided to divide the money instead among schools that serve a higher percentage of low-income families.

"It's unconscionable to take these funds away from us," said parent Loretta Slonim.

Under new guidelines, at least 50% of students at a school have to qualify for the aid for the school to receive the funding, writes Blume.

When discussing the bridging the achievement gap separating high- and low-income students, parent Alex Wald said, "Our schools have done an exceptional job".

But Wald added:

"Many of the gains that they have achieved will be lost."

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