When the LAUSD urged voters to approve a parcel tax to help prevent teacher layoffs, Angelenos refused. With the California budget crisis problem adversely affecting LAUSD employment, voodoo mathematics doesn’t help. Or does it?
California Budget Crisis Leads to Ill-Fated Measure E
Do Californians need more taxes? The LAUSD – teacher layoffs looming large – made a valiant effort to sell Angelenos on the idea of paying more in taxes, but to no avail. Requiring two thirds of the vote, Measure E – which would have led to the collection of a $100 parcel tax – went down in defeat with only 53 percent of ballots cast in its favor.
A last ditch effort to avert massive teacher layoffs in the face of the California budget crisis and a $640 million deficit(1), predictions were grim for crowded classrooms and the always threatened arts programs.
From “The Sky is Falling” to “Saving Nearly 2,500 Jobs(2)” in Seven Days
In an interesting turn of events, on June 17th — a mere seven days after bemoaning the swan song of Measure E — LAUSD employment news proclaims that almost 2,500 jobs were saved. It appears that trimming the fat off the budget and having workers agree to furloughs served the greater good, even without a raise in taxes on an already cash-strapped electorate. On the chopping block now: 682 LAUSD jobs.
Los Angeles Unified School District Finalizes Teacher Layoffs with Voodoo Mathematics
Which 682 LAUSD jobs will go away? Perhaps it was the math teachers that were hit the hardest, considering that on June 22nd the number of lost jobs went up considerably. As outlined by the Los Angeles Times(3), the latest numbers include 680 members of the United Teachers Los Angeles (a.k.a. the teachers’ union) and 1,400 members of the California School Employees Association (clerical workers union).
Depending on who does the math, there will also be another 600 positions that are apparently currently vacant, which will be closed to applicants. In a somewhat odd bit of mathematical wrangling, the Teamsters Union got up in arms over the demotion of 314 members to custodians, which comes with an $8 an hour pay cut. Concurrently, 468 additional custodians will be hired at a lower wage – in addition to rehiring 437 laid off custodians.
Thus, while the children will be a bit more cramped, losing library services and suffering from cuts in arts programs, they will at least do so in well maintained facilities. It is interesting to note further that – even as the California budget crisis has brought on increased LAUSD employment cuts – there is no mention of actual superintendents or top level administrators cutting their hours or taking furlough days to help secure the jobs of librarians. One can only wonder which jobs would serve the children better.