School Board Cuts $24M and 778 Jobs

The Long Beach Unified School District Board of Education this week cut another $24.4 million and 778 jobs in response to the state’s unmitigated budget disaster.

The recent cuts come only two weeks after the school board here cut about $27 million.  Together, this month’s cuts will affect almost every aspect of K-12 education here in California’s third largest school district.

The local cuts are part of the school district’s efforts to plan for a worst-case state budget scenario that would occur if voters statewide do not approve the extension of certain taxes that were set to expire.

Unfortunately, even with the latest cuts, the school district’s worst-case scenario just got even worse.

In its recent worst-case calculations, Long Beach Unified had assumed that its funding would be cut by about $634 per student if the state’s voters reject the tax extensions.  Since those calculations, however, the state’s non-partisan Legislative Analyst Office has determined that schools would lose roughly $760 per student.  If the tax extensions are approved, the school district would lose only about $19 per pupil.

This week’s action by the local school board includes the potential elimination of 778 positions.  Most of those jobs are teaching positions, including about 429 jobs that will be lost due to increased class sizes in all grades.

For grades six to 12, average class sizes will increase by three students to 35.  For grades  K-3, classes will increase by between five and 10 students (depending on the school) for an average of 30 students per class.  The increased class sizes, along with the closure of two elementary schools, were part of the $27 million in cuts approved earlier this month.

This week’s cuts included even more teaching positions, along with job losses for school administrators, librarians, nurses, psychologists, counselors and others.  Central office reductions will include more than $1 million in transportation cuts.

Among the transportation cuts will be a reduction in elementary school busing made possible by class size increases that allow previously overflowing schools to keep more of their neighborhood students.

Bus service to Bancroft, Rogers, Stephens, Hill, Marshall, Lakewood and Millikan schools will be affected.

The cuts in busing amount to about a third of the school district’s transportation.  Parents affected by the transportation cuts will be notified in the coming days.

The school board considered about $7.4 million in additional cuts to central offices but asked for more detail before they act.

With the latest cuts, LBUSD has reduced its budget by more than $200 million since 2008.

Documentation on this week’s cuts is available on the Budget Update webpage.