Deasy wants full calendar restored, furlough days rescinded

Written By kolimtiga on Sabtu, 10 November 2012 | 12.56

In the wake of this week's passage of a state tax measure, Los Angeles schools Supt. John Deasy said Friday he will ask the Board of Education to restore a full 180-day academic calendar and rescind all planned employee furlough days for the current school year.

The success of Proposition 30 on Tuesday means that school district budgets across the state are protected from $5.4 billion in cuts that had been scheduled to take effect.

Teachers union officials had called on the L.A. Unified School District to restore full pay for employees and to bring back a full school year. Teachers had accepted up to 10 unpaid furlough days; five of them are instructional days.

"With their strong support of Proposition 30, the voters of Los Angeles County made it clear they want the LAUSD to do what's best for our youth," said Deasy in a statement. "Restoring the full calendar and keeping our employees in the schools is a pivotal step in this effort."

Proposition 30 will add a quarter-cent to the state sales tax for four years and impose a tax hike on California's highest earners for seven years. The money raised by the measure — up to $8 billion in the current fiscal year — will prevent the planned cut from primary and secondary schools, as well as a $250-million reduction in each of the state's two public university systems.

"It would have been catastrophic," Deasy said.

The measure passed statewide with 54% of the vote. In Los Angeles County, voters supported the temporary tax increase with a plurality of 60%.

Deasy said the district, the state's largest, will receive about $340 million in funding that had been deferred. About $200 million of that will fill in the budget gap currently bridged by the shortened school year and furlough days. The superintendent's proposal, which he expects the board to approve Tuesday, will do nothing to further strain the district financially, he said.

"There is absolutely zero risk," Deasy said in an interview.

United Teachers Los Angeles President Warren Fletcher said in a statement that he is pleased by Deasy's move. Teachers put students first in agreeing to take furlough days to stave off deeper cuts this school year, he said.

"And now we are on the cusp of having those furlough days canceled and being able to provide our students with a full year of instruction," Fletcher said.

School board member Tamar Galatzan said she will support the motion next week and promptly begin to "re-invest" in education.

"We hoped the public would pass Proposition 30 and prioritize public education. They did," she said in a statement. "And we will fulfill our end of the bargain."

Should the motion pass, the academic calendar will continue through the end of the first semester as planned. Changes in the calendar would occur in the second semester.

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