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L.A. Schools Fall Back on Federal Money

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L.A. Unified School District expects to use federal stimulus money to make up for a $400 million shortfall in money they expected from the state.

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As the Daily News reports:

Los Angeles Unified officials said they can make up for a recent $140 million cut in state funding by using federal stimulus money - but they'll feel the pinch next year.

The $140 million cut, the equivalent of closing seven high schools, follows Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's weekend veto of a bill that would have temporarily retained special funding for school districts that serve low-performing students.

Those funds, totalling $400 million statewide, were initially taken away in July by lawmakers who argued the school districts could use stimulus money to make up the difference.

While LAUSD plans to use stimulus money this year to cover the $140 million cut, officials say they might have to accelerate cuts that are not budgeted to hit for another two years. "This is a crisis averted but delayed," said Megan Reilly, LAUSD's chief financial officer. "It creates a bigger hole for us next year."

Gov. Schwarzenegger was openly encouraging the schools to take this "let the Feds handle" it approach--not exactly the sort of firm and tough leadership that will keep California solvent in the years to come. Without some new arrangement to permanently cut costs or expenses, the school district will still face an unavoidable fiscal crisis soon.

A September 2006 state audit of LA USD's "reorganizations and its procedures for evaluating performance and setting salaries for managers" which "concludes that LAUSD did not consistently achieve reductions in support services positions proposed in its 2000 and 2004 reorganization plans."

Past City of Angles blogging on the early stages of area schools' plans to tap into federal stimulus funds.

The image associated with this post was taken by Flickr user bryan.norwood. It was used under user Creative Commons license.

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