The Los Angeles board of education voted last week to lay off as many as 5,400 teachers and support personnel for the upcoming school year, hours after saving nearly 2,000 jobs belonging to elementary school teachers.
The nation’s second-largest school system faces a $596 million budget shortfall for the 2009-10 school year.
The final number of layoffs remains to be determined because the exact amount of state and federal funds coming to the district remains unclear. However, 1,996 elementary school teachers were spared from the cuts, thanks to federal stimulus funds.
Superintendent Ramon Cortines said he held meetings with all the district’s unions over the past two weeks in a last-ditch effort to gain concessions that would reduce the number of layoffs, including furloughs, salary reductions, and freezes on raises, but no headway was made.
The district may be able to save some jobs because of an early-retirement program it is urging. So far, 600 employees have applied.
A version of this article appeared in the April 22, 2009 edition of Education Week