LA’s unified superintendent proposes $18.5 billion budget to close learning gaps

Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Superintendent Alberto Carvalho proposes an $18.5 billion budget for the upcoming school year, with $1.9 billion in targeted investments to close school gaps .

Carvalho provided the district board of education with an overview of the budget’s targeted investments on June 14, calling the budget “the heart and fuel of our school system.”

“The 2022-2023 budget addresses the district’s most pressing issues while reaffirming our long-standing commitment to providing communities across all 710 square miles with a nurturing environment,” Carvalho said in a statement.

This year’s proposed budget is approximately $4.1 billion higher than the previous year’s proposed budget of $14.7 billion, but $1.5 billion lower than the final adopted budget of $20 billion. dollars from the previous year.

To boost academic success, the proposed budget allocates $122 million for extended instructional days, such as summer programs, $100 million to support high-needs students, $100 million to support special education programs, $13 million to support early education programs, $6 million to support English language learners, and $4 million to support tutoring programs.

Additionally, the district is offering $24 million for the district’s Black Student Achievement Plan — which began this school year to address disparities between black students and their peers — and $200,000 to support other student programs. blacks and natives.

To target student “wellness,” the budget recommends $822 million for the district’s expanded learning opportunities program, $58 million to support outdoor education programs, $50 million to support social-emotional learning, wellness and mental health programs, $21 million to support arts programs. , and $10 million to support bilingual programs.

On school operations, the budget also proposes $50 million for safety and security after Carvalho last month announced plans to bolster school security operations in light of the elementary school shooting in Uvalde. , in Texas.

It comes after the board voted in 2020 to cut the school’s safety and security budget by a third following the Black Lives Matter movement.

Carvalho also offered $50 million for additional classroom technology and $5 million for parent engagement and outreach.

In addition to addressing learning gaps, Carvalho is focused on transitioning LAUSD away from COVID-19 protocols in preparation for a time when the district loses federal pandemic assistance; last year, the district received about $5 billion in pandemic relief funds from the federal government

“We remain vigilant and will ensure that we allocate recurring and non-recurring resources in the most effective and efficient way,” Carvalho said.

The district also continues to face declining enrollment.

In May, the district predicted a 30% decline in enrollment over the next decade; and because state funding is based on average attendance and enrollment, the district will likely see a decline in funding in future years.

Carvalho told the board at a meeting in May that a “perfect storm” of declining enrollment and funding will create future challenges for the district.

“Los Angeles Unified is facing an alarming convergence and acceleration of declining enrollment and the expiration of single state and federal dollars, as well as continued and growing financial liabilities,” Carvalho said, adding that there is “no easy route to funding”. stability.”

The board is expected to vote on the initial adoption of the budget on June 21, but will continue to revise the budget until it is finalized in August.

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