Parcel Tax of 16¢ for LA’s Public Schools Badly Defeated
The 16¢ per square foot parcel tax was badly defeated – getting only 46% of the vote when it needed 66% (due to Prop 13). It would have raised close to $500 million to offset the costs of the recent contract negotiated between LAUSD (Los Angeles Unified School District) and the teacher’s union (UTLA).
LAUSD will need to cut, and there is a possibility that the County Education Department (LACOE) will take over the fiscal management of the district if LAUSD does not pare spending sufficiently. The first target for staff reductions will likely be administrators at the Central Office followed by non-teacher personnel at the district schools. The LAUSD health benefits for its retirees and their spouses are rich, but protected by law and contracts, and are not likely to be cut for existing staff.
Parents and the election’s voters are both upset about poor quality and the large achievement gaps in LAUSD facilities. These need to be improved, and LAUSD needs a game plan to do so; however the teachers and administrator’s unions are likely to oppose many changes needed to improve accountability. Some members of the LAUSD board will likely target the non-profit charter public schools, which have improved the quality of education for poor and minority students; this is completely counter-productive, and the school district needs to learn from and adopt successful educational practices pioneered at the charters, not seek to eliminate them.
The business coalitions that opposed the parcel tax so successfully will be under immense pressure from at least some of their members to become more involved in improving educational quality and LAUSD financing. They just played a highly destructive role quite successfully; it remains to be seen whether they will now engage constructively or simply wrap up their efforts and return to their typical range of business friendly priorities.
Prepared by: Lucien Wulsin