As County Orders Budget Cuts, McKenna Warns ‘The Worst Thing In The World’ Is Coming If UTLA Forces LAUSD Off Fiscal Cliff

With the state superintendent’s office adding its voice Tuesday to the chorus of warnings about LAUSD’s finances, longtime allies of the teachers union are now among those saying that the union’s demands – under threat of a strike – could send LAUSD over the fiscal cliff.

“We can’t bargain ourselves into insolvency,” Board Member George McKenna (BD1), whose candidacy was backed by UTLA, said at the Board meeting Tuesday. “They can strike, and at some point we’ll settle the strike, but at what cost to the parents, to the children? I’m absolutely opposed to a strike. I’ve been through a strike. I know how hard it is for staff, parents, the children. It’s terrible.”

A strike could even deal a fatal blow to the district, which is already losing 16,000 students a year, said Board Member Richard Vladovic (BD7). “When they go on strike, another 4000 parents are going to leave this district and go someplace else, and we’re going to lose the money for that,” he said. “And when they do that, it’s a self-fulfilling cycle of despair. Bad things are going to happen if there’s a strike, and I’ll tell you, you will never, ever recover.”

The dire warnings from Vladovic and McKenna came in response to remarks from Candi Clark, Chief Financial Officer of the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE), and Nick Schweizer, Deputy Superintendent of the California Department of Education.

Clark said that LACOE is giving only “conditional” approval to the LAUSD budget, and she directed the LAUSD Board to pass a resolution specifying $72 million in budget cuts by Oct. 8. Without those cuts, LAUSD will be insolvent within three years, she said. If that happens, state takeover will follow.

“I am concerned that the window of opportunity is closing to address the district’s fiscal challenges,” Clark said. “It’s imperative that the governing board step up its efforts to stabilize the district’s fiscal operation. The district cannot continue to go down the path of simply just drawing down the reserves.” Click here to read more: