As Voters Consider School Parcel Tax, LACOE Threatens Takeover…Again

Los Angeles County Office of Education Superintendent Debra Duardo is once again warning LAUSD that the County may step in and take decision-making authority away from the LAUSD Board if it fails to adequately address concerns about fiscal solvency and submit a budget that maintains the required minimum reserve funds.

The sternly worded letter from LACOE is the latest in a series of warnings from the agency that oversees LAUSD’s budget, which took the unprecedented step in January of assigning a team of fiscal experts to help. The letter also arrives as voters consider whether to support a parcel tax on the June ballot to increase school funding.

LACOE gave LAUSD a “qualified certification,” citing district failure to address deficit spending, which has led to a “distressed financial condition.” LACOE also cited “inattention” to LAUSD’s $15.2 billion unfunded retiree healthcare liabilities (the promises made to future retirees, which the district has not set aside money to pay for) and its “inability to consider long-term effects of collective bargaining agreements.”

The LAUSD Board at last month’s meeting approved a Fiscal Stabilization Plan that included a 15 percent reduction in central office staff, but the budget the district submitted to the County still fell $3 million short of balancing the budget and maintaining the required 1 percent reserve fund through the 2020-21 school year. Click here to read more: