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LA Times: LA schools in "perilous" financial state; SPED costs keep increasing

Jan 7, 2019, Los Angeles Times: L.A. schools have bigger problems than a looming teacher's strike https://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-noguera-lausd-finances-20190107-story.html The looming possibility of a teacher’s strike is certainly a major challenge facing the Los Angeles Unified School District. But it isn’t the biggest one. LAUSD’s finances are in a perilous state, and, despite repeated warnings, school officials and civic leaders have ignored the situation for far too long. The district, as the teachers’ union has pointed out, does have a reserve fund of close to $2 billion. These funds could definitely help in reaching a settlement with the union. However, the existence of the reserve can’t make up for the fact that LAUSD currently spends about half a billion dollars more each year than it takes in, according to a recent analysis….. The deficit is caused in part by rising pension costs (which shouldn’t have come as a surprise since they have been forecast for at least two decades). Higher special education costs and declining student enrollment due to charter school expansion and demographic shifts have also played a role. … Similar warnings have been issued more recently by both the county and state education departments. …