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California Briefing / Los Angeles

District to increase class sizes in most grades

March 25, 2009|Howard Blume

Plans to address next year's $596-million budget shortfall in the Los Angeles Unified School District will include raising the average class size in 11th and 12th grades to 43 students. The prospect of larger classes was unveiled by senior officials at Tuesday's Board of Education meeting.

The high school class size would increase on average by two students, with many classes much larger.

Class size is expected to grow at all levels, with the biggest increase in the early grades, where classes would grow from 20 to 24 in kindergarten through third grade.

Grades four and five would increase by two students, to 31 per class, just the opposite of what Supt. Ramon C. Cortines hoped to do in outlining his long-term goals; that was before the ongoing state budget crisis filtered down to local districts.

The union representing many non-teaching employees proposed employee furlough days to save jobs. So far, the teachers union has objected to these unpaid days off.

Other projected cuts to the district's nearly $6-billion general fund would affect counseling, library services and school administrators. Almost 9,000 employees have received notice that they could be laid off, but the actual number is expected to be much lower unless the state financial situation deteriorates markedly.

The board is scheduled to vote on budget proposals next week.

-- Howard Blume

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