Envisioning a 'leaner' LA Unified HQ, superintendent asks for plan to cut central office by 30 percent
Superintendent Michelle King has asked managers in the Los Angeles Unified School District's central offices to submit plans outlining how they would slash their departments' budgets by 30 percent in the coming fiscal year, according to a memo obtained by KPCC.
For now, it's just a planning exercise. But top district officials say the aggressive cost-cutting target — the reductions would total more than $112 million if fully implemented — falls in line with King's vision for a slimmed-down headquarters and a district in which school sites are given greater control over their own budgets.
"It's not just another 5 percent drill," said L.A. Unified Chief Financial Officer Megan Reilly. (Some central office departments took a 5 percent cut this year, saving a total of $11 million.)
For managers to hit their cost-saving targets of 30 percent, they couldn't simply close open positions or pick off other similar low-hanging fruit in their budgets. The idea behind the exercise, Reilly said, is to prompt central office mangers to completely rethink how they operate as declining enrollment in L.A. Unified kinks the district's revenue stream.
"You can’t get to 30 percent without really reinventing yourself or basically talking about consolidation in other types of functions," Reilly said.
"I call it an exercise," Reilly added later, "but this is, in reality, something we will be going through … to look at how do we work effectively with a smaller, leaner kind of headquarters."
L.A. Unified’s own projections show an operating shortfall of up to $663 million in the 2017-18 budget year. If that holds true, the long-term fiscal stabilization planapproved in June calls for $60 million in cuts to central office departments next year.
That grim projection, however, does not factor in new revenues the district could see Audio: Envisioning a 'leaner' LA Unified HQ, superintendent asks for plan to cut central office by 30 percent | 89.3 KPCC: