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California To Endure Nearly $1 Billion In Midyear Budget Cuts

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LOS ANGELES (CBS) — The Los Angeles Unified School District plans to file a lawsuit Wednesday in hopes of blocking $38 million in cuts to the district’s transportation program.

The cuts are part of a new budget plan announced Tuesday by Gov. Jerry Brown, who says state revenue fell $2.2 billion short of projections, triggering cuts to education and social service programs.

“They’re not good,” Brown said of the cuts. “It’s not the way we’d like to run California, but we have to live within our means.”

The governor announced about $1 billion in spending cuts, far short of the $2.4 billion in cutbacks that were envisioned under a summer budget agreement. The cuts will take effect on or after Jan. 1.

While K-12 education was spared any massive cuts, the governor announced a $248 million cut in the school transportation budget — a cut that LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy said would be too steep for the district to absorb.

“LAUSD cannot withstand further budget cuts without adversely impacting the educational benefits offered to its students,” he said. “We stand with our students to say enough is enough.”

Deasy said the district cannot just terminate its school bus program, since the majority of the services were mandated under a 1981 court order requiring desegregation programs, including the busing of about 35,000 students. He noted that state and federal law also requires the district to provide transportation to 13,000 other students with special needs.

“Due to the combined mandates, the trigger cuts force the district to choose between two illegal and unconstitutional outcomes,” Deasy said. “It must either terminate its transportation services in direct violation of the … court order — and state and federal law — or divert precious classroom dollars from its general fund to pay for the required transportation services.”

Roughly $100 million in funding to the California State University and University of California systems will also be slashed.

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