Source: The 74 Million

For LAUSD, a decentralized model would be a smart move as it asks local voters to approve a $500 million annual parcel tax on June 4. Trust in the district’s financial leadership is low, schools feel squeezed with reports that performance is lagging, and the district is bleeding cash to cover commitments made in years past. Some groups are rightly asking for financial reform in return for approving the parcel tax. Health care benefits alone consume a whopping $2,300 per pupil per year (much of it for retirees) — more than in within-state urban peer districts. And yet LAUSD leadership has been unable to muster the support needed to rein in these expenses. That’s where a decentralized model can help. When finances are shifted to schools, schools get to make trade-offs with their money, choosing where and how to trim to save valued staff. Where those choices bump up against labor contract provisions, schools can and should make their case for more flexibility. In the long run, doing so could influence negotiations between the district and union.