LAUSD Projects 30% Decline in Enrollment

Officials from the Los Angeles Unified School District presented a grim outlook on the future of enrollment during a presentation before the Board of Education this week. California’s largest school district — and the second-largest nationwide — expects a 30% drop in enrollment over the next decade. That decline could eventually mean difficult choices, including layoffs, program cuts, and school closures.

“There are a number of unsustainable trends,” said Supt. Alberto Carvalho. “The perfect storm is brewing.

“Los Angeles Unified is facing an alarming convergence and acceleration of enrollment decline and the expiration of one-time state and federal dollars, as well as ongoing and increasing financial liabilities.”

Current enrollment at LAUSD is around 430,000 — a significant drop from its peak of 737,000 students 21 years ago. In nine years, enrollment is estimated to be 309,000. Reasons range from a declining birth rate and less immigration to increased private and homeschooling, and high costs of living that are pushing people to move outside the district.

Amid these dire warnings, United Teachers Los Angeles is seeking historic bumps in pay. It wants a 20% raise for teachers over two years; pay increases and professional development reimbursements of up to $2,000 for mentors and those with advanced degrees; $20,000 raises for nurses; smaller class sizes; and more school counselors.

“The district historically under-projects its revenue, over-projects its expenditures,” said Jeff Good, UTLA Executive Director. He said UTLA is “going to push the district to go as far as they can.”