SCHOOL BOARD TO RAISE BUDGET BY BILLION DOLLARS.
The Los Angeles Unified School District 1997-98 budget will be boosted by almost a billion dollars over last year - bringing the spending plan to $5.8 billion, officials said Tuesday.
The windfall includes $160 million for reducing class sizes in kindergarten through third grades, almost $366 million in Proposition BB bond money for school repairs and construction, and a substantial increase in matching funds for building maintenance, boosting the figure from $5 million to almost $19 million.
Employees also will receive a 2.4 percent pay boost and a larger increase is being negotiated for teachers.
``This is a good budget, a solid budget,'' said Chief Financial Officer Henry Jones of the $5.8 billion spending plan.
The Board of Education will vote on the budget Sept. 8 following a public hearing.
The revised $5.8 billion figure is $500 million more than what was expected in May when the Board of Education approved a $5.3 billion budget for 1997-98.
This year, each student will be allocated $5,135, the best funding since pre-recession 1989-90 when each student received $5,161.
This year, Gov. Pete Wilson, agreed to cover more of the cost incurred by districts as they reduce their class sizes. Budget Director Marty Varon said after state funds are received, the district will only have to take an additional $7.9 million from it's general fund to pay for the popular program.
``The governor finally looked at the true cost of the program,'' Varon said.
While amounts have not yet been calculated by the state, the LAUSD will also receive money for a new child care program for welfare recipients and an expanded phonics reading program.