Parents in Los Angeles are angry after they reportedly learned that the budget was getting cut at Walter Reed Middle School. That’s because the white student population apparently rose above 30 percent.
This Los Angeles Unified School District policy dates back to the 1970s, following court-orders designed to address racial desegregation, according to a ABC 7 report that broke the story. So Walter Reed no longer qualifies for extra funding.
“When your class sizes are getting larger and you’re taking resources away from students. I mean as parents, you do want your kid to go out to college,” parent Rosemary Estrada told the outlet.
We’ve reached out to the Los Angeles Unified School District to learn more about the policy. A spokesperson provided us with the letter sent to parents on March 22:
Linda Del Cueto, Local District Northeast Superintendent, said that Reed no longer qualifies for “PHBAO status.” That acronym means “Predominantly Hispanic, Black, Asian, or Non-Anglo.”
Here’s the key excerpt:
A school qualifies for PHBAO status if 70 percent or more of its students who live within the school’s attendance boundary are identified as “Hispanic, Black, Asian, or non-Anglo.” Under a court-ordered integration program that has been in place since 1978, PHBAO schools qualify for smaller class sizes and additional positions. When a school no longer qualifies for PHBAO status, fewer positions are funded.
And in this case, Del Cueto said that for the past two years, the school’s student population has been less than 70 percent “Hispanic, Black, Asian, or non-Anglo.” This means staff positions are getting eliminated.
She said the District managed to stifle the budget cuts by changing Reed’s funding model to reflect a “per-pupil” basis. There will still be cuts, but not as many as announced during a March 15 community meeting.
Update – March 27, 9:17 p.m.: Updated with more information from the LAUSD.
[Screengrab via ABC 7]