In this moment when the call for equity and justice is louder than ever in our communities, we are stunned by the indifference to the voices of essential workers displayed by the majority of the LAUSD Board. Your casual decision to cut-back critical student services during a time of greatest need is out-of-touch and uninformed.

LAUSD’s 2020-21 budget includes the reduction of Community Representatives who are a vital link between parents and schools. It reduces Education Aides when we should be planning for additional support to address learning loss. It cuts School Supervision Aides during a time when campuses should be preparing for temperature screenings and increased safety monitoring. And, unbelievably, your budget cuts IT Technicians when distance learning is likely to continue and more students will require access to technology support.

The Board’s careful consideration and debate on school policing was appropriate and commendable. Yet, it is not the only debate you should be having. You spoke of the need for less punitive and more pro-active approaches to address student safety and behavior. Yet, during the same board meeting, there was virtually no thought put into the reduction of services that are critical for parent and community engagement and for safety on campus.

It must also be said that these cuts impact a majority of Black and Brown workers, many of them women and parents of LAUSD students. Your quick decision was a dismissal of their work without full consideration of the impact on students and families. We cannot help but think it’s yet another example of the structural racism that has long devalued these workers’ contributions to student learning.

If budgets are truly a reflection of values, you have more work to do to live up to the ideals of equitable opportunity and racial justice that you so openly espouse.

Be assured that, as dedicated education workers and parents providing for our own children, we are ready to defend vital student services and our very livelihoods from your planned cut-backs and reductions.

– Max Arias, SEIU Local 99 Executive Director