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Los Angeles Unified School District
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Although I worked for LAUSD for many years, both as a teacher and as a non-teacher, I was never fully aware of the size of the behemoth until yesterday.

Saturday's desk and closet cleanout unearthed "Fingertip Facts" put out by the District and the numbers were astonishing.

LAUSD has an enrollment greater than the populations of either Rhode Island or Delaware: 1,075,000 students (675,000 of them in Adult Education). I didn't know that the Adult Ed enrollment exceeded the K - 12 student count.

More than 70% of the K - 12 student population is Hispanic. There are so few children of the same ethnicity as I, that we are counted as "Other White".

For the K - 12 students, there are nearly 2,000 schools and close to 30,000 teachers (plus a couple thousand administrators).

LAUSD is confined to 710 square miles (Rhode Island and Delaware each have larger square mileage, lower demographic density), serving 8 cities in addition to Los Angeles and parts of 24 other southland cities, not to mention unincorporated areas of the county.

There's a budget of $5 billion or thereabouts (with a "b"), over 80% of which goes toward employees' salaries and benefits (certificated and classified both).

These numbers are huge, greater by far than most cities' population and budget. It's almost like a city-within-a-city.

No wonder the inertia that blocks change, real reform, is so impossible to overcome. No wonder managers can build little kingdoms and no one really notices. Nor is it surprising that money just disappears.

It says a lot (good) of teachers that so much gets done for our children in spite of the difficulties.

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