The Los Angeles Unified School District voted down 3 separate proposals last night, one of which would have cut the school police department’s budget by 90% over three years.
That most radical proposal was made by board member Monica Garcia who wanted to reduce the LASPD’s budget by 50% in the 2021-2022 school year, 75% in the 2022-23 school year and 90% in the 2023-24 school year.
The funds, instead, would go the “highest-need schools in support of African American students” according to Garcia’s proposal.
The other proposals would have placed a hiring freeze on the department and removed officers from campus grounds while a committee would study whether officers are still needed in the district.
The seven-member board voted Garcia’s proposal down, 5-2 vote. The other two proposals failed by a 4-3 vote.
LASPD Chief Todd Chamberlain, who spoke at the hearing, said that while he is sympathetic to the reform sentiment sweeping the nation, he believes removing officers from campus will endanger students.
“If you take away police … you’re still going to have people victimized,” Chamberlain said. “You’ll still have crime and still have an environment that’s not safe.”
LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner echoed Chamberlain.
“Those looking for a simple answer will be disappointed because I don’t think one exists,” Beutner said. “If the real objective of this conversation is to look at systemic bias, we will have to take a broader perspective because this is about more than school police,” Beutner said.
The LASPD, with a force of 470, is the largest school police department in the U.S. It serves one of the largest school districts in the country – the LAUSD has about 650,000 K-12 students.