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Open Access Publications from the University of California

A Better Way to Budget? An analysis of decentralization in the Los Angeles Unified School District

  • Author(s): Kirsten Garey
  • Sarah Paulson
  • Adam Sonenshein
  • Stephanie Toby
  • et al.

The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is currently facing a shrinking budget, a perception that it is overly bureaucratic and centralized, and dissatisfaction with standardized test scores. While some politicians argue that the district should be broken up, several experts believe that decentralization of LAUSD’s budget authority is the answer. This memo evaluates decentralized decision-making models in the context of implementation within LAUSD. We conducted an extensive review of academic and government research; interviewed LAUSD staff, academic experts and officials from four cities with experience in decentralization; surveyed 135 LAUSD principals; and reviewed district, state and federal regulations.

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