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Race-Motivated School Cutbacks Spark Anger In LA

A letter sent by the Los Angeles Unified School District to one of its facilities, Walter Reed Middle School, has stirred angry reactions among many students' families.

District officials notified the North Hollywood school that its funding would be reduced because it had too many white students, according to KABC.

"A school qualifies for [Predominantly Hispanic, Black, Asian & Other Non-Anglo] 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,'" read the letter to parents from Linda Del Cueto, the LAUSD's local district Northeast superintendent, according to EAG News.

A student racial demographic that falls outside this guideline is subject to funding penalties, according to Del Cueto's letter: "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."

Walter Reed reportedly enrolled white students at a rate of more than 30 percent during the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 academic years, according to the Daily Caller.

The 1978 court decision that created PHBAO status was originally implemented to combat the effects of segregation.

Several parents of Walter Reed students expressed concerns about what the policy meant for their children.

"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," said parent Rosemary Estrada.

"It's affecting funding because the more white people, the less money, so it's a little bit of an interesting situation," added parent Christia Crocker.

District officials have attempted to mitigate the effects of spending cuts on students by basing school spending on factors other than racial demographics.

"In order to maintain continuity of instructional services to students and families within demographic and budgetary realities, the District researched alternative funding models and has identified Reed as a 'per-pupil spending model' school," explained Del Cueto in her letter. "Under this model, Reed will retain more teachers than originally anticipated and discussed at the March 15, 2017 community meeting."

Del Cueto went on to clarify that the adjustments will mean certain members of the school's staff will keep their jobs: "It is important to note that the school's nurse, librarian, and counselor will not be impacted for the 2017-18 school year."

In spite of administrators' efforts to roll back the spending cuts, the school will nevertheless need to cut multiple jobs. Administrators have not yet announced exactly which jobs will be cut.

Sources: KABC, Daily Caller, EAG News / Photo Credit: Alex Starr/Flickr