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Breakfast program, school police to draw demonstrators at LAUSD

More than 1,500 demonstrators are expected at the Los Angeles school board meeting Tuesday as members are scheduled to vote on whether to continue funding a classroom breakfast program, on an increase in the school police force and on other budget items.

Hundreds of positions in the schools and cafeterias are tied to the fate of the breakfast program, which feeds more than 2,000 students in 280 schools across L.A. Unified School District.

The controversial program has pitted two of the district's most influential labor unions against each other.

The Los Angeles teachers union opposes the program, citing messes and distractions in the classroom, while Service Employees International Union Local 99 said more than 900 cafeteria workers among nearly 45,000 school service employees it represents would lose their jobs if the program were eliminated.

UTLA planned to rally outside the board meeting Tuesday for a number  of reasons, including the breakfast program. A rally was planned for early morning to call on board members to staff schools with health and human services professionals. A second demonstration in the afternoon would support smaller class sizes, fully staffed schools and the restoration of vital services that would come from Proposition 30 funding.

Supt. John Deasy, meanwhile, is seeking funding for the district’s school police force.

“We have built a number of schools in the past two years and have not maintained the … force at the ratio that we had prior,” Deasy wrote in an  April 12 memo to board members.

L.A. Unified Police Chief Steve Zipperman said his department is asking for a $4-million budget increase to patrol the district’s schools and facilities.

The department received a similar budget increase last July, but it was used to “recover from the deficiency we had.”

Zipperman said his budget had remained static since 2006, though the district has opened 96 school sites since then.

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Twitter: @dalinac

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