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Budget cuts at LA Unified aren't quite as deep as expected, but almost 12,000 pink slips have gone out, and adult classes and other programs are scheduled for cancellation. After four years of concessions, the teachers' union is being asked to give up still more. We talk with the President of the UTLA and the Superintendent of Schools. Also, besieged by state budget cuts and student demand, Santa Monica College wants to provide extra classes at a higher cost. Is that legal? Would it effectively privatize public education? On our rebroadcast of today's To the Point, the "Solid South" isn't solid after all.

Banner image: Members of UTLA attend the 'Stop the Insanity' rally on March 13, 2012, demanding that pink slips be rescinded immediately

Making News Santa Monica College to Adopt Tiered Pricing System 13 MIN, 17 SEC

Faced with state funding cuts, Santa Monica College can't keep up with student demand. So the governing board has approved a plan to provide extra classes after the regular ones are full. There's a catch. Regular classes will cost $46 a unit, but the extras will be $180. We hear more from SMC President Chui Tsang and from SMC student trustee Joshua Scuteri, who cast his advisory vote against the two-tier pricing plan.

Note: Santa Monica College owns the license for KCRW, and provides space on the campus for this radio station.

Chui Tsang, Santa Monica College
Joshua Scuteri, Santa Monica College Board of Trustees

Main Topic The Rationing of Public Education 16 MIN, 39 SEC

LA's elected school board passed a preliminary worst-case budget last night with just one dissenting vote. Although the cuts were not as severe as expected, the $6 billion plan would still eliminate thousands of jobs, close all the adult schools and cut some after-school programs as well as music and art at elementary schools. Some 11,700 pink slips have already been sent out. There are other options. Superintendent John Deasy wants concessions from labor unions he says could keep some programs open.

Three initiatives on the November, 2012 ballot all could further impact public education. They are:

Tax for Education and Early Childhood Programs
Tax to Fund Education, Preschools, and Child Care
Tax to Benefit Public Schools, Social Services, Public Safety, and Road Maintenance

Warren Fletcher, United Teachers Los Angeles (@utlanow)
John Deasy, Los Angeles Unified School District (@DrDeasyLAUSD)
David Rattray, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce

Main Topic The Southern Primaries and the GOP 21 MIN, 10 SEC

The Southern Primaries and the GOPRick Santorum won both Alabama and Mississippi yesterday. Newt Gingrich took second place in states even he said he needed. Santorum is claiming he's now the real, conservative alternative to Mitt Romney, who came in third. If Romney can't capture the Southern conservative base of the party, why is he still the likely GOP nominee? 

Maggie Haberman, New York Times / CNN (@maggienyt)
Gary Langer, Langer Research Associates and ABC News (@garylanger)
Jack Campbell, Public Strategy Associates
Chris Kromm, Institute for Southern Studies (@chriskromm)
Ken Warren, St. Louis University

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