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Death by defunding: Academic Decathlon competes for its life against the LAUSD deficit

Photo by Dave Shea via Flickr Creative Commons

In a battle against the $557 million budget deficit, LAUSD is preparing to vote on a bloodbath of possible program cuts this week. 

Facing death by defunding are art classes in elementary schools, tutoring assistance, recreation programs, adult and early education, All-District Honor Marching Band, and the award-winning Academic Decathlon program.

LAUSD, the second-largest school district in the U.S., allotted $400,000 in the current fiscal year to pay for Academic Decathlon regional competitions and coach stipends. 

El Camino Real High School in Woodland Hills, one of the district's top competitors, will be showing its smarts in Sacramento this weekend for the state Academic Decathlon championship. No fewer than 13 schools within the district are qualified for the state competition, reports the Daily Breeze

The Woodland Hills campus has won six national Academic Decathlon titles. Now a charter school, El Camino does not receive any direct funding from the LAUSD for Academic Decathlon. However, if LAUSD stops coordinating the regional competition, it may be difficult for teams in the district to earn the points needed to qualify for state and national competitions...They could join another regional competition, such as the one administered by Los Angeles County. However, that contest already involves about 50 schools and LAUSD has about 60 Academic Decathlon teams.

The Los Angeles Unified School District board is expected to vote on the cuts on Tuesday.