The police chief for the Los Angeles Unified School District resigned Wednesday, a day after the school board slashed his budget by $25 million, saying the reductions impede his ability to serve the community effectively.
In a statement, Todd Chamberlain said the cuts put him in a "position that makes my ability to effectively, professionally and safely impact those groups unachievable."
"I cannot support modifications to my position, the organization and most importantly, the community (students, staff and families) that I believe will be detrimental and potentially life-threatening," he added.
Chamberlain, a 33-year law enforcement veteran who previously retired from the Los Angeles Police Department, had been on the job only a few months. He was named the district's new chief in November.
The 4-3 vote also required officers to be taken off-campus and out of uniform until a district task force issues a report. The cuts will result in layoffs for 65 officers and the elimination of overtime and 39 vacant positions, KCBS-TV reported
The Los Angeles School Police Department has around 410 sworn officers and 101 non-sworn safety officers, according to the department. The $25 million in cuts will be diverted to other programs and was included in the district's overall $8.9 billion budget.
“And hopefully we’ll grow the $25 million that we got tonight. Because there is more work to do,” said board member Mónica García, who wrote the resolution along with board member Jackie Goldberg, as EdSource reported. “And, I have to say out loud, the work of Black Lives Matter, of anti-racist policies, of equity, is before us.”
Garcia initially sought to cut the police budget by $35 million -- a 50 percent reduction -- but relented when Goldberg offered an alternative motion, according to LAist.
“This budget reflects our commitment to do all we can to help students continue to learn while dealing with the impact of the pandemic,” Superintendent Austin Beutner said in a statement. “We expect this interim budget will need to be revised when the state provides updated school budget information later this year.”
Chamberlain had told the board the effects of the cuts would reverberate almost immediately.
“It’s not going to deliver the type of community policing or the type of service that our community deserves,” Chamberlain said.
Board member Richard Vladovic, who voted against the cuts, pleaded with his colleagues to hold off, saying: "We're walking right into this without knowing where we're going, and how we're going to get there."