Reed v State of California is a class action lawsuit against the State of California and Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) seeking to enjoin budget-based layoffs at three Los Angeles middle schools because they denied students their fundamental right under the state constitution to equal educational opportunity.

As a result of the budget cuts during the 2008-2009 academic year, thousands of teachers in LAUSD received layoff notices. These teachers were disproportionately concentrated at low-performing schools: at three middle schools in LAUSD, between half to two-thirds of the teachers received layoff notices.  In contrast, some schools within LAUSD ended up losing no teachers. When the 2009-2010 school year started, these schools had been unable to fill many of these vacancies and did not finally find permanent teachers for some positions until December 2009, forcing the schools to rely on series of short-term substitutes to teach certain classes.  In light of the continuing budget crisis, LAUSD was facing another round of teacher layoffs, and these three schools again were expected to bear a disproportionate burden of layoffs, so we moved for a preliminary injunction to prevent LAUSD from laying off any teachers at these three schools.

On May 13, 2010, the Court granted the preliminary injunction. Together with LAUSD and the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, we reached a settlement that protects up to 45 schools each year from disproportionate layoffs, and the Court approved the settlement in January 2011. The United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) appealed.

On April 8, 2014, ACLU SoCal, co-counsel, UTLA, LAUSD and the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools reached a historic agreement to support 37 schools struggling with high teacher turnover and student drop-out rates and low API scores.

Case Developments

April 8, 2014
ACLU SoCal and co-counsel reached a settlement agreement with the LAUSD that will lead to major new investments in critically needed administrative and teacher support at 37 schools. Read more about the settlement.

February 15, 2012
United Teachers Los Angeles filed its reply brief.

November 18, 2011
The ACLU filed its opposition brief.

August 17, 2011
United Teachers Los Angeles filed its opening brief in its appeal challenging the Court’s approval of the settlement.

February 8, 2011
The Court approved our settlement after a four-day evidentiary hearing. Read more about the settlement.

October 6, 2010
We reached a proposed settlement agreement with LAUSD and the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools that would protect up to 45 schools each year from layoffs based on a formula and other factors that identify the schools least capable of coping with destabilization caused by layoffs. Read more about the settlement.

May 13, 2010
The Court granted the ACLU's request for an order preventing further layoffs at Plaintiffs’ three schools. Read more about the preliminary injunction.

May 4, 2010
The ACLU filed the final version of the complaint, amended in response to various rulings by the Court.

February 24, 2010
The ACLU filed the original complaint.

Pro Bono Law Firm(s)

Public Counsel; Morrison & Foerster LLP

Date filed

February 23, 2010


Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles


Hon. William F. Highberger

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