Neetu Chandak on January 9, 2019
A Los Angeles teacher’s union recently turned down the school district’s offer to reduce classroom sizes and increase staff numbers as a teacher strike looms if a deal is not met.
The Unified Teachers of Los Angles (UTLA) is demanding the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) to:
- Use $1.9 million in unrestricted reserves for smaller class sizes and increase staffing,
- Invest more in early, bilingual and special education,
- And address how more than $600 million has gone toward charter schools instead of public schools.
UTLA also wants a 6.5 percent increase in salary, according to NBC 4.
The Los Angeles union claims the demands are to “serve our students.”
Wall Street Journal editorial board member Allysia Finley, however, suggests in a Jan. 4 op-ed the negotiations are highly political. Increasing staff, for example, could bring in more potential UTLA members which would help the union regain control of the school board.
LAUSD’s latest offer to the Unified Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) included:
- Increasing funds from $30 million to $105 million to hire 1,000 educators which would decrease all math and secondary English classes to under 40 students and keep grades 4-6 classes with a maximum of 35 students,
- And a 6 percent raise for employees with no contingencies and no additional training to receive the benefit.
The district acknowledged that charter schools cannot be bargained over as it is handled by the state, but the district is willing to have working groups to address location issues and oversight of charters within the district.
“We are extremely disappointed and frustrated that union leadership has turn down our offer and
– once again – failed to put forth any proposal to try and resolve the issues of class size and salary,” LAUSD wrote in a statement Monday.
UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl believed the district’s proposal had “so little to offer,” the Los Angeles Daily News reported Wednesday. He added the deal would increase class size instead of decreasing it and the potential pay raise would still negatively impact future health care benefits.
“The salary for a teacher with a bachelor’s degree and 60 additional college credits is $74,141,” a LAUSD spokeswoman told The Daily Caller News Foundation over email. “The average cost of health and welfare benefits that teachers receive is $14,562.”
The average district class size was nearly 26 students.
Caputo-Pearl also believes the increase in staff would ultimately add one employee in each of the nearly 900 schools, according to the Los Angeles Daily News.
LAUSD says UTLA is being unreasonable for staffing increases, NBC 4 reported. UTLA reportedly wants a plan that would cost $786 million per year as LAUSD is currently in a $500 million deficit.
More than 30,000 teachers are ready to strike on Jan. 14.
UTLA did not immediately respond to TheDCNF’s request for comment.
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