LAUSD Teachers Plan to Move Forward With Strike

Los Angeles Unified School District school buses seen in a parking lot in Los Angeles California on Jan 10 2019

With no new talks, Los Angeles teacher strike all but inevitable

The district's latest offer included adding almost 1,200 teachers, counsellors, nurses and librarians to schools, reducing class sizes by two students, and capping class sizes to between 32 and 39 students, depending on age and curriculum.

"Los Angeles Unified did not want a strike and offered UTLA leaders a $565 million package to significantly reduce class sizes, add almost 1,200 educators in schools, and provide all UTLA members with 6% salary raises", according to the LAUSD statement.

United Teachers Los Angeles president and teacher, Alex Caputo-Pearl, far left, at podium, announces the nation's second-largest school district will go on strike Monday at a news conference in Los Angeles.

Members of United Teachers Los Angeles voted a year ago to walk off the job for the first time in three decades if a deal wasn't reached on issues including higher wages and smaller class sizes. Students will receive instruction from administrators and substitute teachers.

It also included a previously proposed a 6 percent raise over the first two years of a three-year contract.

The union, United Teachers Los Angeles, wants a 6.5 percent hike that would take effect all at once and be retroactive to fiscal 2017.

"We are at an impasse", union president Alex Caputo-Pearl said Friday. The union, however, rejected the offer as insufficient.

No formal talks were held over the weekend, dashing hopes of an 11th-hour deal between the teachers union and the school district.

A majority of UTLA's 35,000 members are expected to join the work stoppage. UTLA is trying to rally teachers in other California districts to join its movement.

"Los Angeles Unified did not want a strike", a district statement said. However, a judge was considering Wednesday whether the union gave legally proper notice of a strike and could have ordered teachers to wait.

Schools will stay open because the district with 640,000 students has hired hundreds of substitutes to replace teachers and others who leave for picket lines.

Much of the acrimony between the district and the union centres around the new superintendent, Austin Beutner. The investment banker and former Los Angeles deputy mayor took the job previous year without any experience in education. Teacher's strike when they have no other recourse, when there is no other alternative.

The union is also looking to cap the growth of privately operated charter schools, which competes for resources with public schools.

Beutner has said his plan to reorganise the district would improve services to students and families. He and his supporters on the board envision an education system with public and charter schools under the same leadership. The movement spread to Oklahoma, Kentucky, Colorado, Arizona and Washington state.

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