WHAT ARE THE TEACHERS ASKING FOR THAT COSTS SO MUCH?
Both sides are bargaining on a contract that would begin retroactively in June 2017 and last through June 2020. Here’s what the teachers want:
- Salaries: UTLA wants a 6.5 percent, across-the-board salary increase. LAUSD had been offering a 2 percent increase plus a one-time bonus. On Sept. 25, the district publicly offered a larger raise: a 3 percent raise retroactive to last year, plus an additional 3 percent that would only become permanent if LAUSD’s finances remain healthy. That was updated last week to 6% offered over the next two years. (LAUSD has now offered 6%)
- Class sizes: Among other changes, the teachers want to strike a provision in the contract that currently lets the district skirt rules on how big classes are allowed to be. Smaller class sizes equal a need to pay more teachers — doing so would cost a significant amount of money and is among one of the items with a price tag of over $200 million dollars. The estimated cost for this item is a whopping $205.7 million per year.
- Nurses and librarians: UTLA proposes that the district hire a full-time nurse for every LAUSD school (there are 900 schools and 187 charter schools for a total of 1087 schools in the district) and a full-time librarian for every middle and high school. The estimated price tag for this item would be about $81.5 million per year and would make LAUSD one of the number one employers of nurses in the county.
- Counselors, social workers, and deans: The union wants the district to hire a raft of new counselors for secondary schools and to provide one restorative justice advisor, dean or social worker for every 500 students in a school. The cost of doing this would be one of the other over $200 million dollar ticket items. The estimated cost to do this would be somewhere around the $247.9 million per year mark.
- Special education caseloads: LAUSD district officials have proposed to create a task force to study special education caseloads, the union, on the other hand, has proposed to reduce the number of students assigned to one special education teacher. Doing so would create the costliest single proposal the union is making. According to the district’s accounting office, the cost for the proposal by UTLA would be an estimated $263.4 million per year.
In total, the district says these items would add nearly $1 billion a year to the district’s budget. Keep in mind that the district is already operating in the red and utilizing reserves. Does anyone know how the district can come up with an additional billion dollars? I mean these things sound great but where is the money for them? Personally, I think the district is too large, and this may be a good time to toss around the idea of splitting the district. What say you? What solutions do you propose?
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