Last week, LAUSD and the teachers union, UTLA, met to discuss various items that are at issue in an effort to head off a strike. Unfortunately, there continues to be a lack of consensus, and no progress was made. Shortly after the meeting, the LAUSD said in part:
“L.A. Unified remains committed to resolving the issues through the mediation process…”
The district made an offer of a 6% raise over two years and class-size reductions at 15 Middle Schools and 75 Elementary Schools determined to have the “highest need.” UTLA called the offer, “insulting” and a “stunning example of disrespect to the districts 33,000 members.”
Just to illustrate the staunch disconnect between the district and UTLA, Beutner was quoted as saying that the offer “shows our commitment to helping students most in need,” and “Our offer creates a pathway for L.A. Unified and UTLA to avoid a strike that would hurt L.A.’s most vulnerable students and families.”
Meanwhile, UTLA’s response via Arlene Inouye, was that “Beutner’s proposal does nothing to make our schools better,” and that “This is an insult to our members, to our students and to our parents. This stunt reveals he is more interested in fighting against educators at any cost than saving our school district.” And I am not sure where or why that was the response.
The union is seeking a 6.5% salary, so 6% is not that far off. It is also asking for additional provisions in class size reduction, more accountability for charter schools (not sure why they think they have the right to negotiate for charter schools), and limits on standardized testing.
The district is already currently in the red by approximately $500 million, but the demands that UTLA is requesting would put them in the negative by approximately $813 million!
All that said. There seemed to be more interested in Austin Beutner’s district calendar than any kind of negotiations. They want the superintendent to explain why he meets at nice restaurants with charter school supporters? Yes, really, that is a true statement. But I took a look at the calendar events in question and it turns out that it much ado about nothing. I would be interested to see if the Charter School community also met with previous Superintendents (because after all, 187 schools in the district are charters) and if equals the same abysmal slightly less than 1% of time that Beutner has spent. Considering that charter schools make up about 20% of the district’s schools, it doesn’t seem like much.
The district and the teacher’s union will meet again on October 12, 2018. Somehow, I get the feeling that they will want to discuss Beutner’s lunch meetings rather than the kids of the district. The reason I believe this is because it has become increasingly clear that the UTLA operates on the unreasonable fear that Austin Beutner and the entire school board are out to turn all of the schools in the district into charter schools.
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