ShareThis Page
Strike by Los Angeles teachers enters fifth day amid talks | TribLIVE.com
Education

Strike by Los Angeles teachers enters fifth day amid talks

The Associated Press
| Friday, January 18, 2019 11:51 p.m
656324_web1_656324-d2d7f638dfa54afeb013aa0b41bec1d5
656324_web1_656324-e584a4a1ce3d47d1a20f430be247eaf0
656324_web1_656324-a14997056f854f678cfa33f0592f1ee2
656324_web1_656324-c1e4184472784a799bc9496565071866
656324_web1_656324-bc49e6943a69455b84769dc1531bc341
656324_web1_656324-afec51efeae8495fa1edb8b60d45559d

LOS ANGELES — Teachers picketed and rallied Friday as a strike against the giant Los Angeles Unified School District extended to a fifth day with a new round of contract negotiations underway.

Drums, whistles, shouts and honks from supportive drivers echoed through downtown as groups of teachers and backers walked to a rally that drew thousands to Grand Park near City Hall.

Negotiations between United Teachers Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Unified School District resumed Friday and continued into the night.

“Too many students are missing out on the education they should be getting,” district Superintendent Austin Beutner said. “We need to solve this now and get our educators and all of our students back in the classroom.”

But “we can’t solve 40 years of underinvestment in public education in just one week or just one contract,” he added. “And we can’t fix these problems working separately. We have to do it together.”

Renewed negotiations organized by Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office began Thursday afternoon and didn’t break until after midnight. The mayor said it was “a productive day of negotiations” in a brief statement on Twitter.

The mayor does not have authority over the district, but he has sought to help both sides reach an agreement.

Union President Alex Caputo-Pearl earlier tempered expectations for an immediate resolution, noting that bargaining had gone on for 21 months before the strike and key differences remained.

Clashes over pay, class sizes and support-staff levels in the district with 640,000 students led to its first strike in 30 years and prompted the staffing of classrooms with substitute teachers and administrators.

Parents and children have joined the protests despite heavy rain that drenched the city. Overall school attendance fell to 85,274 students on Friday, or 13 percent of the student population.

With state funding dependent on attendance, student absences have cost the district about $125 million over five days, the district said. At the same time, it doesn’t have to spend about $10 million a day on teacher pay.

“There’ve been a lot of sleepless nights and hard days during this strike,” Beutner said. “It has not been easy on anyone. That said, I remain optimistic about our ability to work together to find creative solutions to solve these long-term problems.”

The union representing principals urged the district to close schools until the strike is over. If it can’t close the campuses, Associated Administrators of Los Angeles asked for additional resources for principals who have helped keep schools running while teachers walk picket lines.

In response, Beutner acknowledged the administrators’ sacrifices but said schools must remain open to provide a safe place for students.

All 1,240 K-12 schools in the district have remained open, a departure from successful strikes in other states that emboldened the Los Angeles union to act.

The union rejected the district’s latest offer to hire nearly 1,200 teachers, counselors, nurses and librarians and to reduce class sizes by two students. It also included a previously proposed 6 percent raise over the first two years of a three-year contract. The union wants a 6.5 percent hike at the start of a two-year contract.

District officials have said teacher demands could bankrupt the school system. Beutner has urged the teachers to join him in pushing for more funding from the state, which provides 90 percent of the district’s money.



TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.