October 12, 2018Press Release
UTLA ready to go to fact-finding and make our case for investing in our schools
After three mediation sessions between UTLA and the Los Angeles Unified School District, mediators today released the parties to fact-finding. UTLA made a good faith effort in mediation to reach an agreement, but unfortunately LAUSD officials did not do the same, failing to offer any substantial proposals to reinvest in our schools, just as they have neglected to do over the 18 months we have been in bargaining.
UTLA is ready to go into fact-finding and make our case for bargaining demands that are essential for students, educators, and our communities.
“The district thinks they can buy us off with a modest pay raise, but our fight has never been just about salary,” UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl says. “What’s driving educators is the absolute need to fix what we see every day: too many overcrowded classrooms where kids have to share desks, schools with a nurse only one day a week, and overloaded psychologists and counselors doing their best to triage the socio-emotional needs of our students. The school district claims it can’t afford these very basic student needs. We are ready to go to fact-finding and force the district to defend its position.”
UTLA is fighting to reinvest in our schools by lowering class size; adding more nurses, counselors, and librarians; ending overtesting to free up instructional time; investing in Community Schools; addressing charter co-location impacts; and supporting programs that serve a broad swath of our students, including Early Ed, Adult Ed, Special Ed, and Bilingual Ed.
The district, while repeatedly claiming that financial collapse is around the corner, continues to deny UTLA’s requests for basic information that the public has a legal right to receive. UTLA has filed three Unfair Practice Charges against LAUSD, including one based on its illegal refusal to provide the data we’ve requested.
Here are some facts we do know about the district’s financial state:
•LAUSD’s unrestricted ending balance (“reserves”) is $1.863 billion for the end of the 2017-18 school year. The state requires only a 1% reserve, yet LAUSD has 26.5% in reserves.
•Last year, $416 million in the textbooks and supplies budget was set aside and not spent on our classrooms.
•The charter industry drains nearly $600 million a year from LAUSD public schools.
•LAUSD spent $8.6 million on tests not required by state or federal government and millions of dollars more with outside testing companies, including $23 million with the for-profit company Amplify Ed.
Here are some facts about the needs of our students:
•Nearly 40% of LAUSD schools have a nurse for only one day a week.
•California is 48th out of 50 states in student-to-teacher ratios, and LAUSD has among the highest class sizes in the state.
•More than 200 elementary classes are violating LAUSD’s own internal class-size guidelines (27 students for grades TK-3; 34 students for grades 4-6).
•By the time an LAUSD student is 11 years old, she will have taken more than 100 standardized tests, compromising a huge chunk of student learning time.
During fact-finding, a panel will examine the position of both sides—including LAUSD’s claims of extreme financial distress—and issue a non-binding report. After the report is issued, the school district can impose its last, best, and final proposal and UTLA members can strike.
UTLA, the nation’s second-largest teachers’ union local, represents more than 35,000 teachers and health & human services professionals who work in the Los Angeles Unified School District and in charter schools.