Community groups joins UTLA at bargaining table, presents bold package of demands

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Above, community members join UTLA at the bargaining table on Sept. 15, 2017.

Los Angeles — Parents & community organizations join UTLA at the bargaining table with LAUSD to demand increase in per-pupil funding to $20,000 by 2020 
Group presents bold package of 9 community proposals, signaling a new way to support students through bargaining with the Los Angeles Unified School District.
UTLA developed bargaining proposals with parents, students, community members, and key members of the Reclaim Our Schools LA coalition, who on Friday presented a bold package of contract proposals — developed over months of community meetings — to improve the lives and educational opportunities of our students and to achieve the Schools LA Students Deserve. 
Representatives from Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), the Brotherhood Crusade, First 5 LA, Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE), Strategic Actions for a Just Economy (SAJE), Coalition for Humane Immigration Reform (CHIRLA), Students Deserve, and parents from Trinity and Harmony elementary schools presented nine proposals on critical issues such as affordable housing, expanding early education programs, supporting immigrant families, and increasing parks and green space on campuses. Most of the community organizations are active members of the Reclaim Our Schools LA coalition.
“We applaud UTLA for lifting up the need to build our pathways for early learning and partnership-building between children, families, teachers and the district,” said Kim Pattillo Brownson, Vice President of Policy and Strategy at First 5 LA. “This is an exciting moment for children and families where early education is gaining prominence as a proven strategy for eliminating the achievement gap.” 
Bringing the community to the table during contract negotiations — often referred to as “bargaining for the common good” — has been practiced by other unions to amplify the power of collective bargaining to make improvements for the larger community.

“Part of our obligation as educators is to raise the bar for the next generation,” said UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl. “We see first-hand what students need every day, in our classrooms, our schools, our clinics, and our neighborhoods. We must work together, employee and employer, parents and community partners, to take on issues of economic, social, and racial justice — all of which impact student learning.” 

UTLA has been in contract talks with LAUSD since spring 2017. In addition to proposals around fair compensation and lowering class size, the community proposals presented link with other demands currently on the table to improve students’ educational environment by hiring more nurses, counselors, and other support staff; giving teachers and parents more decision making power at schools; reducing standardized tests; and other initiatives. 

Community Proposals

View Full Proposal Package

Affordable housing and student homelessness: Provide new supports for homeless youth and students’ families facing eviction by training school counselors on resources and holding tenant rights clinics at schools. Identify surplus LAUSD land that could be used for affordable housing. 
Early education: Give more children the educational start they deserve by expanding the number of seats available for early education in LAUSD. 
Green space on campus: By removing unused classroom bungalows on campus and replacing them with green space in underserved neighborhoods. 
Community schools: Designate 20 schools in high-need areas for Community Schools transformation. Community Schools are fully funded sites with a well-rounded curriculum, wraparound support services, positive discipline practices, and transformational parent and community engagement. 
Teacher training fund: Create Training Fund for teacher aides and other school employees who want to earn teaching credentials. Fund would help address teacher shortage and encourage people in the community to pursue teaching as a career. 
Support for immigrant families: Create $1 million Immigrant Family Legal Defense Fund to support families of LAUSD students who are fighting deportation. 
Student rights and support: End disruptive random search of students that waste instructional time and do not make schools safer. Advocate for free rides on MTA buses and trains for all LAUSD students to ensure reliable transportation to school. Support efforts to end disproportionate ticketing of African American transit riders. 
School accountability: Require transparency by charter school operators on student suspensions/expulsion and “push outs” to traditional schools. Require a community and educational impact report before a charter operator can “co-locate” on a public school campus. 
Revenue for public education: Address funding crisis in California (ranked 46th in per-pupil spending) by advocating for LA schools to be funded by $20,000 per pupil by 2020 (the 20 by 2020 campaign). 
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.