January 3, 2019Press Release
LAUSD legal move uses vulnerable students as pawns
By filing federal court papers today to try to prevent special education teachers from striking, LAUSD is pursuing the legal equivalent of a Hail Mary pass and is using our most vulnerable students as pawns.
“If Beutner really cared about special education students, he would have responded to our proposals on special education class-size caps, which would relieve the burden of our overcrowded classrooms and overwhelming caseloads,” said UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl. “It is disingenuous to recognize the value of our teachers only in the role they play during a strike while working to undermine them as they seek better working conditions for themselves and learning conditions for their students through the bargaining process.”
LAUSD has the ability to prevent a strike right now, by offering educators a fair agreement that spends a substantial portion of its record-breaking $1.9 billion reserve to support our students and engages our comprehensive package of proposals, a section of which addresses the pressing needs of our special education students and teachers.
It is no coincidence that many of the parents who are supportive of our campaign and our possible strike, are parents of special education students. They know that we are fighting for their children.
Going to federal court is a transparent attempt by LAUSD to bring the UTLA/LAUSD labor dispute into an arena where it doesn’t belong and to avoid the state agency (PERB) that governs such disputes. UTLA is refuting LAUSD’s arguments with facts and evidence, showing PERB — where the dispute legally must be heard — that the district can manage its obligations and is wildly speculating about what could happen in order to thwart the union’s right to strike in order to improve public education in Los Angeles. We are confident that LAUSD's legal arguments will not pass muster and an injunction will not be issued.
Unfortunately, this fear tactic is par for the course and we can expect more coming as our strike date nears. Supt. Austin Beutner, who has no experience as a teacher, has tried to scare and intimidate teachers, parents, and the community all to further his own agenda to downsize the district instead of using the historic level of reserves to invest in our schools.
Throughout the last few months, Beutner has promoted a “business as usual” narrative around any possible strike, promoting information to parents and the community that all students should attend school and that instruction would continue, regardless of any work stoppages. By filing this alarmist lawsuit, Beutner once again contradicts himself, just as he did in yesterday’s media blitz, where he gave different messages to parents, teachers, and community members.
The fact that he is now singling out special education teachers shows how valuable they are to our most vulnerable students. We hope Beutner sees the error in this strategy and brings real proposals to support these teachers and students to our meeting with LAUSD on Monday.