UTLA rejects LAUSD's so-called offer, calls for talks Monday

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March4Ed from Dec. 15, 2018. UTLA leaders and members marching holding banner.
UTLA leaders and thousands of members and supporters march for education in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018.

MEDIA NOTE: Tune in to KPCC’s 'AirTalk' at 10 a.m. tomorrow for Kyle Stokes’ interview with UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl.

As you know, today Austin Beutner attempted another end-run around the formal bargaining process by talking to the media and sending a letter to our members. This is the behavior of a corporate down-sizer, breaking the rules to get his way. See our press statement on that here.
Later in the day, about 15 minutes after we released a media statement calling out Beutner’s latest tactics, Rob Samples from LAUSD Labor Relations sent a response to our email on Dec. 31, 2018, which had asked Samples to clarify a confusing and unorthodox chart that he had sent a couple of days earlier. Today, Samples refused to answer our questions and insisted that the chart is an offer, with no further clarification.  
The chart is not a formal offer. But, inasmuch as we want to be responsive, we reached back out to Samples tonight and rejected LAUSD’s so-called offer. See the district’s chart, a chain of emails back and forth, and our response to Samples here.
The so-called offer is basically the same as LAUSD has been putting forward for months, just dressed up slightly differently.
We additionally stated in tonight’s email to Samples that our bargaining team is available to meet on Monday if the district has a legitimate and clear offer for us to consider. We hope they do, as we would like to make progress on bargaining if possible.  
We rejected the district’s most recent “offer” for several reasons:
1. Pay raise still contingent on healthcare rollback: Though unclear, it appears to still make the 3% salary increase in 2017-2018 and 3% in 2018-2019 contingent on cutting future members’ healthcare.
2. Section 1.5 not eliminated: Though unclear, it appears to maintain Section 1.5 of the contract, which allows the district to unilaterally raise class sizes. 
3. Anemic movement on class size and more nurses, counselors, and librarians: Though unclear, if we pieced it together with other recent district communications (not something we want to do, but had no choice given Samples’ lack of response), it appears to offer only $30 million for class-size reduction, and additional counselors, nurses, librarians, etc. This is less than 2% of the almost $2 billion reserve. This would provide only one additional staff person (supposedly filling a need for class-size reduction AND health and human services staffing) at only 30% of district schools. Because the "offer" is so poorly written, it is unclear as to whether the district is maintaining that they would like to have this $30 million applied only to 10% of the 900 schools, which they had proposed on October 30. It is also unclear as to whether the district is maintaining its October 30 proposal to raise class sizes across the board.
4. No progress on other critical proposals: It does not address the rest of our comprehensive package of proposals built to improve learning conditions for students, to improve working conditions for educators, and to ensure the long-term stability of LAUSD as a civic institution for the common good.
Interpreting the district’s chart was made more difficult by the fact that, just today, LAUSD sent a press statement, a letter to our members, a letter to parents, and made statements on KPCC, all of which were inconsistent with each other. This is an unprofessional and misleading set-up to prevent us from arriving at substantive agreements that help our students.  We expect more from the superintendent of the second-largest school district in the country.
We will keep you informed, and hope that LAUSD agrees to meet on Monday, and has a clear and legitimate offer for us to consider at that time. Stay united, stay informed, and stay focused on our goal: a deep reinvestment in educators and students to sustain public education in LA.

HEAR MORE: Tune in to KPCC’s 'AirTalk' at 10 a.m. tomorrow for Kyle Stokes’ interview with UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl.