LAUSD’s Difficult Summer: LA Teachers Union Preparing to Strike while CSEA, SEIU and AALA Finalize Deals with District; Board Member Pleads Guilty

LAUSD seal

(Los Angeles, Ca) The Los Angeles Unified School District is having a challenging Summer.

First, Board District 5 is still without representation after Refugio Rodriguez plead guilty to money laundering on July 23, for improperly handling campaign funds.

According to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office, the former president of the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education and his cousin pleaded guilty to charges that they reimbursed thousands of dollars to donors that he claimed in a campaign filing form. Rodriguez was immediately sentenced to three years of formal probation and ordered to complete 60 days of community service. Melendrez was placed on summary probation for three years and was ordered to complete 60 days of community service.
With the vacancy in Board District 5, the Board, “will be appointing a temporary voting representative as soon as possible.” The announcement also states, “we would also like to call a special election to fill the vacancy as soon as we can. A Board majority will have to agree to a plan.”
If that wasn’t enough, the United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) issued a press release stating that negotiations have deadlocked with the Los Angeles Unified School District and while a state mediator has been appointed, UTLA is preparing to conduct a strike authorization vote Aug. 23-30. UTLA represents 30,000 teachers. the previous agreement with LAUSD was from 2014 to June 30, 2017.
According to the LAUSD calendar, the first day of school is scheduled for Tuesday, August 14, 2018.

Open Issues according to UTLA

According to the UTLA website, some key deadlocked bargaining issues include:

  • Class Size Matters. LAUSD gave no proposals to reduce class size.  LAUSD has some of the highest class sizes in the nation, yet refuses to eliminate section 1.5 of the contract, which allows the district to ignore class size caps.
  • Improve School Safety. With a student-to-counselor ratio of 945:1 in California and student-to-nurse ratio of 1,224:1, LAUSD refuses to add more school nurses, counselors, social workers, librarians and other staff; rejects greater educator input on school safety plans.
  • Fund Our Schools. LAUSD gave no proposals to address funding issues. California is the richest state in the nation, yet ranks 43 out of 50 in per-pupil funding.
  • Support Community Schools. LAUSD gave no proposals to fund Community Schools. Community schools meet the needs in the surrounding community, including wrap-around services, broadened curriculum and parent engagement.
  • Less Testing & More Teaching. LAUSD gave no proposals to address overtesting. Our kids are being overtested. Their teachers should have more discretion over what and when standardized assessments are given.
  • End the Privatization Drain. LAUSD gave no proposals for reasonable charter accountability and co-location measures. LAUSD refuses to address the $590 million lost to the unchecked expansion of charter schools each year.

Good News

While LAUSD is handling difficult issues, the good news is that the Los Angeles Unified School District has reached multiple agreements with most of its workforce. The California School Employees Association (CSEA), Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and Associated Administrators of Los Angeles (AALA), the District have now reached agreements with nearly 60 percent of its workforce.

The CSEA agreement is a three-year contract covering about 3,800 employees. The union represents office technicians, library aides, financial managers and other professional clerical and office employees.

“We are very pleased to continue to see positive results from our labor-management, solution-focused negotiations,” said Board President Mónica García. “I want to thank all parties at Los Angeles Unified and CSEA who worked to create positive movement for this tentative agreement. Well done, leaders.”

“I am grateful to the employees of this District who put kids first, every day, in our schools,” said Board Vice President Nick Melvoin. “Only by making responsible financial decisions can we support our dedicated employees to serve students with the resources they need.”

“Our CSEA members are valued and trusted professionals who are integral to effective school operations,” said Board Member Dr. George J. McKenna III. “We are pleased to have reached a favorable agreement with this employee group.”

“As a teacher, counselor and administrator, I have worked closely with CSEA employees at my schools and continue to do so as a board member. I am pleased that CSEA negotiated the best agreement possible because the members are a critical part of the Los Angeles Unified family and keep the District moving,” said Board Member Scott M. Schmerelson. “At our schools, they are very often the first person with whom our parents, students and community members interact. CSEA, thank you for all you do!”

“Our employees are the strongest asset we have to support our students’ learning, and I am glad to see an agreement with our partners at CSEA,” said Board Member Kelly Gonez. “This deal recognizes their important contribution while reflecting the financial challenges we are facing.”

“With this agreement, Los Angeles Unified is taking the steps to finalize the vital component of labor peace before the start of the school year,” said Board Member Dr. Richard Vladovic. “This agreement is fiscally responsible and also ensures our employees’ need are addressed.”


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