UTLA, LAUSD to hold more negotiations today

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Determined to stave off the first strike by LAUSD teachers in 30 years, Los Angeles Unified School District officials said they will unveil a new proposal today for the teachers union to consider — an offer that includes additional funding to reduce class sizes and provide more support for teachers and that was cobbled together after California Gov. Gavin Newsom released a proposed 2019-2020 budget increasing public education spending.

If no 11th-hour agreement is reached, United Teachers Los Angeles plans to launch its long-threatened strike Monday. Reducing class sizes has been one of its demands, although disagreements about a pay raise, charter schools, the staffing level of nurses, counselors and librarians, and other issues have also been areas of conflict in more than two years of contract negotiations.

The budget Newsom released Thursday would spend a record $80.7 billion on kindergarten through 12th grade schools and community colleges, up from the roughly $78 billion included in the previous spending plan.

“Yesterday, we spoke with state leaders in Sacramento about our shared commitment to public education, and the budget announced today by the governor is a strong statement of those values,” LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner said Thursday. “All of the legislative leaders we met with yesterday expressed their commitment to public education.

“We expect the final budget adopted in June will reflect these values and provide additional funding for Los Angeles Unified. Our commitment to our students, families and educators is to invest this additional money in reducing class size and supporting classroom educators. We hope UTLA will work with us to resolve the remaining contract issues so we can keep kids safe and learning in school.”

Newsom’s beefed-up education budget comes amid a flurry of activity this week surrounding UTLA’s strike threat.

“We go in with an open mind every day,” UTLA Alex Caputo-Pearl said when asked if he was hopeful about the pending offer. He added that Beutner’s behavior “does not inspire great confidence, but we will go in with an open mind with hopes that we will see a proposal.”

Newsom told ABC7 that “if I’m asked to intervene I’ll do so.”

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