Thousands of teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District are back out on the picket lines on the second day of the first teachers strike against the Los Angeles School District in 30 years.
At a press conference Tuesday morning, Los Angeles School Superintendent Austin Beutner said that only one-third of the district's students showed up to school on Monday - the first day of the teachers' strike. That cost the district around $25 million in state funding, which is based on student attendance. Since the district isn't paying the striking teachers, that saved around $10 million, making it a total one-day loss of $15 million for L.A. schools.
All 1,240 elementary, middle and high schools were open on Monday, thanks to substitute teachers and staffers who have a teaching credential. Bus service is also operating normally in the district.
Beutner urged the teachers' union and its 31,000 members to join with the district to ask Sacramento for more funding for schools at a press conference Tuesday morning.
"Let’s build on the renewed attention on public education in our community,” Beutner said. "Let’s bottle it. Let’s put it on our buses and let’s go to Sacramento."
Teachers are asking the district for increased pay, smaller class sizes, and the hiring of more support staff, such as nurses, counselors, and librarians.
"Here we are in a fight for the soul of public education," UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl said. "The question is: do we starve our public neighborhood schools so that they (become) privatized, or do we re-invest in our public neighborhood schools for our students and for a thriving city?"
Negotiations between the LAUSD and United Teachers Los Angeles broke down on Friday after neither side could resolve their differences over the proposed contracts. The LAUSD offered teachers a 6 percent raise spread over the first two-years of a three-year contract, while UTLA has asked for a 6.5 percent raise that would take effect all at once and a year sooner than the LAUSD has proposed.
The union says the district's proposed salary hike for teachers would be contingent on benefit cuts for any future union members.
The LAUSD is the second-largest school district in the nation, with more than 694,000 students at 1,322 schools.
"It’s clearly having a big impact," Beutner said of the strike. "We need our educators back in our classrooms inspiring students."
Photo: Andrew Mollenbeck KFI