Thousands of Los Angeles Unified School District teachers and their supporters will stage a march through downtown Saturday in a show of strength as their union moves closer to calling the district’s first teachers’ strike since 1989.
The March for Public Education is billed by the United Teachers Los Angeles union as a demand that the district “give our students a chance and stop starving our schools.”
The march will begin with a rally at Grand Park across from Los Angeles City Hall, then move south on Spring Street, west on First Street, south on Broadway, west on Third Street, north on Flower Street, east on First Street then south on Grand Avenue, ending at the Broad Museum — namesake of noted charter-school supporter Eli Broad.
UTLA is at loggerheads with LAUSD in contract talks, which have already been through state mediation and are now in a fact-finding stage. When the fact-finding report is released, the union may call a strike, which has already been authorized by UTLA members.
In October, the union rejected the latest contract offer from the district, which included a 3 percent pay raise retroactive to 2017-18, plus a guaranteed 3 percent raise for 2018-19. The offer also included language governing class sizes, but the union blasted that language as actually clearing a path for increasing class size.
Union officials also said the offer fails to address demands such as hiring of more nurses, counselors and librarians; reductions in standardized testing; and accountability measures for charter schools. The union has also been asking for a 6.5 percent pay increase retroactive to July 1, 2016.
District officials said previously the union’s contract proposal would increase the district’s $500 million deficit in the current school year by another $813 million. The union, however, has criticized the district and Superintendent Austin Beutner, saying LAUSD has a “record breaking” reserve fund of roughly $1.8 billion that should be tapped to make improvements in school staffing.
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