Teachers agree to shorten LAUSD school year
Union members OK the deal that could save the district up to $140 million, save about 2,100 jobs and maintain class sizes. It will become effective if approved by the school board Tuesday.
By Jason Song | LA Times
April 11, 2010 -- Los Angeles teachers union members have ratified a deal to shorten the school calendar this and next year, officials announced Saturday.
Nearly 80% of United Teachers Los Angeles members who cast ballots approved of the deal, which could save the Los Angeles Unified School District up to $140 million, save the jobs of about 2,100 employees and maintain class sizes.
Under the agreement, which was negotiated over several months, teachers would take an unpaid day off the Friday before Memorial Day and schools would close four days earlier for summer vacation. Seven additional instructional days would be cut from the 2010-11 academic year.
The school district is facing a budget deficit of up to $640 million and has been searching for ways to cut costs. Several unions, including those representing cafeteria workers and bus drivers, have agreed to take unpaid days off. Many non-unionized district employees, including upper management, have also begun to take furloughs.
School district and union leaders had previously said they were against shortening the school year because it would hurt instruction and amount to a pay cut for teachers. But officials decided it was the best option to preserve classroom jobs.
"I appreciate the understanding of the district's teachers and the sacrifices they are making in instructional time and salary," Supt. Ramon C. Cortines said in a statement.
Instructors will have to condense their lesson plans to fit the schedule, and many parents will have to make alternative child-care plans.
The agreement will become effective if approved by the school board Tuesday.
"I have no reason to think it won't" be approved, said board member Yolie Flores, who called it the best choice under the circumstances.
The administrators union has tentatively agreed to a similar deal. Members are voting by mail and results should be known this week. Administrators union members have said they expect the deal to be approved.
Even if the deals are approved, school district officials will have to cut millions to avoid going into the red. Teachers union President A.J. Duffy said he would keep pressing for more cuts to the district's bureaucracy.
"We will be vigilant in continuing to force the district to be more efficient and to drive resources to local school sites," Duffy said.
UTLA members approve tentative agreement
UTLA members voted to approve the tentative agreement reached last month with LAUSD, with 79.27% of the members voting yes on the agreement and 20.73% voting no. A total of 27,486 ballots were cast.
Votes were counted at UTLA headquarters and posted on the website today, April 10. The School Board will vote on the agreement on Tuesday, April 13.
The savings generated by the furlough days in the agreement will maintain class sizes and save more than 2,100 jobs for the 2010-11 school year without a permanent pay cut. This agreement is a short-term, two-year agreement. UTLA’s bargaining team successfully fought off LAUSD’s proposal for up to a 12% permanent salary cut.
UTLA and our members must continue to work for permanent, long-term solutions to education funding. If the state funding situation improves, UTLA will have the option of reopening on all economic issues.
UTLA will send a fax to schools on Monday with information on how RIFs will be rescinded and how the agreement affects the matrix process.
MAY 5 PAYCHECK AFFECTED
Even though furlough days have not been taken yet, most employees will have from one to three days’ pay (depending on your school calendar and track) deducted from the May 5 paycheck. This is being done so that the impact of the furlough days is spread over multiple paychecks, instead of hitting all on one. See the “furlough day implementation” chart on utla.net for details for your calendar/track.