Friday, August 10, 2012


By Tami Abdollah, Pass / Fail | 89.3 KPCC

Image of an empty classroom

Cayoup/Flickr (Creative Commons-licensed)

1o Aug  2112  1:49 PM  ::  The California 2nd District Court of Appeal has invalidated LAUSD's 'last hired, first fired' exemption at 45 schools.

A major class-action settlement that gives LAUSD teachers layoff protection at several dozen schools in high-poverty areas, has been invalidated by the California 2nd District Court of Appeal.

The 2 to 1 decision, with Associate Justice Kathryn Doi Todd dissenting and Associate Justice Judith Ashmann-Gerst and Associate Justice Victoria M. Chavez concurring, focuses on the technical aspects of Reed vs. United Teachers Los Angeles. The justices agreed that the teacher's union has a right to a trial where the merits of their case can be examined more fully.

Reed vs. California was filed in February 2010 and essentially argued that low-performing schools in high-poverty areas -- already difficult to staff -- were so unfairly impacted by teacher layoffs that it compromised the constitutional rights of students to be educated.

Because many of the teachers in lower-income schools are junior teachers, they're often the first to be targeted in layoffs, especially during the recent tough budget years.

A settlement reached in October 2010 granted 45 L.A. Unified "Reed" schools' teachers layoff protections. But that was challenged by the United Teachers Los Angeles, which argued that layoffs should be according to seniority per state law. The union, which was a party in the litigation but not in the settlement, also argued that it had not had the opportunity to sufficiently argue its case in the settlement approval hearing.

A spokesperson for L.A. Unified did not immediately respond to a request for comment. UTLA spokeswoman Kim Turner said the union would be issuing a statement shortly.

ACLU of Southern California, Public Counsel and the law firm Morrison & Foerster, represented the school children in the case and plan to seek review by the California Supreme Court, said David Sapp, a staff attorney for the ACLU of Southern California.

The settlement will remain in place until the state Supreme Court takes action on the request. If they deny the request, the Appeal Court decision will become final and the case will go to trial. If the state Supreme Court decides to hear the case, then it will remain in effect until the court issues its opinion.

"The majority opinion turns entirely on procedural issues and did not address the trial court’s findings that the constitutional rights of LAUSD’s students would be violated without judicial intervention," Sapp said

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