November 13, 2012 LATEST NEWS AND ISSUES | http://bit.ly/SCw1bd
1. Voters stand with us to pass Prop 30 and defeat Prop 32: Prop. 30 does not solve all of our schools’ fiscal problems but it begins to repair the damage done by years of budget cuts. This victory paves the way for a full school year for 2012-13 and the cancellation of furlough days. On Prop 32, voters saw through the deceptive power grab by wealthy businessmen and Wall Street special interests and soundly defeated it. This means that UTLA and our union allies can continue to be players in the political arena. Thanks to everyone who made a difference in this campaign! Enjoy this victory for our students, our profession, and our union!
Next campaign stop—March 5 School Board elections: UTLA will be building on the momentum from our election victories—and the volunteer base we mobilized—to campaign for School Board members on March 5. Three seats will be up for grabs, giving us a golden opportunity to shift the balance of power on the School Board.
2. HOW FURLOUGH DAYS WILL GET CANCELLED/RESTORED
Now that Prop 30 has passed, here’s what happens next: Two days after Prop. 30 passed, LAUSD issued a memo to all schools announcing the District’s intent to cancel all furlough days and restore all lost instructional days. While the furlough days are not formally cancelled yet, we are on the cusp of seeing all 10 days restored, which means UTLA members will get their full annual paychecks for the first time since 2008. See UTLA President Warren Fletcher’s statement at http://www.utla.net/node/3875.
DETAILS WE KNOW RIGHT NOW
The one furlough day deduction that already happened (reflected on the October 5 paycheck) will be reversed, but LAUSD has not announced when. LAUSD is planning to stop the next deduction (on the December 5 paycheck) if there is sufficient time to do so.
Schools will still be closed the week of Thanksgiving. These specific instructional days will be restored by being added onto the end of the school year.
ONGOING AND RECENT ITEMS
1. UTLA JOINS OTHER DISTRICTS IN REJECTING WASTEFUL RACE TO THE TOP
Last week, UTLA joined nearly every other major teachers’ group in the state in declining to sign the grant application for the deeply flawed Race to the Top program.
The RTTT grant would have had enormous cost implications for LAUSD. The grant would have cost more ($43.3 million) than it would have brought in ($40 million) and it would have also committed LAUSD to ongoing costs after the funding ran out which makes it fiscally irresponsible at this time of massive funding cuts. Because of these financial concerns and its overreliance on standardized test scores, no other major school district in the state signed onto the grant.
A successful school system cannot be built on a patchwork of grants and private funding that come and go. Our state and federal leaders must commit to sustained funding for public
education that supports permanent, career educator positions and funds the necessary resources and programs for the full span of a student’s educational career. That is what UTLA will continue to fight for.
After UTLA declined to sign the Race to the Top application, Superintendent John Deasy denounced our decision to the media jeopardizing voter support for Prop. 30, the funding initiative. The plan that Deasy wanted UTLA to sign explicitly called for basing ALL personnel decisions—including “recruitment, hiring, selection and placement, professional development, retention, tenure, promotion, and dismissal”*—on a flawed, testscore driven teacher rating system.
* Quote from page 66 of LAUSD’s grant application. Emphasis added.
2. HEALTH CARE PRESERVED FOR 2013
Please tell all members that changes can be made until November 18 only. At a time when the national trend is to impose higher employee fees or reduce coverage, UTLA members continue to be covered by the strong plan which was secured last year and extends through 2014. For more information contact LAUSD at (213) 241-4262 or visit the Benefits Administration website at http://benefits.lausd.net.
3. CHECK OUT UTLA's RE-DESIGNED WEBSITE AT UTLA.NET
The site is smart-phone enabled so check it out on your cell phone! Please check out our re-designed social media presence as well:
Like us on facebook.com/utlanow
Follow us on twitter.com/utlanow
Subscribe to youtube.com/utlanow
4. ALERT ON REQUESTING SUBSTITUTE TEACHERS
Teachers still have the right to request the substitute teacher of their choice. However, those requests may be cancelled by the Substitute Unit if any pool teachers do not have an assignment that day AND/OR if there are any laid-off permanent status teachers available for work. In order to request substitute teachers on Teacher Training & Professional Development days, and for IEP coverage, the request needs to be approved by the principal or the request will not be honored.
So please confer with your Office Manager when requesting substitute teachers on Teacher Training & Professional Development days, as well as for IEP coverage.
5. SIGN THE PETITION TO MOVE SCHOOL BOARD MEETING TIMES
School Board Meetings are currently conducted during the day, which means that teachers and other taxpayers working a 9-to-5 job are unable to address the board. Please visit utla.net/schoolboard to download petitions urging the School Board to conduct meetings at night.
You can also sign the change.org online petition linked at utla.net/schoolboard as well.