Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The ‘09-‘10 Contract: UTLA SAYS “NO WAY”

Teachers Say LAUSD's "Terror Tactics" Won't Work - Superintendent: "This is real. I just think that we have to make payroll."


- Getty Images

Updated 1:40 PM PST, Mon, Nov 16, 2009 - The hits just keep on coming for Los Angeles teachers.

On Monday, Los Angeles Unified Schools Superintendent Ramon Cortines said the school district can expect even more cuts next year.

"We've already received a notice from the governor's office that there's probably going to be another hit to the budget after the first of the year. That will be in addition to this. This is real. I just think that we have to make payroll. I don't think any of us want the district to be taken over, to go into receivership," Cortines said.

Cortines says every school union must come to the table by the second week in December and be willing to take four furlough days and a 12 percent salary reduction.

The LAUSD is facing a $480 million budget deficit. Each furlough day would save $15 million and each percentage point of reduction would save $40 million, according to the district.

United Teachers Los Angeles president A.J. Duffy said the district's "terror tactics" won't work.

"We are demanding that the district open up their books to transparency, not just by UTLA, but by the community. It's about time everybody knows what LAUSD is doing. We want to see, for instance, what programs they have they want to bring on board, at what cost. We want to see the expensive and useless mini-districts close down," Duffy said.

Cortines has called the current situation "the worst budget crisis in years."

Teachers, LAUSD at odds over cutbacks

By Connie Llanos, Staff Writer | LA Daily News

Updated: 11/16/2009 08:10:14 PM PST - As Los Angeles Unified officials scrambled to avert up to 8,500 layoffs, leaders of the teachers' union demanded Monday that the district slash bureaucracy and disclose spending before imposing furloughs and deep pay cuts.

Superintendent Ramon Cortines announced last week that layoffs are the only way to close a looming $500 million budget deficit unless employees take a four-day furlough this year and a 12 percent pay cut next year.

A.J. Duffy, president of United Teachers Los Angeles, on Monday rejected Cortines' ultimatum, but said the union was "willing to talk" about options.

"First I want the (district's) books open completely and I want to know what they are spending their money on," he said.

"I also want to see those expensive and useless mini-districts shut down," Duffy added, referring to the eight offices that oversee the day-to-day operation of local schools in the 700-square-mile district.

UTLA and the district's seven other employee unions will have to agree to concessions before Dec. 8, when the district must submit a balance three-year budget to the Los Angeles County Office of Education.

Cortines said he plans to meet with all employee unions this week to discuss what he previously described as "the worst budget crisis in years."

"I suppose I could have told my employees that we'll continue to do things as usual and go belly up, Cortines said in an interview.

"But you tell me what happens to the union when this district goes into receivership," he added, referring to the potential for the district to be taken over by a court-appointed trustee if it becomes insolvent.

CLARIFICATION/smf: When a school district becomes insolvent it is taken over by the L.A. County Office of Education; LACOE and the State Dept of Education appoint a trustee/administrator. See the Fiscal Crisis Management Assistance Team website for details. In such an instance – as has happened in Oakland and Compton -

  • the state loans the district needed funds,
  • the superintendent and the board of education are removed from day-to-day decision making and
  • decisions by the trustee take precedence over existing policy, including collective bargaining agreements.

Cortines also said the district will not be offering early retirement incentives as it did to help ease last year's budget crunch, nor will it have access to federal stimulus money to help avert layoffs.

If the district and its unions cannot agree on concessions, LAUSD will notify an estimated 14,000 teachers - or 20 percent of the workforce - that they might be laid off.

There are typically more notices than layoffs because of uncertainty over which employees will actually be subject to layoff.

Cortines said while he plans to cut positions at the district's central and local district offices, he also said that he would not agree to Duffy's demand to eliminate the regional offices.

"Doesn't UTLA have regional offices?" Cortines said. "Who is going to manage the district if those people are gone."

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