Thursday, May 13, 2010

UTLA: JUDGE RULES AGAINST LAUSD IN ACLU LAWSUIT - LAUSD caused court case by not following its own policy to balance staffs.


May 12, 2010-- In a lawsuit brought by the ACLU on behalf of students at Liechty, Markham, and Gompers middle schools, Superior Court judge William Highberger today ordered LAUSD to rescind layoffs of teachers at these schools on the basis that the students would be denied their right to a basic education if the layoffs were to go through. These three schools have a large number of new teachers and could lose a high percentage of their staff through layoffs.

Under the judge’s order, the District is restrained from implementing layoffs at these three schools and is instead ordered to “skip” those teachers based on Education Code section 44955 (d) (2). That section allows school districts

“to deviate from terminating a certificated employee in order of seniority for . . . purposes of maintaining or achieving compliance with constitutional requirements related to equal protection of the laws.”

LAUSD could have prevented the court case: LAUSD could have prevented the situation at these three schools by enforcing its own policy (based on the Rodriguez Consent Decree) to create a balance of new and veteran teachers at schools. It’s unthinkable that when LAUSD had the chance to balance staff at these three schools in the fall, they did not utilize permanent pool teachers to ensure they had equitable staffing. UTLA will continue to advocate that LAUSD follow its own policy to prevent the situation from happening again.

UTLA contract agreement helps stabilize schools: UTLA members recognize the severe impact on student learning when schools lose a large percentage of teachers and health and human services professionals, which is one reason why they voted to accept furlough days (a pay cut) to save more than 2,000 positions. Our members continue to sacrifice for our students because we care about them and their education. UTLA has always advocated for equity for students. We do not, however, support changes to the seniority system. There is no data that shows that eliminating seniority has a positive effect on student outcomes. Seniority-based layoffs continue to be the fairest, most predictable, least discriminatory way to deal with a difficult situation.

UTLA is awaiting a written copy of the court order. UTLA officers will be meeting with our legal counsel to determine our next steps.

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