WASHINGTON—Today, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten applauded the leaders and members of United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) and the board of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) on reaching an agreement that helps close the school system's budget gap while preventing thousands of layoffs.
"This agreement demonstrates how to address budget challenges without making the kinds of cuts that hurt kids, silence the voices of teachers and other school staff, and undermine our public schools. By working together and recognizing their shared responsibility to all Los Angeles public school students, UTLA and the district were able to keep more than 4,000 teachers in classrooms, preserve early childhood education and prevent class-size increases. UTLA President Warren Fletcher and LAUSD Superintendant John Deasy are to be commended on the hard work and spirit of cooperation each put into reaching this agreement.
"UTLA members agreed to forgo up to 10 days of pay to ensure that as many of their colleagues as possible stayed in the classroom and off the unemployment line. This represents a real commitment to their students and a desire to be active participants in building strong public schools that help them thrive. The members of UTLA want the best for their students, and they are committed to helping ensure that the economic pain happening outside the classroom doesn't undercut the high-quality education children receive inside the classroom."
Key points of the Los Angeles agreement include:
- Jobs for more than 4,000 teachers and health and human services professionals will be saved.
- Restoration of all the vital programs under threat of elimination—arts education, academic literacy, Options program, the School Readiness Language Development Program, adult education and early childhood education.
- Class sizes will be kept at 2011-12 levels.
- Elementary arts educators, nurses, librarians and secondary counselors will be restored to current levels, giving students access to the crucial services they need for educational development.
- Employees will take from zero to 10 furlough days next year, depending on the outcome of the governor's education funding initiative on the November ballot. Passage of the governor's initiative would unlock funds to eliminate or reduce furlough days.