LA strike fallout: LAUSD unanimously approves ‘unsustainable’ union contract, new charter school ban

Feb 3, 2019 by

The recent LA teachers strike is the gift that keeps on giving for the United Teachers Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles Board of Education approved a new contract with the UTLA to uphold a deal that ended a six-day strike earlier this month, and taxpayers are now getting a better picture of what it will cost them.

Despite a report from the L.A. County Office of Education warning that the new deal is “not sustainable on an ongoing basis” and will require officials with the Los Angeles Unified School District to revise the district’s three-year budget plan to comply with state law, board members approved the pact unanimously approved the UTLA contract, the Los Angeles Times reports.

“Based on the district’s own financial analysis, it is unable to meet reserve requirements in 2020-21, indicating the agreement is not sustainable,” Debra Duardo, superintendent of the Office of Education, said in a statement.

County officials noted that part of the deal is predicated on future education funding that hasn’t been approved by the legislature, and warned that LAUSD officials could lose financial oversight if they don’t get the district’s finances in order soon.

The LAUSD board also followed through on another promise to the union in negotiations: to block the expansion of charter schools in Los Angeles that compete with traditional public schools for students. Teachers unions have fought for decades to limit alternative school options and maintain a monopoly on education in America, and LAUSD’s moratorium on new charter schools approved on Tuesday marks a significant victory for Big Labor amid growing public support for school choice.

The losers: Parents and students who want better educational options.

Thousands of charter school supporters and other protestors descended on LAUSD headquarters for Tuesday’s meeting to vigorously oppose the moratorium. LAUSD currently has the most charter schools in any school system in the country with 225 charter schools, which serve about 112,000 students, the Times reports.

“I felt that it was important to be here today because students and families should have the choice of where to go to school,” said Lexi Hopp, 18, a senior at Granada Hills Charter High School. “Not every school is perfect. So every school, every family, needs to have their choice of where to send their student, to have the best fit possible for them.”

LA School Report explains that the LAUSD school board does not have the authority to change charter school laws, but the 5-1 school board vote “directs the district to ask state leaders to study potential changes to the law and to impose a temporary moratorium on new charter schools in the district while the eight- to 10-month study is conducted.”

While some board members feigned support for school choice proponents at the rally before the board meeting, all but one voted for the measure: Nick Melvoin.

Melvoin said at the rally, which drew a reported 3,500 school choice supporters, that he supports charters because he believes all students deserve a quality education. The political debate about charters siphoning funds from public schools is a “consistent frustration,” he said.

“We’re blaming others for our financial problems without getting our house in order,” he said to a roaring applause. “I’d like to see a moratorium on low-performing schools.”

Source: LA strike fallout: LAUSD unanimously approves ‘unsustainable’ union contract, new charter school ban |

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