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LAUSD board takes walkout fight to court

May 6, 2009 9:13:18 AM PDT
The Los Angeles School District board is trying to stop a massive teacher walkout planned for later this month, taking the fight to court.The board voted unanimously on Tuesday to try to stop the one-day work stoppage.

LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines said it was both irresponsible and illegal for the teachers to engage in the walkout, set for May 15. The walkout will coincide and possibly disrupt AP testing, as well as California standardized testing, but the union said it feels it has no other choice.

The board filed an unfair labor practice charge against the teachers union, and filed for a petition to block the walkout.

United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) said the walkout was in protest of planned teacher layoffs and increased class sizes, which the board approved last month in hopes of resolving a nearly $600 million budget deficit.

Cortines said the stimulus money came in on Tuesday, and Title 1 is $44 million less than what they were counting on, and there's $16 million less for special education. Cortines said they can't avoid making cuts.

UTLA, however, said LAUSD has sufficient funds to keep teachers on board and keep class sizes as is.

The district said it has tried to compromise with the union, and Cortines said he does not know why the union is choosing to go ahead with the walkout.

"I'm somewhat frustrated and confused that they would take off a day and have a strike, when I've suggested that they could have a furlough day during a nonschool time, and we could save money," Cortines said.

"They will not get paid if they go through with this, and I will look at taking whatever action that deems appropriate."

Eyewitness News has not been able to get comment from UTLA on the new budget numbers since the stimulus money was received.

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