LAUSD teachers strike still set for Thursday following court meeting

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Los Angeles Unified School District officials and representatives from United Teachers Los Angeles were in court Tuesday over the union's right to a strike.

LAUSD took the union to court, saying it did not provide the district with enough notice for a possible strike. Union reps said they told the district of the strike date on Dec. 19.

Some 30,000 teachers are slated to strike Thursday morning, affecting nearly half a million students over a dispute that boils down to class sizes and pay raises.

"The money is there it just needs to be allocated to the right resources," parent Kweisi Gharreau said.

RELATED: Guide for LAUSD parents should a strike happen

Parents showed up at the L.A. Unified school board meeting, with most showing support for the teachers union.

"Teachers are being villainized in the media and through the rumor-mill and I think that's a tragedy," parent Roslyn Chaplin said.

Like many LAUSD families, Brian Schwartz spent the week debating on whether to take his daughters to school or not if there is a strike.

"I want them to learn this stuff. They're learning math, they're learning English, they're learning all these basic, fundamental skills. And to think they might not learn some of it or miss some of it because there's a strike is kind of disappointing," he said.

He was in junior high in 1989 the last time UTLA went on strike. It lasted nine days. He remembers school being disorganized and doesn't think his girls will learn much if they go to school on Thursday, but he's going to send them.

"How do I best support the teachers, right? Sending them to school? Not sending them to school? What's the right thing to do? It's hard to find out what the right thing to do is. It will show the district that they need the teachers. I think that having all the kids there will overwhelm them and hopefully force them back to the bargaining table to give the teachers what they need," he said.

The union has created its own villain as well - by painting school Superintendent Austin Beutner as a deep-pocket business executive who is hoarding nearly $2 billion in surplus funds. But Beutner said most of that money is already slotted to go to teachers if they agree to the contract.

"If they wish to bring in an independent auditor - challenge these numbers, find any other money, find anything in the closet or in the cupboard - and we will certainly invest it in our students," he said.

Beutner said the union Monday rejected the proposal that would have added nearly 1,000 new teachers, nurses and other staff.

Union representatives said that the deal offered affected future employees' health plans as well as increased class sizes, among other discrepancies.

Both sides are still expected to sit down Wednesday morning in one last negotiation before a possible strike. It would be first LAUSD teachers strike in 30 years.

By the end of the day, no ruling in court was made on whether teachers could go on strike on Thursday or not.
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