LAUSD teachers strike seems likely after negotiations fall through again

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- United Teachers of Los Angeles met with Los Angeles Unified School District officials Monday in another effort to reach a new contract deal, but negotiations fell through again.

The union and district representatives met for more than seven hours at LAUSD headquarters in downtown Los Angeles.

During a press conference, UTLA president Alex Caputo-Pearl said the deals offered by LAUSD remained "unacceptable."

"LAUSD put a proposal across the table that is inadequate for a number of reasons," he said.

RELATED: Guide for LAUSD parents should a strike happen

He said the proposal only offered a salary increase for two years that is contingent on cutting health care for future employees. Another reason the negotiations fell through is that class sizes would be increased.

Caputo-Pearl went on to discuss that LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner wants to privatize the district with charter schools.

He said that on Tuesday, the union will be in court to fight for its right to strike and then on Wednesday morning, they will be back to negotiating one last time with LAUSD reps.

"We were surprised today that the district came in with so little to offer, so unless something changes pretty significantly, there will be a strike in the city of L.A.," he said.

The union will be in court Tuesday because LAUSD said it was not given enough time about plans to strike. UTLA informed the district of its strike date on Dec. 19, but if the court rules in favor of LAUSD, the strike may be delayed until next week.

Beutner responded to the failed negotiations with his own press conference inside the district headquarters. During the press conference, Beutner broke down what was offered to teachers during Monday's hourslong negotiation.

He said about $500 million of district reserves were set aside for the teachers union and about $700 million to reduce class sizes and add more counselors, nurses and librarians.

"So the notion that we are hoarding reserves, the notion that more money exists somewhere else at which to do more to reduce class size at this time is not accurate. We are spending all we have in service of our students," he said.

He added that LAUSD has asked the union to bring in an independent auditor to look over the district's budget and challenge the numbers they've provided.
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