LA teachers back in class Wednesday as union approves LAUSD deal

ByMarc Cota-Robles, Josh Haskell, and staff KABC logo
Wednesday, January 23, 2019
LA teachers back in class Wednesday as union approves LAUSD deal
The Los Angeles Unified School District and the teachers union reached an agreement to end the teachers strike, officials announced Tuesday.

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The Los Angeles Unified School District and the teachers union reached an agreement to end the teachers strike, officials announced Tuesday.

The teachers union, United Teachers Los Angeles, announced Tuesday night that members approved the deal and will be returning to classrooms Wednesday.

"It's a historic day today in Los Angeles," said Alex Caputo-Pearl, president of UTLA. "We have preliminary numbers from the vote on our agreement. And they show that a vast supermajority are voting yes for the agreement that we made with LAUSD. Therefore, ending the strike and heading back to schools tomorrow."

He said early results show about 80-83 percent of members voting in favor of the deal. Votes were still being counted and final results would be announced Wednesday.

Tuesday marked the sixth school day of the strike, which is the first work stoppage by LAUSD teachers in 30 years.

The agreement was first announced Tuesday morning at a joint press conference held by Garcetti, LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner and Caputo-Pearl.

"The strike that nobody wanted is now behind us," Beutner said.

Thousands of Los Angeles Unified School District teachers rallied outside Los Angeles City Hall on Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019, after a tentative agreement to end their weeklong strike was announced.

Garcetti said the then tentative agreement includes lower class sizes, community-based schools, improved support staff and a salary increase for teachers. Beutner said the agreement included a 6-percent salary increase for teachers and a "meaningful class-size reduction."

LAUSD later in the day released a statement detailing the agreement:

  • 6 percent salary increase: 3 percent in 2017-18, 3 percent in 2018-19.
  • Increase in nurse staffing: 150 in 2019-20, then 150 in 2020-21 and 316 in 2021-22.
  • Increase in librarians in secondary schools: 39 in 2019-20 and 39 in 2020-21.
  • Increase in counselors: 17 in 2019-20 and 60 in 2021-22.
  • Reduce class size by four students: In grades 4-12, reduction by one in 2019-20, then one in 2020-21 and two in 2021-22.
  • District increased spending on staffing and class-size reduction: $175 million in 2019-21 and $228 million in 2021-22.

Other details highlighted by UTLA include the LAUSD board voting on a resolution asking the state for a cap on charter schools; and the district designating 20 "community schools" by 2019 and another 10 by June 30, 2020. The schools will have additional funding and union positions.

The teachers union had been fighting for higher wages and a commitment to lower class sizes.

LAUSD and UTLA officials were involved in bargaining discussions late into the evening Monday.

Following the joint announcement by Garcetti, Beutner and Caputo-Pearl, thousands of teachers - clad in their signature red attire - rallied outside Los Angeles City Hall.

"We're very pleased right now because that's what we wanted - we wanted to go back to our classrooms," teacher Janet Curtade said. "We miss our students. We know that it's been hard for them, for their parents, but for us also."

Another teacher, Martha Garibay, said she and her colleagues "absolutely have faith in our union, that they're doing the right thing for our students."

"We're all here together," she added, "and we're fighting for our students. We're not fighting for ourselves - we're fighting for our students and what our students and public education deserve."

UTLA said earlier that even if a tentative agreement is reached, it cannot be immediately enacted until a vote was taken across the entire membership.

Tuesday morning, hundreds of firefighters marched in solidarity with striking teachers in downtown Los Angeles. The firefighters marched alongside the UTLA's music teachers Red for Ed Marching Band. The large crowd was led by a vintage red fire engine.

The large crowd began its march from Bonaventure Hotel in downtown Los Angeles and made its way toward Miguel Contreras High School.

1 of 11
In this Dec. 15, 2018, photo, United Teachers Los Angeles, UTLA president, Alex Caputo-Pearl, left, joins teachers at a rally next in downtown Los Angeles.
AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes