LAUSD teachers strike: Teachers union delays potential strike date to Jan. 14

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Thursday, January 10, 2019
LA teachers union postpones potential strike to Jan. 14
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The teachers union announced Wednesday that the potential start date for a teachers strike has been pushed to Jan. 14.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The United Teachers Los Angeles union announced Wednesday that the start date for a potential teachers strike has been postponed to Jan. 14.

The initial date for the possible strike was supposed to be Thursday, Jan. 10. UTLA said the reason for pushing the date to next Monday is to provide "clarity and to allow members, parents and our communities to plan."

There are also some legal issues to be resolved, as the district has gone to court to claim the union did not provide enough advance notice for them to go on strike now. The union says it gave adequate notice on Dec. 19.

The two sides were in court - and at the bargaining table - on Wednesday, but the legal issue and the overall contract talks remain unresolved. A judge will consider the legal challenge on Thursday.

"Unlike (Superintendent Austin) Beutner and his administration, we do not want to bring confusion and chaos into an already fluid situation," UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl said in a statement released to media. "Although we believe we would ultimately prevail in court, for our members, our students, parents, and the community, absent an agreement we will plan to strike on Monday."

The two sides met for additional contract talks on Wednesday, but no agreement was reached.

"If we don't see a serious proposal on Monday, Jan. 14, then we will strike," Caputo-Pearl said at an evening press conference in front of LAUSD headquarters.

WATCH: UTLA reps discuss new start date of potential teachers strike

MORE: Guide for LAUSD parents should a strike happen

Some 30,000 teachers are set to strike if an agreement can't be reached.

The strike would affect nearly half a million students over a dispute that boils down to class sizes and pay raises.

The LAUSD Board of Education says it is committed to reaching a fair agreement, saying that UTLA has rejected its latest offer to increase salaries and reduce class sizes.

"That offer provides for a 6 percent raise and 1,000 additional educators in schools, which will allow us to reduce class size," Beutner said.

The teachers union rejected that offer Monday, calling it unacceptable. The union claims Superintendent Austin Beutner is hoarding nearly $2 billion in surplus funds.

If a strike does happen, the LAUSD Board of Education says it has already hired 400 substitute teachers.

Also, the board voted on Tuesday to make changes to its volunteer policy in anticipation of extra help needed in the event of a strike. The board will ease restrictions on background checks and fingerprinting for school volunteers, which would allow parents and others to step in more quickly. Those volunteers will not need to pass a full federal background check but will still be checked against a national database of sex offenders.

The less-restrictive policy would kick in only when the superintendent declares an emergency. A volunteer would then simply fill out a form and the district would check a database to make sure the person was not a registered sex offender.

City News Service contributed to this report.