LAUSD superintendent hopeful on reaching school reopening deal with teachers

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner says the district expects to reach an agreement on reopening with the teachers union this week.

Beutner says the district has reached an agreement with other education and worker unions and is hoping to get a deal reached soon with United Teachers Los Angeles.

The union has resisted the idea of reopening schools for in-person instruction until all teachers are vaccinated.

UTLA's membership last week voted to reject what it called an "unsafe" return to the classroom. The union is demanding L.A. County move out of the state's purple tier, returning staff must be vaccinated or have access to vaccines and coronavirus safety measures must be in place on campus.

But pressure is growing throughout the state for districts to reopen even before those goals are fully reached.

California lawmakers recently passed a bill, signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, that encourages school districts to reopen for in-person instruction by the end of March, with $2 billion set aside for districts that hit that goal. The state has also set aside 25,000 doses of vaccine for LAUSD staff.

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California's public schools can tap into $6.6 billion of new state spending to return students to classrooms under a bill Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law Friday that has attracted bipartisan support and scorn in equal measure.

Beutner has previously set April 9 as a target date for starting to reopen preschool and elementary schools.

He says they will continue to move forward on plans to reopen schools next month.

The district is also setting up an operation team and safety hotline to help answer any questions school staff and families might have over the next few weeks.
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