News briefs

LA teachers trade 12 furlough days for no layoffs

What started in small school districts nationwide just spread to the nation’s second largest as the Los Angeles schools move to a shorter school year to cut costs. The teachers’ union has tentatively agreed to furloughing employees for five days this school year and seven next year in an effort to save up to 2,100 jobs and maintain elementary and middle school class sizes.

The furloughs were approved by members of United Teachers Los Angeles by a four-to-one margin on April 10, saving the Los Angeles Unified School District $140 million.

All Los Angeles Unified schools would be closed the Friday before Memorial Day weekend, and each school would also cut four days at the end of this school year.

The district has a $640 million budget deficit. Under a new state law aimed at easing school districts’ budget deficits, districts still will receive full funding for a year even if they eliminate some instructional days.

The district originally demanded a permanent pay reduction from educators.

Under the new agreement, educators would receive two extra paid, student-free professional development days next year. Plans to increase class size in grades K-8 will be shelved. Because special education caseloads will increase by two students on average, no special education teachers will be furloughed. Teacher health and pension benefits will increase as promised in the present contract.

The agreement allows 1,800 teachers and 300 librarians, nurses and counselors to keep their jobs.

While the school board already voted to send preliminary layoff notices to about 5,100 employees, United Teachers Los Angeles President A.J. Duffy said he believed many of his members could return to the classroom through other methods and expects just several hundred to lose jobs.

Los Angeles Times, March 28 and April 11
UTLA Tentative Agreement Q&A, April 1

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