Ref Rodriguez is an anomaly not only for becoming the first candidate backed by the state charter schools to win a seat on the LA Unified board. He’s an anomaly for winning at a time of mayoral disengagement with public education.
That’s the view of Ben Austin, political director for Students Matter, the Vergara people, and founder of Parent Revolution, the trigger law people.
“The politics of education reform in Los Angeles the past two decades largely rises and falls with the politics of the sitting mayor,” he said. “When you have a reformer in a mayor like Richard Riordan and Antonio Villaraigosa, you have a stronger reform movement. When the mayor is disengaged in education, like Jim Hahn and Eric Garcetti, the movement tends to go into hibernation.”
And that’s why, he said, “the stakes are high” for Rodriguez, founder of a charter school and the antithesis of the incumbent he defeated, Bennett Kayser, UTLA’s closest ally on the board, who generally voted against charters for spooling money out of traditional public schools.
“If Ref hadn’t pulled this out, the reform movement would have gone back into political hibernation for the rest of Garcetti’s term,” Austin said. “He showed that it’s possible to win against UTLA without a reform mayor.”
LAUSD reaches deal with clerical employees
LA Unified has reached a three-year contract deal with the union that represents its clerical and office workers.
The deal with the California School Employees Association Local Chapter 500, covering 3,900 employees, includes a 2 percent salary increase in 2014-15, a 2 percent increase in 2015-16, with a living wage adjustment to $13 an hour for those who make less than $13 an hour; and a 2.5 percent in 2016-17, with a living wage adjustment to $15 an hour for those who make less than $15 an hour, according to a district press release.
“I want to thank CSEA for their professionalism and dedication to our students. This agreement continues to honor our joint commitment to serve the students in our District while at the same time respecting the rights of our employees,” Vivian Ekchian, LA Unified’s chief labor negotiator, said in a statement
The deal requires ratification by union members and the school board.
AALA to start “me too” negotiations
Speaking of union negations. . .
just because both the school board and UTLA have ratified their three-year contract agreement that includes a 10.4 percent salary raise, that doesn’t mean negotiations connected to the issue are over.
The district has several “me too” agreements with other unions that require the district to improve their contracts. The district reached a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Associated Administrators of Los Angeles (AALA) last year that includes a “me too” clause.
In its weekly newsletter, AALA told its members that negotiations with the district would begin next week and that it expects “that AALA will receive comparable treatment, not necessarily, the same treatment as another group of employees. Therefore, AALA members will not automatically be granted what was negotiated with UTLA. We must return to the bargaining table and work out an agreement that is comparable. We anticipate that our negotiations will be complete by the end of the school year.”