2 percent bonus arrives for school principals, plus others

LAUSD principals and teachers get two percent bonusMore than 13,000 LA Unified employees of labor groups that struck new contract deals with the district are receiving a 2 percent lump sum payment this week.

Among those that found the extra bump in their bank accounts are members of the Associated Administrators of Los Angeles (AALA), which includes school principals, assistant principals, administrators as well as maintenance, operations and food services managers.

According the district, school administrators can expect a check ranging from $1,100 to $2,700 depending on their pay.

“Both AALA bargaining units negotiated the 2 percent bonus and are pleased to have received it,” union president Judy Perez told LA School Report. “While 2 percent is not ideal, we appreciate the fact that we did reach an agreement with the district on compensation for the next three years.”

The California School Employees Association and Teamsters Local Union 572 reached the same salary agreement with the district. All four groups also received a 2 percent raise in August, plus a 4.5 percent increase over the next two years.

In all, LA Unified officials report the cost of the bonuses is $12.4 million.

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Teachers union changes tactics, urges board to ‘evaluate’ Deasy*

UTLA wants to fire deasy

Superintendent John Deasy

*Correction
In an earlier version of this post we mistakenly reported that UTLA is “urging the school board to fire” superintendent John Deasy. This is incorrect. We try our hardest to write with accuracy, but on this one, we missed the mark – and we regret the error. What follows is UTLA’s letter to us (in part) and our corrected post:


 

Our September 15th news release does not state that UTLA is urging the school board to fire John Deasy. …You may speculate on what you think the statement means, but to report that as fact coming from UTLA is simply wrong. … We also did not state we want the school board to downgrade Deasy’s performance to “unsatisfactory.” We stated that the board has the opportunity to evaluate Deasy “ to determine if his work is satisfactory.” As a long-time journalist I believe you realize that both the headline and the story posted by LA School Report on September 16th are misleading.
UTLA requests an immediate retraction so that your readers and the LAUSD school community will be informed of UTLA’s actual position on this issue.
Sincerely ,
Suzanne Spurgeon,  Director of Communications, UTLA


 

The Los Angeles teachers union has given up one of its oldest and loudest refrains, calling on LA Unified chief John Deasy to resign. Instead, UTLA appears to be changing tactics; it is urging the school board to ‘evaluate’ the superintendent.

In a press statement, UTLA says it wants the board “to evaluate the Superintendent to determine if his work is ‘satisfactory’… and hold Deasy accountable” at his annual review to take place behind closed doors on October 21. A less than satisfactory review would effectively spell the end to the superintendent’s contract which – at his own insistence – stipulates he meet performance targets set by the board.

“Deasy must be held accountable for the iPad fiasco and MiSiS crisis……[he] holds teachers accountable for their classroom programs, yet he cries foul when serious questions are raised by his supervisors,” UTLA said in a statement yesterday.

But amidst a fast-moving saga that features a fractured seven-member school board and a superintendent increasingly under fire, the landscape without Deasy may not be a silver bullet for the union.

Not only could firing the superintendent become a campaign issue for the four school board members up for election next March, but it could have an impact on negotiations between the union and the district, currently at the bargaining table over a contract on behalf of 31,000 employees.

“It’s likely to have a disruptive effect on the negotiations,” cautions Chris Tilly, Director of UCLA’s Institute for Research and Labor Employment.

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Reps for LAUSD, teachers union talk about computers, not salaries

UTLA contract talks computersAnother bargaining session came and went today and still no contract agreement between LA Unified and the teachers union, UTLA.

The district said in a press release, “union leaders weren’t ready to talk about raises at the table,”  leaving the sides to focus, instead, on issues with the student-tracking system known as MiSiS, for My Integrated Student Integrated System.

The union did not engage in salary talks, according to the district.

“Teachers certainly deserve a bigger paycheck,” Superintendent John Deasy said in a statement. “Finally, after years of severe budget cuts, we can afford to provide some relief that our teachers well deserve. We want to give raises.”

Chief Labor Negotiator Vivian Ekchian added, “While discussions around MiSiS implementation are very important, it shouldn’t preclude us from spending at least equal time on discussing salary increases.”

The union did not have an immediate response to the district’s characterization of the session.

The District has offered UTLA members an 8.64 percent salary increase over three years, which includes a one-time lump sum for 2013-14. It’s effectively the same deal the district has offered to all its other labor groups — the one-time payment and annual raises of 2 percent, 2 percent and 2.5 percent.

The union is seeking a 17.6 percent salary increase over two years, an amount the district said in the release it cannot afford “without a return to layoffs, dreaded unpaid furlough days, a shortened school year, reduced summer school and repeated deep cuts in staff and services needed to balance recent budgets.”

The next bargaining session is scheduled for Oct. 2

Caputo-Pearl Q&A: Running LAUSD like a business?

Logo_LATimesVia the Los Angeles Times | By Patt Morrison

It’s a funny world, and a small one. Alex Caputo-Pearl, the new head of United Teachers Los Angeles, went to school in the same Maryland school district where John Deasy, superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District, was once superintendent.

They missed each other there, but now they’re in the same place, at the same time, on opposite sides of the table and sometimes on the issues. Caputo-Pearl, who was elected with 80% of the vote, was an ardent labor activist at Crenshaw High School, which he says got him ousted from the school after 13 years there. It was Deasy who decided the poorly performing school needed a clean sweep of faculty. Watch for big headlines as contract negotiations unfold.

Read the full story here.

Progress (or lack of it) with teachers comes to LAUSD board

Galatzan and Ratliff

Unlikely Co-sponsors: Galatzan (left), Ratliff (right)

The LA Unified School Board returns tomorrow with a full agenda although a lot of the juicy stuff will be discussed in closed session.

In addition to the usual topics — personnel issues and ongoing litigation — the board will review labor negotiations, which at this point is down to the on-going talks with the teachers union, UTLA.

The union submitted its initial proposal to the board late last week and in it, UTLA called for discussions of various subjects, including salaries, teacher evaluations and discipline at future bargaining sessions. The proposal is the first item of business on the agenda for the board’s open session. However, the board will not publicly discuss the demands contained within the document nor any details of negotiations, such as they are.

Although an update on the student data system, MiSiS, is not officially on agenda it is inconceivable there wouldn’t be a lengthy discussion about it either in closed session or by a public speaker later in the day. Problems with the program have made it next to impossible to get an accurate count on the number of students enrolled in each school and in the right classes, according to school principals and school administrators. That has set schools back in making necessary teacher hiring adjustments.

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Teachers union submits initial contract demands to LA Unified

UTLA contract proposal to DeasyAfter months of bargaining talks with LA Unified, the teachers union, UTLA, today submitted its first contract demand within the course of current negotiations.

In a document submitted to the board this morning, the union called for discussions of various subjects, including salaries, teacher evaluations and discipline at its next bargaining sessions, according to a district staffer who read the two-page letter to LA School Report.

Chief Labor Negotiator Vivian Ekchian, said in an interview she was “very pleased to have received their initial proposal.” She declined to discuss any of its content.

The letter, sent by UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl to the board, did not elaborate on salary demands, which the district contends it has not formally received. Caputo-Pearl says the union made it clear to the district long ago what it wants.

“UTLA’s salary proposal of 17.6 percent was formally presented to LAUSD under former President Warren Fletcher,” Caputo-Pearl told LA School Report. More recently, the union has clarified that the 17.6 percent salary increase demand is for two years.

The proposal comes on the heels of the district’s new deal with the Lieutenants and Sergeants School Police unit, whose contract was approved last night in a unanimous vote by unit members.

LA Unified has also completed negotiations with six other labor groups, most of which agreed to a similar salary increase package: a raise of 2 percent for 2014-15, 2 percent in 2015-16, and another 2.5 percent in 2016-17. Each annual pay bump is contingent on funds available.

While some groups also received a 2 percent lump sum payment for the 2013-14 school year, others tailored the additional payment to suit different preferences.

The raise UTLA is seeking over the next two years is nearly double what other groups have received over the span of three years. Superintendent John Deasy and other district officials say that could ultimately bankrupt the district.

Further, a “me too” clause included in most of the signed agreements allows a union the opportunity to re-open salary negotiations should the school board approve a higher general percentage increase for another group.

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Deasy on his critics: Constant attacks are ‘politically motivated’

Deasy comments on education politics

Superintendent John Deasy

Under withering criticism over the iPad program, a new student-tracking computer system and discordant relations with the teachers union, LA Unified Superintendent John Deasy said today that the attacks feel politically motivated at the expense of his agenda to improve the lives of district students.

“I serve at the pleasure of the board,” he said today in a wide-ranging interview with LA School Report. “If the board is not pleased, they can get rid of me at their pleasure.”

Asked if he would relieve them of that action by stepping down, he said, “I’m not prepared to answer that question.”

His tenure aside, Deasy said when he considers the acid tone of criticism over a confluence of issues, “I think it’s a troubling sign to me that the agenda is possibly no longer students. I had always assumed that the agenda was lifting students out of poverty. The agenda appears to be lifting Deasy out of LAUSD.”

The drumbeat of criticism is threatening to end a period of apparent comity and collegiality between Deasy and the school board that began last fall, shortly after it appeared that Deasy was resigning from a post he held since 2011.

Over the last 10 months or so, board meetings have played out with little of the tension that characterized previous meetings. Board President Richard Vladovic, especially, has shown a willingness to work closely and productively with Deasy.

But apparent unity could be cracking under the weight of problems with the iPad program and the bumpy implementation of a computer system that principals, teachers and parents rely on to track the progress and whereabouts of students.

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UTLA holds morning rally to insist Deasy be thrown into ‘jail’

UTLA Rally Alex Caputo-Pearl speaking at a news conference 9-3-2014

Alex Caputo-Pearl speaking at a news conference 9-3-2014

UTLA is calling on Superintendent John Deasy to lock himself in teacher jail while he’s under any investigation over iPads, computer systems or anything else.

At a rally earlier today union President Alex Caputo-Pearl told a crowd of teachers, “We are saying that he has to play by his own rules… He must not report to work here, he must report to teacher jail or report to home.”

Caputo-Pearl also called on “whoever is at the head of this district to be focused on schools and students and the day-to-day operations, and not scrambling to try to get out of investigations.” Assuming that’s Deasy, Caputo-Pearl did not explain how he might do that from “jail.”

The union claims that since Deasy took over, the district has escalated the practice of removing teachers accused of misconduct from the classroom and reassigning them to the central office where they often do nothing but continue drawing a paycheck. And many teachers who have been reinstated after a stint in teacher jail complain they were never informed of the charges against them.

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LAUSD, Teachers union talking AM/FM on new contract

LAUSD and Teachers Union argue over contractAs a further indication of how far off a labor agreement is between LA Unified and the teachers union, UTLA, the two sides met yesterday and each focused on an entirely different matter — the district, salaries; the union, the problematic student data base system, MiSiS.

In a statement released by UTLA shortly after the failed bargaining session — just the third since Alex Caputo-Pearl won the UTLA presidency — the union said the meeting “was devoted entirely to the MiSiS Crisis, because it is taking such a toll on students, parents and educators.”

While a district press release, expressed frustration about not making any headway on teacher salaries.

“Teachers deserve more money, and LAUSD wants to see that they get it now,” Vivian Ekchian, the District’s chief negotiator said in the statement.

The district has proposed giving teachers a three-year deal with raises of 2 percent over the first two years and a 2.5 percent increase in the third year, with raises conditional on the financial state of the district.

But without improving the district’s most recent offer, which UTLA has called a “non-starter,” the union says there wasn’t much to discuss.

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Deasy planning to hire his own liaison for MiSiS project

John-Deasy-computer-glitch-problems

Superintendent John Deasy

As LA Unified teachers continue their complaints about the district’s new student data management program, MiSiS, Superintendent John Deasy said today he plans to hire an independent liaison to  keep him informed of corrective actions.

“This is not my area of expertise so I have to be sure, when I think something is not optimal, that I have my own person working on this to tell me if we are doing this smartly,” Deasy told LA School Report. “I want a third party who is knowledgeable about changing student informations systems, to give insight into are we making enough changes, are we making our changes correctly.”

Deasy said the person he will hire — within a week or so — will report directly to him and will not require board approval. He also said he intends to meet next week with a new court-appointed monitor charged with overseeing the development of a district-wide student tracking system. The previous person serving in that role died.

Since 2012, the person directly in charge of MiSiS is Bria Jones, according to Bria Jones. On her LinkedIn profile, she identifies herself as head of a small Arizona company hired by the district as “IT Project Director.” She claims she “Provide[s] day-to-day project direction and management of the MiSiS team.”

How she came to the district as the only candidate for the job was among questions that board member Tamar Galatzan included last week in a written request to Ken Bramlett, the district’s Inspector General, seeking an examination of the MiSiS program.

Efforts to reach Jones through the district and her LinkedIn account drew no response.

In an eight-minute telephone interview today about Jones’s role in the MiSiS launch and subsequent problems, Chief Information Officer Ron Chandler told LA School Report that “there are several project managers on the project…her role is to oversee different parts of the development of specifications and code development.”

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Teachers union talking strategy for combatting teacher jail

Teacher Jail LAUSDWhile officials from the teachers union, UTLA, are contemplating salary demands in a new labor contract with the district, they have not lost sight of another key issue, how to deal with teachers housed in what union officials derisively call “teacher jails.”

The union’s Committee for Unjustly Housed Teachers was meeting today, for the first time this school year, in a strategy session to determine how to tackle what they view as the district’s abusive use of the “teacher jails.”

“We need to develop a plan for getting the district to follow the policies that they have in place for housed teachers,” committee point chair, Colleen Schwab told LA School Report before the meeting. “That’s our goal, at the minimum. To get them to do what they said they would.”

Schwab, who’s co-lead of the committee since its inception a year ago, stressed that the teachers union has no intention of calling for the complete elimination jails.

“Obviously, we need a place for teachers who could harm students while the district conducts its investigations,” she said. “But there has to be a better solution than what is happening right now.”

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Teachers union blasts Deasy again for new computer system

UTLA logoThe LA teachers union today intensified its attack against LA Unified Superintendent John Deasy and the administration over the management of the district’s new student data computer system.

For the second time in less than a week, the union put out a press release critical of Deasy and what UTLA says are his attempts to gloss-over the bungled roll-out of MiSiS, short for My Integrated Student Information System.

“When will Superintendent Deasy step up and admit the buck stops at his desk?” UTLA said in a statement released late today. “It is time for the school board to demand accountability from the Superintendent.”

So far, the only high ranking district administrator to take public responsibility for the debacle, which has left thousands of students un-enrolled and without the proper class assignments, is Chief Information Officer, Ron Chandler. Although he has acknowledged problems with the new program, which was designed to consolidate student data, Chandler has repeatedly downplayed the severity of them.

But UTLA has called out Matt Hill, Deasy’s Chief Strategy Officer, for his role in launching MiSiS before it was ready. In an internal memo sent Thursday afternoon to a list of undisclosed recipients, Hill said, “I realize at this point, apologies are not sufficient, so I will just say that your colleagues in IT are working as hard and fast as they can to get this system performing the way it should.”

The union’s demand for the school board’s intervention comes days before the swearing in of newly elected board member, George McKenna, who many believe with be a sympathetic vote for union-favored issues that come before the board.

McKenna’s addition to the board appears to shift the balance to a majority of teachers union-backed members, which could have a significant impact on labor contract negotiations as they resume later this month.

Board member Tamar Galatzan last week called for an investigation by the district’s inspector general’s office into the development and launch of MiSiS.

Previous Posts: Galatzan calling for probe into computer system snafus; Teachers union says computer glitch cost students first day

LAUSD schools assured to start with no new teacher contract

UTLA logoLA Unified teachers will return to school next week with no new UTLA contract.

Negotiators met for the second time yesterday, and the next session is not scheduled until Aug. 21 — nine days after school starts.

While the teachers union put out a press release yesterday, chiding the district for not being cooperative, the district’s chief negotiator, Vivian Ekchian, said the meeting was constructive.

“I would say it was productive,” Ekchian told LA School Report.

Among the topics covered over the three hour meeting, she said, were the budget, staffing, and class size reductions.

But in the press release, the union accused the district of giving them a Sophie’s Choice of smaller classes or salary increases. Not both, which the union says the district can afford.

“We don’t buy it,” the release said. “We believe the district is trying to pit educators against parents and the community.”

Union President Alex Caputo-Pearl told LA School Report yesterday that teachers have been waiting for the district to provide line-by-line numbers for the district’s base expenditures. Ekchian says they began to do that “in a very global way” and will delve more deeply into the budget in future meetings.

 Previous Posts: UTLA’s Caputo-Pearl: ‘Our goal is to win a good contract’; LA Unified, teachers meeting today to discuss a contract; Teachers union calls district contract offer ‘a non-starter’

UTLA’s Caputo-Pearl: ‘Our goal is to win a good contract’

Alex Caputo-Pearl photoWith school about to open for 2014-2015, Alex Caputo-Pearl embarks on his first year as president of United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA). He couldn’t have found a busier time to begin his first term, with negotiations underway for a new collective bargaining contract, a curriculum transition to Common Core and a host of other issues facing his 30,000-member union.

LA School Report had a chat with him today to get his thoughts on the union and the issues ahead as school doors open. Here’s what he had to say:

Question: LA Unified Superintendent John Deasy has characterized your statements of a potential strike as “breathtakingly irresponsible.” What is your response?

Answer: What is actually breathtaking is the conditions in our schools. We’ve got many schools without nurses, without librarians, arts or music programs. We’ve got some of the highest student to counselor ratios and highest class sizes in the country. What’s breathtaking is that the conditions of students and by extension educators face everyday in schools. That’s what we should be talking about when we’re using dramatic words like “breathtaking.”

Further, we are still waiting on an actual narrative and numeric description about how the base expenditure money that increased because the district received so much more money was spent. We’ve been waiting for months for a line-by-line description of where that increase was spent, and we still haven’t received it.  To expect a snappy agreement without process would be ridiculous.

Q: So, do you expect this to be a long and protracted process? Is a strike inevitable?

A: Do we want a strike? Hell, no! But do we know that we need to build up our capacity to deal with the kind of intransigence that we’re seeing. Yes, and  part of preparing for struggle is building up our capacity and part of building our capacity is building the capacity of a strike.

Q: Assuming you get a fair contract for teachers, what’s your next big priority for teachers this year?

A: Our goal is to win a good contract and to win good board policies for students and for members. And I think contracts, by definition, are temporary compromises on a bunch of issues, so I think the next step would be to continue to move the ball forward around the (union’s) “Schools LA Students Deserve” program, be it class size, school improvement, and educator control over professional development.

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As talks resume, LAUSD, teachers union still far apart

teachers union raise salary UTLA Contract NegotiationsNegotiators for LA Unified and the teachers union, UTLA, resume contract talks later today amid charges and counter-charges of which side is responsible for the lack of progress. Teachers are set to return for the opening of the school year next week.

Late last week, the sides exchanged letters, each sharp in tone, that sought to blame the other for delays, miscommunications and disagreements over how the negotiating sessions should play out.

While the accusations are the usual stuff of collective bargaining involving public entities, the missives were helpful in at least one respect. Maybe for the first time publicly, in a July 28 letter to the district’s chief negotiator, Vivian Ekchian, UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl clarified that 17.6 percent salary increase the union is demanding would cover a two-year period, last year and the year ahead.

Until now, the union had not specified a period of time.

Caputo-Pearl’s letter is posted on the UTLA website, and it calls the district’s latest offer — raises of 2 percent, 2 percent and 2.5 percent for three years — “lethargic” and further accuses the district of ignoring other union concerns, including issues of staffing and class sizes.

Ekchian responded a day later, accusing the union of not taking a new contract serious enough to warrant more frequent negotiating sessions, with the start of school so close at hand.

She also took Caputo-Pearl to task over “your now seemingly ritual, repeated threats of strike” against the backdrop of only a single negotiating session.

To anyone who has followed high-profile labor negotiations, the current backing-and-forthing, including threats of a strike, is not unusual when sides are far apart and communications sound as if they are taking place on AM and FM.

That all could change, of course, during today’s session, scheduled for 1 pm to 4 pm.

Or not.

Previous Posts: Deasy on UTLA’s talk of a strike: ‘breathtakingly irresponsible’; Teachers union leaders updating members on strike potential; Strike talk emerges on Caputo-Pearl’s first day as union chief

Deasy on UTLA’s talk of a strike: ‘breathtakingly irresponsible’

John DeasyAs LA Unified Superintendent John Deasy prepared to deliver his “State of the District” speech to school leaders and educators at Garfield High School today, he sat for a wide-ranging interview with LA School Report yesterday, addressing the possibility of a teachers strike, implementation of Common Core, his relationship with the board and the importance of reading, among other issues.

Here’s what he had to say.

Question: As the school year opens, and with only one bargaining session under your belt, UTLA is preparing teachers for the possibility of a strike. How much of that is real and how much is theater for bargaining leverage?

Answer: What is there to strike over? We have yet to receive [UTLA’s] bargaining proposal. We don’t even know what their demand is? I just don’t understand such a language whatsoever. It would strike me as breathtakingly irresponsible to talk about something as great as a strike when we have only had one bargaining session. I would never even have a conversation about something as ludicrous as saying to the public that we might have a strike when we met people once. The gravity of telling parents something like that is breathtakingly irresponsible.

Q: We know what they want: Teachers are demanding a 17.6 percent raise.

What we have offered is a 26.3 percent compensation over three years. We have committed to completely picking up the all district’s pension costs, taking care of all increases in health benefits for the next three years and maintaining all the raises that everybody gets. And that is a non-starter? Someone should clue in the LAPD, who are getting zero.

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Teachers union leaders updating members on strike potential

UTLA Rally Alex Caputo-Pearl speaking LAUSD

UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl speaking to union members

No matter the state of contract negotiations between LA Unified and the teachers union, UTLA, instructors are becoming more familiar with the possibility of a strike.

Alex Caputo-Pearl, the union president, said in an interview today union officials are busy organizing parents, sending out negotiation updates and preparing school sites for the possibility that the district and the union reach an impasse in bargaining.

“I’m very confident we can organize ourselves to be a force,” he said, a reference to developing unity among union members. “We’ve had an overwhelmingly positive response to our efforts so far.”

Negotiators for the district and union have met several times to exchange ideas. So far, the union has rejected each of the district’s first two offers, calling the latest one “a non-starter.” The district has offered a 2 percent payment to teachers for last year, a 2 percent salary increase for each of the next two years and a 2.5 percent increase in a third year. The out years are predicated on district revenues.

The next bargaining session is scheduled for Aug. 6.

Previous Posts: Teachers union calls district contract offer ‘a non-starter’; LA Unified, teachers meeting today to discuss a contract; JUST IN: LAUSD sweetens contract offer to teachers union

A bigger team for teachers union but no agreement in sight

Alex Caputo-Pearl UTLA contract negotiations LAUSDThe latest LA Unified-UTLA bargaining session featured a change in tactics by the union but nothing close to an agreement.

The union brought all seven officers into negotiations yesterday, signaling a shift to what it calls “big bargaining.” And it’s likely to get bigger: The union said in a statement future bargaining sessions would include rank-and-file members as part of the bargaining team and parents and academics as observers.

Teacher unions in other cities, like Chicago and St. Paul, have used the tactic, ostensibly to demonstrate strength, unity and determination, in UTLA’s case, perhaps as prelude to a strike. For UTLA, the statement said, the idea is to put a focus on “smaller class sizes, full staffing, salary restoration and raises for educators, who have gone seven years without a raise, took furlough days and made other sacrifices during the recession years.”

“We know more money is coming into the district every year and there is no reason to maintain large class sizes,” the statement said. “The district wants us to be quiet on the class size issue. We will not. Nor will we drop our demand for fully staffed schools that provide social-emotional support for students and offer the arts and other electives that our students deserve.”

LA Unified Superintendent John Deasy declined to comment on the change.

What it might achieve is unclear. The union is clearly unsatisfied with the district’s latest contract offer — a 2 percent bonus for last year, 2 percent salary increases for the coming year and the next and a 2 1/2 percent raise for the year after that, with the second two years conditional of the district’s financial situation.

The union has called that offer a “non-starter” and yesterday asked district negotiators “to explain their numbers in formulating the most recent offer.” The union is demanding a 17.6 percent salary increase over an undetermined number of years.

“In many ways, their offer represents a throwback to bad ideas the district had in past years that did not work,” Union President Alex Caputo-Pearl said in the statement.

The next bargaining session is scheduled for August 6th; a larger table may be necessary.

Previous Posts: LA Unified, teachers meeting today to discuss a contract; Teachers union calls district contract offer ‘a non-starter’; JUST IN: LAUSD sweetens contract offer to teachers union

LA Unified, teachers meeting today to discuss a contract

LAUSD Teachers' salaries

Negotiators for LA Unified and its teachers union, UTLA, had planned to meet today to discuss a new contract for teachers, based on the district’s latest offer. The district described it as an improvement over the initial offer, but days before the offer was officially made, the union dismissed it as a “non-starter” and continued the threat of a strike. Meanwhile, courtesy of the LA Daily News, here’s a look at the rate of salary increase for LA Unified teachers over the last 10 years.

Previous Posts: Teachers union calls district contract offer ‘a non-starter’; JUST IN: LAUSD sweetens contract offer to teachers union; UTLA could start another academic year without a contract

Teachers union calls district contract offer ‘a non-starter’

teachers union raise salary UTLA Contract NegotiationsUTLA, the teachers union, has called LA Unified’s latest contract offer “a non-starter,” signaling a difficult resumption of bargaining when talks resume on Thursday.

“Just days before a scheduled bargaining session, LAUSD today presented UTLA with a revised contract offer that falls short of what is needed to achieve the schools that LA students deserve,” the union said in a statement issued late yesterday.

The union response came hours after LA School Report reported the district’s new offer — essentially a three-year deal with raises of 2 percent over the first two years and a 2.5 percent increase in the third year, with raises conditional on the financial state of the district.

The district’s first offer was a one-year deal with a 2 percent increase. Both offers included a 2 percent bonus for the 2013-2014 school year.

“Keep in mind educators have not had a salary increase in seven years and took what amounted to an eight percent salary reduction during the recession years,” the union said. “Throughout this period the cost of living has increased—putting an even greater burden on educators.”

The union’s salary demand has remained vague throughout, with leaders pressing for a 17.6 percent increase over an unspecified number of years. District officials say the pay raises offered amount to a compounded 8.6 percent increase over three years and, when factoring in health care coverage and other benefits, a 26.3 percent increase.

The new union president, Alex Caputo-Pearl, has also sustained his saber-rattling for a strike in recent days, urging teachers to start saving in case negotiators reach an impasse and union leaders call for a job action to gain leverage.

The union response, which dismissed other changes proposed by the district as not useful, including how teachers are evaluated, came only after details of the offer were made public. Union officials have had the contract offer for several days but remained silent.

Negotiators have scheduled a second bargaining session in early August, before the new school year starts, and another before the month is out.