UTLA drops salary demand to 9 percent over 1 year

Alex Caputo-Pearl, president of UTLA

Alex Caputo-Pearl, president of UTLA

Representatives for the teachers union, UTLA, lowered their salary demand yesterday, asking LA Unified for a one-year 9 percent pay increase for the current academic year, with future increases tied to that.

Vivian Ekchian, the district’s chief negotiator, said the proposal “is under review and we will ascertain the cost to the District.”

While the shift suggests movement in contract negotiations that have been stumbling along for months, it still leaves the side far apart, with the district holding to a 2 percent salary increase and one-time bonuses.

The union said on its website that its new demand was done as an effort “to increase the pace of bargaining.” In the same vein, it called for weekly negotiation sessions, starting in January even though the sides have been meeting almost once a week since the talks began.

The union’s latest proposal also included demands for three self-directed voluntary planning and collaboration days to be paid at hourly rate, stipends of $1,000 for materials, full rate pay for professional development  and a potential retirement incentive.

Fully anticipating no immediate agreement from the district, the union’s website said Gov. Jerry Brown‘s new budget in January will reflect how much money LA Unified can expect from the state.

Previous stories: UTLA rejects pay increase offer from districtAnalysis: LAUSD offer to UTLA a march to progress or a strike?

 

Teachers, LA Unified in last bargaining session of the year

UTLA-Contract-NegotiationsThe teachers union, UTLA, and LA Unified officials will be back at it today, for the last contract negotiations of the year.

The final bargaining session has no set agenda, but Vivian Ekchian, the district’s Chief Labor Negotiator, told LA School Report salary discussions are likely to be front and center.

To that end, the district yesterday sent out an email addressed to its “Dear Employees”  and the subject line: “District’s latest wage offer – willing to pay while talks continue about future increases.”

Earlier this month the district proposed a one-year deal with an equivalent raise of 6 percent. The money would be distributed through a 2 percent ongoing salary increase retroactive to July 1; a 2 percent lump-sum payment based on 2013-14 earnings; and a 2 percent one-time payment for the 2014-15 school year to be paid at the end of this school year.

According to the email, “This offer represents an increase to UTLA members of $48 million above the previous District 4% offer for 2014-15.”

Negotiations on all other issues — class size reductions, so-called teacher jail and teacher evaluations — would continue uninterrupted and UTLA would resume salary negotiations next year.

Although UTLA made no official response, the website pointed out, “the District is still only offering a 2% salary increase.”

The meeting begins at noon today and will take place at UTLA headquarters.

Previous Stories: UTLA rejects pay increase offer from districtAnalysis: LAUSD offer to UTLA a march to progress or a strike?Caputo-Pearl asks energetic UTLA rally: ‘Are you ready for a fight?’

Teachers union rejects pay increase offer from LAUSD

teachers union raise salary UTLA Contract NegotiationsBack to the drawing board.

Following the most recent bargaining session last Thursday, the teachers’ union, UTLA, has reportedly rejected a pay increase offer from LA Unified negotiators that fell short its goal of a 10 percent salary increase.

The latest district offer included a 2 percent salary increase retroactive to July 1, a 2 percent lump-sum payment based on 2013-14 earnings and a 2 percent one-time payment for the 2014-15 school year to be paid at the end of this school year, according to a district press release.

The offer was essentially a one-year deal on salary at the same rate the district is paying other labor partners, and the district asked UTLA to accept the deal immediately and agree to continue negotiating on non-salary issues and pay beyond the fiscal year, which ends July 1.

Aside from a salary increase, UTLA also is seeking a reduction in class size, an end to “teacher jail,” and other concessions. The union’s demands are outlined in the Schools LA Students Deserve campaign.

UTLA also rejected the idea of piecemealing out the union’s contract issues, according to the Los Angeles Daily News.

“We’re committed to fight around that package of issues, and we’re not going to separate things out one by one,” UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl told the paper.

When negotiations began four months ago, the district was offering a 2 percent raise while  UTLA sought an increase of 17.6 percent over to years. UTLA has since changed its goal to a 10 percent raise over one year.

The next bargaining session is scheduled for Dec. 16.

Previous Posts: Analysis: LAUSD offer to UTLA a march to progress or a strike?Caputo-Pearl asks energetic UTLA rally: ‘Are you ready for a fight?’LA Unified guaranteeing teachers the pay raise already offered

Analysis: LAUSD offer to UTLA a march to progress or a strike?

UTLA rally at James Monroe High School Nov. 20, 2014

UTLA rally at James Monroe High School on Nov. 20, 2014

LA Unified’s latest offer to the teachers union, UTLA, represents either a hint of progress in negotiations for the teachers’ first contract in more than seven years or fertile ground for moving toward a strike.

Here’s why the uncertainty: The 6 percent package includes the same salary increase that the district has offered all its other bargaining units —  2 percent, and for just one year.

It also includes the same lump sum payout of 2 percent for last year that was included in previous offers. The sweetener is an additional lump payout of 2 percent for next year, with an offer to negotiate the out years, starting with next year.

Depending on what the sides might agree upon for 2015-2016, the sweetener is, indeed, a bonus. It becomes something less than that if the raise for 2015-2016 fails to reach 2 percent. The district calculates that every 1 percent increase amounts to $24 million in spending, which makes the 6 percent package equal to $144 million in budget impact at a time the district says it’s facing a $326 million deficit.

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JUST IN: LA Unified increases salary offer to UTLA

teachers union raise salary UTLA Contract Negotiations* UPDATED

LA Unified today increased its salary offer to the teachers union, UTLA, offering a one-year deal with a 6 percent increase.

The district said in a press release the money would be distributed through a 2 percent ongoing salary increase retroactive to July 1; a 2 percent lump-sum payment based on 2013-14 earnings; and a 2 percent one-time payment for the 2014-15 school year to be paid at the end of this school year.

The union did not directly respond to the district proposal, which is not far off its original offer of a three-year package that included the lump sum of 2 percent for last year, 2 percent for this year and next and 2.5 percent for the following year, with the last two years contingent on the district budget. The contingency was later dropped.

Both versions were flatly rejected by the union, which moved from a 17.6 salary raise demand over three years to a one-year deal at 10 percent.

The new wrinkle in today’s district proposal is that the combined 6 percent would be paid within a period of a few months, with an agreement to continue negotiating raises for 2015-16 and 2016-17.

As UTLA pointed out on its website, “the District is still only offering a 2% salary increase.”

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UTLA negotiations resume, new charter campus, ‘Grinchmas’

school report buzzNegotiators for UTLA and LA Unified are meeting for another contact bargaining session today, the first since mid-November.

UTLA did not respond when asked what topics might be on the table today, but the previous session saw UTLA adding to its demands to include supports for displaced educators, improved UTLA representation for substitute educators facing termination, clean and safe schools, improved grievance procedures to deal with unfair treatment by principals and increased school-based decision-making regarding Breakfast in the Classroom.

On the hot-button issue of salary, the district is reportedly still sticking to its offer of 2 percent, while the the union wants 10 percent.

Facebook faceoff for UTLA

Quite a few UTLA members were not pleased with the union’s leadership after it issued a press release regarding a Ferguson, Missouri grand jury’s decision not to indict a police officer for a fatal shooting with racial overtones that has sparked protests nationwide. The statement was a simple, short one, calling on “law enforcement agencies in Los Angeles and other cities to reexamine how their departments interact with people of color.”

In response to the union’s Faceook post about the statement, many UTLA members sounded off and voiced displeasure that leaders were weighing in on a national issue. One post read, “UTLA…Please take care of UTLA business and work on contract negotiations. You represent the teachers of LAUSD in SCHOOL matters….don’t make statements about other areas as our representatives.”

The number of angry posts was enough to prompt a response from UTLA leaders that said the officers “want to assure you that they are focusing on your top priorities in bargaining with the District.”

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Report: LA Unified near bottom in teacher pay for large districts

LA Unified* UPDATED

There’s a new report that negotiators for United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) might be pulling out at the next round of contract negotiations with LA Unified.

A new study by the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ), finds that LA Unified teachers rank near the bottom of the 113 largest districts in the country in salary over a 30-year career.

The study tried to determine which districts offer teachers the most “bang for the buck” by accounting for variables like districts with performance-based raises, the time it takes a teacher to climb the salary ladder and cost of living in the district.

Of 113 districts and 125 total rankings — after performance-based districts are broken out with three different levels of average, above-average and exemplary —  LA Unified ranks 94th out of 125. Cost of living adjustments had a huge impact on some districts; on salary alone, LA Unified ranked 30th overall.

The difference over a 30-year career between the top and bottom is quite wide, as a teacher at No. 1 Pittsburgh would make over $1.2 million more when adjusted for cost of living than a LA Unified teacher.

“In many districts, teachers are working for years and years under a system of small, incremental raises. We know it doesn’t have to be this way,” Kate Walsh, President of the National Council on Teacher Quality, said in a statement. “There are districts that allow teachers, especially exemplary teachers, to more quickly reach their top salaries,”

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LA Unified board returning momentarily into public view

Richard Vladovic elected as LAUSD board president for 2014-2015 yearThe LA Unified school board, gathering again tomorrow, will appear in open session long enough to hear the introduction of a largely symbolic measure, a resolution to support President Obama’s executive order on immigration.

Then, the members will disappear into a closed meeting to review the usual subjects of closed meetings — personnel moves, litigation and the status of labor negotiations, which is now largely focused on the teachers union, UTLA, which remains without a contract.

So far, it’s hard to discern whether the district and UTLA are making any progress toward a new agreement, which would be the first since George W. Bush was still president. For the most part, negotiating sessions have been defined by position-taking, with little effort by either side to find a middle ground.

With that as a backdrop, union president Alex Caputo-Pearl has been asking his members, “Are you ready for a fight,” which taken to its logical conclusion would suggest a strike. A strike would appear to remain some distance off, inasmuch as the district and union have not gotten down to the business of “bargaining” in the conventional sense.

But a strike would seem a perfect denoument to this academic year in LA Unified, already buffeted by the languid pace of digital device distribution, the inept rollout of the student data tracking system known as MiSiS and a turnover in the superintendent’s office.

Anyway, negotiators for the union and the district are scheduled to meet up again on Thursday. One can only hope for the best. Or, at least, progress.

 

Caputo-Pearl asks energetic UTLA rally: ‘Are you ready for a fight?’

The message was clear from United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) President Alex Caputo-Pearl as he spoke to hundreds of energetic, amped-up supporters yesterday: If teachers are going to get the raise and other concessions they are demanding from LA Unified in a new contract, it is going to be a fight.

“Now folks, we’ve got to fight for our next victory, and that is to win our contract demands in the Schools LA Students Deserve campaign. And let’s be really clear, folks, that is going to be a fight,” Caputo-Pearl told the crowd.

The teachers union staged five simultaneous rallies around Los Angeles yesterday, including at James Monroe High School in North Hills, in the latest and most significant of the UTLA leadership’s “escalating actions” as it looks to put pressure on the district at the negotiating table. That pressure has included hints at a strike, and the sight of hundreds of teachers dressed in red marching outside a school offered a preview of what that might look like.

The union’s contract demands are outlined in the Schools LA Students Deserve campaign, which includes teacher raises, lower class sizes and an end to “teacher jail.”

Hundreds of teachers turned out at Monroe as they marched up and down Haskell Avenue and Nordoff Street while many drivers in cars passing by honked in support amid the sounds of beating drums, whistles, claps and chants that filled the air. Some UTLA members held signs and flags, including one that provocatively read, “Eight years a slave,” referring to amount of time LA Unified teachers have gone without a raise.

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LA Unified guaranteeing teachers the pay raise already offered

teachers union raise salary UTLA Contract Negotiations LA UnifiedLA Unified said today it has altered its salary offer to teachers by eliminating any contingency on a package that includes raises of 2 percent for this year, 2 percent for next year and 2.5 percent for the year after that.

The district’s previous offer to the union, UTLA, had been with the same percentage increases, provided funds were available.

“The removal of this language is very significant,” Vivian Ekchian, the District’s chief labor negotiator, said in a statement. “It assures our teachers of the District’s long-term commitment to providing them with the compensation they deserve, in addition to sustaining a robust health benefits package for them and their family members.”

The district is still including a 2 percent lump sum payout for last year.

In negotiations last week, the district said subjects discussed covered a range of subjects, including teacher evaluation, student discipline, grievance procedures, teacher transfers, small-learning communities, campus safety, shared-decision making, school-based management and the student records system known as MISIS.

Neither side has reported any agreement on anything.

UTLA adds to contract demands in latest talks with LA Unified

teachers union raise salary UTLA Contract NegotiationsLA Unified and the teachers union, UTLA, met in another bargaining session today, but from the union’s perspective, not much happened to draw the sides closer.

The union announced late this afternoon that it was “rounding out” its list of demands, to include supports for displaced educators, improved UTLA representation for substitute educators facing termination, clean and safe schools, improved grievance procedures to deal with unfair treatment by principals and increased school-based decision-making regarding Breakfast in the Classroom.

As far as salary increases, nothing’s changed. The district is sticking to its offer of 2 percent; the union wants 10 percent.

The next bargaining session is scheduled for December 4.

For Cortines and UTLA, class size reduction is LAUSD priority

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Protesters outside LAUSD headquarters on May 13, 2013. (Credit: UTLA)

* UPDATED

As contract negotiations plod along between LA Unified and the teachers union, UTLA, the issue of class size reduction has taken on a new urgency for Superintendent Ramon Cortines, who plans to shrink the number of students in middle school and high school classrooms by the end of the year.

“I’m not going to tolerate this second semester,” Cortines told LA School Report, before launching into an anecdote about not being able to get through the door of two separate classrooms at Jefferson High School “because they were so crowded.”

“That’s just unacceptable,” he said in frustration.

Teachers have been calling on district leadership to reduce class sizes for years, even as billions of dollars were slashed from the budget and the number of desks per classroom sometimes doubled. It’s been one of UTLA’s core objectives in striking a new deal with the district, a pivotal component of the “Schools LA Students Deserve” platform that President Alex Caputo-Pearl ran on in the recent election.

Data gathered by the district last month shows there are currently more than 1,500 middle school and high school classes enrolling 40 or more students throughout the district. More than 300 enroll 50 or more students. Those figures exclude homeroom, physical education, choir, band and any unfilled sections, all of which tend to be larger in class size.

While 40 sounds like a large number of students for one class, it’s actually within the prescribed ratio of LA Unified classes for non-academic periods in grades 6-through-12 and for academic periods in grades 11 and 12. For academic periods in other grades, the ratios are smaller: 24 to 1 for K-through-3; 30.5 to 1 for grades 4, 5 and some 6; and 34 to 1 for the remaining grade 6-through-10.

Although the data reflecting current ratios comes directly from the district, Lydia Ramos, communications director, explains that “these are very raw numbers” and may contain errors caused by the new student data management system, MiSiS, as well as by unfinished “balancing,” the process of determining how many students are assigned to each teacher.

Still, even ruling out classes that are obviously MiSiS created mistakes — San Pedro Senior High, for instance, appears to enroll 566 students in something called “College Class” — the most notable findings in an analysis of the data by LA School Report include:

  • About 1,100 high school classes enroll 40 or more students, in line with prescribed ratios; more than 300 enroll 50 or more students per class.
  • More than 120 middle school classes enroll more than 35 students, the current target maximum for students in grades 6 to 8.
  • 14 classes show 90 or more students enrolled, most of them in “Advance Conditioning,” which are phys ed or athletics related.
  • Approximately 60 algebra classes — including algebra 1A through algebra 2 — enroll more than 40 students, 30 algebra classes have 46 to 49 students, and six have between 51 and 65. Foshay Learning Center has one class of 71 students.
  • About 87 Advanced Placement courses enroll 40 or more students. Grover Cleveland Charter High School has the biggest class: AP US History with 67 students

UTLA President Caputo-Pearl has called the numbers “shocking,” and told LA School Report, “This is an issue of improving student learning conditions and educator working conditions.”

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UTLA plans 5 rallies as part of National Day of Action

Big Red Tuesday UTLA

UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl on “Big Red Tuesday” on Sept. 30, 2014. (Credit: Craig Clough)

United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) is planning rallies at five locations on Nov. 20 with the duel purpose of demanding a new contract from the district and to participate in the National Day of Action that is being organized by the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools.

UTLA is calling on all of its members to participate in the rallies, using some strong language on its website, which says that “a 35,000 member union can’t win a fight against the corporate parasites lined up against us with anything less than 35,000 members active in the fight.”

The rallies are part of a series of monthly “escalating actions” organized by UTLA’s new leadership as it looks to put pressure on the district in contract negotiations. The union’s demands are outlined in the Schools LA Students Deserve campaign, which includes a demand for teacher raises, lower class sizes and an end to “teacher jail.”

UTLA members have been working on a day-to-day contract since the last one expired in 2011. Since taking office over the summer, UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl has ramped up the rhetoric and attempted to put pressure on the district for a new contract through his speeches and the union’s escalating actions. This has included hints at a possible strike, which was evident at the union’s annual leadership conference in September. 

Representatives of the union and district have held several contract bargaining sessions this fall, but are still far apart, with district negotiator Vivian Ekchian saying that the union’s demands would “deal a devastating blow to the district’s educational programs.”

The first escalating action as part of the series was “Big Red Tuesday” on Sept 30, where UTLA members were encouraged to wear ted T-shirts, the official UTLA color. That was followed on Oct. 21 with a press conference outside North Hollywood High School which focused on class sizes, with teachers and supporters around the district encouraged to wear a sticker highlighting their class size and student/teacher ratio.

The locations of the five rallies, which are set to begin at 4 p.m. on Nov. 20, are Narbonne High SchoolBethune Middle School, Hamilton High SchoolMonroe High School and Mariachi Plaza.

The Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools is a national organization that includes the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the Service Employees International Union and is dedicated to fighting the charter school movement, the broad use of standardized testing and connecting test scores with teacher evaluations.

An illness cancels bargaining session with LAUSD, teachers

04The bargaining session scheduled for today between LA Unified and the teachers union, UTLA, has been cancelled, due to an illness of a union staff member, a district official said.

The agenda had included discussions of teacher support and evaluation, parent empowerment and adult education. What was not expected to be part of the dialogue is bridging the gap between the union’s demand of a one-year, 10 percent salary raise and the district’s offer of 2 percent.

The next session will be the previously scheduled meeting on Nov. 14 unless the sides agree to add a make-up session before then. Another meeting is on the books for Dec. 4.

Unions slam LAUSD for ‘English only’ rule for cafeteria workers

espanolTwo unions that represent teachers and support staff at LA Unified schools are calling on the district to rescind its “English only” rule that was issued earlier this month to cafeteria workers at Harvard Elementary, saying the rule sends the wrong message to students and parents,

An “English only” sign was posted in the cafeteria of the Koreatown school a few weeks ago.

Most cafeteria workers there are native Spanish speakers, and 86 percent of students identify as Hispanic, yet the district called the directive a safety issue.

That explanation is falling flat with United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), which represents district teachers, and Service Employees International Union Local 99, which represents the cafeteria workers and other district employees like bus drivers and groundskeepers.

“When the majority of cafeteria workers at the school speak Spanish, how is it safer for those workers to communicate only in English in the cafeteria or anywhere on campus?” the unions said in a joint statement. “When a great majority of cafeteria and other service workers live in the communities where they work and are often parents of children attending LAUSD schools, how does an ‘English Only’ policy promote a welcoming school community?”

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Port of LA High faculty seeks to join UTLA after principal resigns

Former Port of Los Angeles High School Principal Tom Scotti. UTLA

Former Port of Los Angeles High School Principal Tom Scotti. (Credit: polahs.net)

After the unexpected resignation of their popular principal left some teachers, students and parents outraged, the faculty at Port of Los Angeles High School has voted to join United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA).

Hundreds of people attended the school’s board meeting on Monday and voiced anger over the resignation Tom Scotti, the principal who left Friday to work for another charter program, according to the Daily Breeze.

Scotti had been with the school since 2005, and his departure was seen by some as a response to his displeasure with the school’s top leadership, while others claimed he was forced out, according to the Daily Breeze.

The Daily Breeze also reported there is widespread discontent among students, parents and teachers with the school’s executive director, James Cross, and the move to join UTLA was in response to Scotti’s departure.

Port of Los Angeles High School is an independent charter school with 59 teachers and faculty. In an open letter to the Port of Los Angeles High School community that was presented to the board on Monday and signed by 86 percent of the faculty, teachers explained the move to join UTLA.

“A union will give us a voice and an integral involvement in our school. Our students deserve teachers who are free to express their opinion and who are active participants in the decisions that directly affect our students,” Spanish teacher Mary Marin wrote in the letter, according to a UTLA press release.

A petition was filed on Tuesday with the California State Public Employment Relations Board seeking recognition of UTLA as their union, and faculty will soon begin collective bargaining over wages, hours and conditions of employment, according to UTLA.  

UTLA represents over 900 teachers at independent charter schools in the Los Angeles area and has over 30,000 total members. 

 

UTLA, AFT demand apology for ‘misleading’ Time magazine cover

Time magazineTime magazine is in hot water with United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) and other teacher unions over what they say is an unfair and misleading cover.

On its Facebook page, UTLA posted a link to the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) online petition that calls for Time to “apologize to America’s teachers for the misleading and hyperbolic attack on your November 3 cover.”

The cover in question is for a story about the impact of Vergara v. California, the case in which a judge earlier this year struck down California’s decades-old laws regarding teacher tenure, firings and layoffs.

The Time article, which features a gavel about to smash an apple on the cover, is headlined, “Rotten Apples: It’s nearly impossible to fire a bad teacher; some tech millionaires may have found a way to change that,” and is a look at the history of the case and the wealthy group of tech executives who have helped support it. The article has been available online since Friday and is scheduled to hit news stands in print form on Nov. 3.

But it is not the article that the AFT finds fault with. It’s the cover, which the AFT says “is particularly disappointing because the articles inside the magazine present a much more balanced view of the issue. But for millions of Americans, all they’ll see is the cover and a misleading attack on teachers.”

So far, over 60,000 people have signed the petition, according to the AFT’s Facebook page. The AFT has over 1.5 million members.

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LA Unified reiterates: UTLA demands would lead to cutbacks

teachers union raise salary UTLA Contract NegotiationsIn the first contract talks under LA Unified’s new superintendent, Ray Cortines, negotiators for the district and the teachers union, UTLA, hit another snag yesterday as the district reasserted claims that unions demands are unsustainable and would lead to severe cutbacks to key programs, resources, and personnel that would detrimentally impact students.

The union is calling for a 10 percent salary bump for 2014-15, with the expectation of re-opening pay negotiations next year. Smaller class sizes, salary raises and an end to teacher jail are among key components the union is seeking it its new contract.

“Our budget calculations show that the proposal would cost more than $800 million in 2015-16,” said Vivian Ekchian, the district’s Chief Labor Negotiator. “Combined with a projected $365 million deficit next year, agreeing to the union’s proposal would deal a devastating blow to the District’s educational programs.”

The union’s new wage demand exceeds the district’s standing offer of a 6.64 percent salary increase over the next three years plus a one-time 2 percent bonus.

Another topic UTLA returned to during talks yesterday was the issue of “teacher jail.”

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Commentary: Is the L.A. teachers union tone deaf?

Los Angeles Times logoVia Los Angeles Times | By Steve Lopez

It was back-to-school night in August. A time for new beginnings and high hopes at Thomas Starr King Middle School on the Silver Lake/Los Feliz border.

Then came an awkward moment.

With new parents and students in the room, a teachers union rep got up on a soapbox to lay out the labor issues that could lead to a strike.

“He could not have been more tone deaf,” said Tomas O’Grady, a parent who was in the room. “What a stupid thing to do, for a new group of parents excited about this school.”

O’Grady said the speaker is “one of the most amazing teachers at King,” so out of kindness, O’Grady reined him in by suggesting this was not the time or place for a labor rally.

“In an attempt to protect him, I spoke up. Because if it was anyone else, I’ll be honest, it wouldn’t have been to protect him, but to reprimand him.”

Read the full commentary here.

UTLA calls for smaller class sizes at a morning press event

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North Hollywood HS PE teacher Brad Hodge speaks today at a press event about class sizes. (Via UTLA Facebook page)

United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) President Alex Caputo-Pearl appeared at a press conference today outside North Hollywood High School where he and other speakers focused on the union’s demand for smaller class sizes in its ongoing fight for a new contract.

Caputo-Pearl said that the most fundamental thing the union wants to communicate is “that our students are human beings that deserve personalized attention,” KNX 1070 reported.

The press event came as union and LA Unified officials are set to meet for another contract bargaining session tomorrow, the first since John Deasy resigned as superintendent and was replaced with Ray Cortines on an interim basis.

Smaller class sizes, salary raises and an end to teacher jail are among key components the union is seeking it its new contract, which is outlined in UTLA’s Schools LA Students Deserve campaign.

Students and teachers at North Hollywood High spoke at the press conference and talked about the troubles large class sizes are causing. Ninth grader John Huddleston said his physical education class has over 50 students.

“It takes the teacher so long to take attendance that it truly does cut into our class curriculum time,” said Huddleston, according to KNX.

UTLA said in a statement that thousands of students and teachers around the district were wearing stickers today that highlighted their class size and student/teacher ratios, KNBC reported.

When speaking to LA School Report yesterday, Caputo-Pearl was hesitant to characterize the change in superintendents as a positive or negative in terms of the union’s bargaining position.

“We are looking forward to talking to the interim superintendent about some positive direction about this,” Caputo-Pearl said. “I don’t want to speculate, just whoever the superintendent is, interim or permanent, we are going to continue to bring the issues that are affecting students, schools and educators to the table and we look forward to productive negotiations around that.”

Captuo-Pearl did say that he will continue to aggressively pursue a new contract even though Cortines is an interim superintendent.

“The condition that our schools find themselves in in terms of class size, in terms of schools not having nurses and librarians, educators that have not gotten a pay increase for seven years, that absolutely determines for us that we have got to pursue our Schools LA Students Deserve campaign aggressively,” he said.

Listen to the full report KNX report here: