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News > World

LA Teachers To Strike This Week, District Hires Subs

  • Teachers march in support of education reforms as they undergo a strike in Oklahoma.

    Teachers march in support of education reforms as they undergo a strike in Oklahoma. | Photo: Reuters

Published 2 January 2019

The nations second biggest school district will strike Thursday and Friday for a pay raise. Educators say district is 'irresponsible' for hiring sub replacements.

Los Angeles school district teachers are going on strike Jan. 10 if a new contract is not reached with L.A. officials who are hiring hundreds of non-union substitutes to fill in for boycotting educators.

Arizona Teachers Get A Raise, But Not The One They Wanted

Superintendent Austin Beutner, a former investment banker, said the nation's second-largest district, with more than 640,000 students, was hiring about 400 substitutes to keep schools open.

“We have hired substitutes, we have made plans as to alternate curriculums for days that there is a strike but our goal is to make sure schools are safe and open so kids continue to learn. My concern first and foremost is the safety and well being of our students,” said Beutner according to the Los Angeles Daily News.

United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) representing about 34,000 educators (including substitutes) in L.A. released a statement calling the district’s strike-breaking scheme “irresponsible”:

“It is outrageously irresponsible for Supt. Austin Beutner to force this strike when the district holds $1.9 billion in reserves and it is even more irresponsible to think that 400 substitutes can educate more than 600,000 students,” read the statement. “We believe that it is illegal for the district to hire people outside our bargaining unit to teach in LAUSD classrooms,” they added.

The district and the union have been in contract negotiations for over one and a half years to no concrete deal. UTLA says the district isn’t showing all its cards and has more resources than it claims to pay them the demanded 6.5 percent pay raise and hire more counselors, nurses, social workers and librarians. Beutner’s administration says the district cannot afford these requests and says the district could be insolvent in a few years.

According to the Washington Post, a fact-finding panel said that teachers deserve a raise but that the district can afford only the six percent being offered.

Many L.A. teachers are calling for the district to limit its funding to charter schools that are not required to follow all educational rules that traditional public schools are and that may be draining the district of resources.

 Teachers Strikes Expected in 2019

The L.A. strike that comes after teachers in Arizona, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Oklahoma all won concessions post major boycotts in April and May of 2018, which are influencing teachers to strike in Oakland, California for more state funding and resources.

“I am tired of being told that there isn’t enough money to pay teachers more or buy books for my colleague’s classrooms,” Deirdre Snyder, treasurer of the Oakland Education Association, told the crowd of educators at their Oakland gathering. “I am tired of being told that there isn’t enough money by Democrats who say that they support labor and human rights. We have work to do in California.”

The L.A. district employs 60,000 people and the UTLA represents over 34,000 educators including some substitutes.

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