In LA, teach­ers ap­pear headed to huge strike

The Island Packet - - Stay Connected - BY CHRISTO­PHER WE­BER As­so­ci­ated Press

A mas­sive teach­ers strike in Los An­ge­les, the na­tion’s sec­ond-largest school dis­trict, is all but in­evitable start­ing Mon­day after the two sides did not re­new ne­go­ti­a­tions over the week­end.

Talks broke down Fri­day when the teach­ers’ union re­jected as “woe­fully in­ad­e­quate” a new of­fer from the LA Uni­fied School Dis­trict.

With no new dis­cus­sions sched­uled, pick­ets are likely to be­gin at 7 a.m. as teach­ers stand firm on stick­ing points in­clud­ing higher pay and smaller class sizes.

Schools will stay open if a walk­out hap­pens. The dis­trict, with 640,000 stu­dents, has hired hun­dreds of sub­sti­tutes to re­place teach­ers and oth­ers who leave.

The union has said it was “ir­re­spon­si­ble” to hire subs and called on par­ents to con­sider keep­ing stu­dents home or join marchers if a strike goes for­ward.

The dis­trict’s lat­est of­fer in­cluded adding nearly 1,200 teach­ers, coun­selors, nurses and li­brar­i­ans to schools, re­duc­ing class sizes by two stu­dents, and cap­ping class sizes to be­tween 32 and 39 stu­dents, de­pend­ing on age and cur­ricu­lum.

The of­fer also in­cluded the dis­trict’s pro­posed 6 per­cent salary in­crease over the first two years of a three-year con­tract.

The union, United Teach­ers Los An­ge­les, wants a 6.5 per­cent hike that would take ef­fect all at once and be retroac­tive to fis­cal 2017. Union of­fi­cials said some of the dis­trict’s pro­pos­als would ex­pire after a year, call­ing it dis­re­spect­ful.

“We are at an im­passe,” union pres­i­dent Alex Ca­puto-Pearl said Fri­day.

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