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Tentative pact would restore some LAUSD clerks, library aides

September 26, 2011 |  7:13 pm

Photo: Library aide Mary Bates reads, "The Giving Tree," to kindergarten and first grade students in the library at Burton Elementary School in Panormam City. She works six hours a week and LAUSD wants to cut her to three hours a week. Credit: Anne Cusack /Los Angeles Times Under mounting public pressure and amid worry about unmanageable campuses, Los Angeles Unified School District officials and a union representing non-teaching employees announced a tentative agreement Monday that is expected to restore close to 400 financial managers, clerical staff and library aides.

The agreement, which falls well short of a full restoration, must be ratified by the Board of Education and Local 500 of the California School Employees Assn. Union negotiators also agreed to four furlough days.

“I’m very pleased that we were able to get to this and save valuable employees,” said L.A. schools Supt. John Deasy.

The district “started to recognize the chaos that's going to happen at schools,” said Espie Medellin, president of Local 500. 

The district laid off nearly 800 workers as of Friday; their health benefits expire at the end of the month. Bringing many of them back to work could take several weeks.

The district has pledged $8 million toward job restorations. Some of the funds will come from $55 million unspent from last year’s budget, Deasy said. He added that most of that money needs to be held in reserve because of potential midyear cuts in state funding.

Much of the recent parent anger over the cuts has been directed at the closing of elementary school libraries. Some of those positions will be restored, but Deasy said other priorities may take precedence, such as middle school financial managers and clerical staff needed to keep schools operating.

Non-teaching employees in Local 500 have seen their numbers shrink to about half in recent years. They’ve also adjusted to shorter work years and reduced workdays. But the deal will include an effort to keep part-time employees working at least four hours a day -- the threshold for health benefits.

“Health benefits for these families is critical,” said union field representative Connie Moreno.

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-- Howard Blume

Photo: Library aide Mary Bates reads "The Giving Tree" to students at Burton Elementary in Panorama City. Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times

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