L.A. school board approves shorter school year, employee pay cuts
The Los Angeles Board of Education on Tuesday approved a labor deal that could preserve thousands of jobs but would shorten the school year by up to a week and reduce teacher salaries as much as 5%.
Members of the teachers union, United Teachers Los Angeles, also must approve the pact. They are scheduled to vote starting Wednesday.
The agreement would not prevent all cost-cutting: More than 1,300 members of UTLA still are expected to lose jobs. The teachers union represents nurses, counselors, psychiatric social workers and psychologists as well as instructors.
Another employee union, Local 99 of Service Employees International, is among those that already have voted for the 10-day furlough. Local 99 represents about 15,000 cafeteria workers, custodians, bus drivers and teaching aides. About 1,000 of these workers are still expected to lose jobs, but about 6,000 others who were at risk will keep their positions, according to the union.
About 70% of those casting ballots favored the agreement although fewer than 5% voted. The ballots were tallied over the weekend.
“This decision was not made lightly,” said Local 99 President Edward Reed, a bus driver. “Ten furlough days will be a hardship on our families. At the same time, in these difficult economic times, we understand that we must do our part.”
L.A. schools Supt. John Deasy expressed gratitude to employees for accepting one-year salary reductions for the fourth consecutive year.
“This doesn’t solve every problem—it can’t,” he said. “It does say to students that the adults around you will do almost anything to help you.”
“Our labor partners and employees have been the ones to step up year after year to sacrifice,” said school board member Steve Zimmer, “so that we can remain as whole as possible.”
-- Howard Blume
Photo: L.A. Unified Board President Monica Garcia, right, and Supt. John Deasy attend a board meeting in March. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times