Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Today's teachers' rallies for May 19 measures won't include UTLA

May 13, 2009 | 11:06 am

The state's largest teachers union has organized rallies across the state today to support the passage of the May 19 ballot propositions, but other teacher groups continue to oppose these measures, including the Los Angeles teachers union.

The 340,000-member California Teachers Assn. is staging the rallies under the banner of the state’s 27th annual (but little known) “Day of the Teacher.”

Scheduled local events included a “media availability” in Manhattan Beach this morning at Grand View Elementary with teachers and parents, who have posted a fundraising video on YouTube.

Teachers and parents in Tustin also will rally afterschool this afternoon, as will those in Oceanside and San Marcos.

Noticeably absent is United Teachers Los Angeles, which represents teachers in the nation’s second-largest school system, accounting for about 1 in 10 California students. Most UTLA members are affiliated with the California Teachers Assn. But instead of going along with the massive state union in supporting the propositions, Los Angeles sided instead with the smaller California Federation of Teachers.

The federation has become odd bedfellows with such anti-tax groups as the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn., which opposes virtually anything that resembles a tax increase. The stance of the federation comes from the opposite direction. The union opposes Proposition 1A, for example, because it would limit future efforts to raise and spend revenue on education and other social programs.

The federation has endorsed only Proposition 1B, which would restore money cut from schools starting in the 2011-12 budget year.  Prop. 1B doesn’t take effect unless Prop. 1A passes, so the federation is, in essence, asking for voters to approve 1B as a symbolic statement in support of public education.

UTLA differs from the federation only in its endorsement of Proposition 1F, which would bar legislators and statewide officials from receiving pay raises when the state is experiencing a budget shortfall.

The federation also has filed suit for a legal determination on how much money schools are owed under California law. The union contends that even Prop 1B, were it to take effect, could shortchange schools,  potentially by billions of dollars.

The position of the federation and UTLA involves some risk. If the May 19 measures collectively fail, California’s budget deficit would increase by about $6 billion, according to the nonpartisan state Legislative Analyst’s Office.  That shortfall, along with an increasingly dire economic forecast, could lead to pressure for greater cuts to education funding.

-- Howard Blume

Blume is twittering about budget woes in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Follow his updates at http://twitter.com/howardblume.