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L.A. school officials approve job-saving pact that shortens school year

April 13, 2010 |  6:09 pm

Local schools officials Tuesday ratified a deal with the teachers union that will shorten the academic year by five days both this year and next. The pact, approved 7-0 by the Los Angeles Board of Education, saves the jobs of 1,280 permanent elementary teachers.

As a result, class sizes are expected to remain at the current 24 students per teacher in the early elementary grades. (Prior to this year, the maximum class size was 20 at that level.)

Also spared are 85 counselors at middle schools and high schools and 56 school nurses.

“I realize that pay cuts are especially hard at this time,” said board member Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte, who, like other top officials, commented in a district statement. “Our teachers and principals are heroes for agreeing to this necessary, but unwelcomed, change. It’s always good when people are not losing their jobs.”

The agreement saves an estimated $147 million. Other employee unions agreed to concessions in advance of the teachers.

Not all jobs have been saved.

Still at risk are 354 teachers without tenure protections. Many, if not all, had been rehired after being laid off last year, and they are likely to be laid off again.

Among hundreds remaining on the layoff list are psychologists, psychiatric social workers and librarians. Schools entitled to extra antipoverty funding will be able to rehire to fill some of these positions at their campuses.

District officials hope to preserve more jobs and services with a $100-per-parcel tax that voters will consider in June. That measure would raise $95.2 million annually for four years. The district has had to close a deficit estimated at $640 million for next year and $263 million the year after.

-- Howard Blume