More than 50 Los Angeles Unified School District teachers and staff joined union officials today at a rally for what they are calling a seven-year, overdue pay increase as contract negations with the district are ongoing, with one official saying the option of a strike remains on the table.
District officials are in contract negotiations with United Teachers Los Angeles, the union that represents LAUSD teachers and staff. Last week, the district offered a 2 percent raise for all teachers for the current school year, with another 2 percent increase next year.
The union, which represents 35,000 teachers and other staff, rejected the 2 percent raise. It has been seeking a 17.6 percent increase over several years.
Superintendent John Deasy declined to comment because of ongoing negotiations with the union.
The union's board of directors rejected the 2 percent offer last week, saying it failed to address concerns about class sizes, staffing and fair compensation.
"That is nothing short of an insult to the teachers and the health and human service professionals at LAUSD," UTLA President Warren Fletcher said at a news conference outside the UTLA headquarters in downtown Los Angeles.
The union has complained that teachers have gone without a pay increase for seven years.
Fletcher said a strike would be an extraordinary action.
"A strike is always extraordinary action, but a strike is always on the table," Fletcher said, adding that the union is ready to respond to any reasonable offer. "I'll let you know when I see one."
Erika Jones, a teacher at Angeles Mesa Elementary School, said she wants to see investment in more classrooms.
"It's time for us to turn this around and get the schools our students deserve," Jones said.
The district's Board of Education is expected to finalize the budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year in mid-June. The next meeting is set for June 10.
--City News Service