Potential end to LAUSD teachers’ strike, agreement pending approval


Rosa Lemus

Teachers gathered outside of Daniel Pearl Magnet High School to picket on Jan. 18.

Itzel Luna and Casey Wanatick

Teachers across the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) may finally walk through school doors again after a tentative agreement was reached between LAUSD and United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA).

The agreement was made after 21 hours of bargaining at City Hall that concluded at 6:13 A.M. on Tuesday. Bargaining occurred under the supervision of Mayor Eric Garcetti and was announced in a press conference Tuesday morning. If the agreement is made official, teachers will return to school as early as Wednesday.

The deal consisted of a 3% salary increase retroactive for the 2017-2018 school year and another 3% salary boost retro to July 1, 2018. Section 1.5 of the previous contract that allowed the district to ignore class size averages and caps will be eliminated. Math and English classes in secondary schools will be immediately reduced by seven students from 46 students to 39 according to a tweet by UTLA.

English and math classes in grades 4-12 will also be reduced by one student during the 2019-2020 school year, followed by another student during the 2020-2021 school year and two students during the 2021-2022 school year.

By norm day of 2022, class sizes must comply with the chart provided by the UTLA agreement summary. However, this will only occur in math and English classes. All other class sizes including Physical Education, History, Science and elective classes will remain the same.  

The deal also includes LAUSD hiring 150 full-time nurses for the 2019-2020 school year and another 150 for the 2020-2021 school year. Forty-one full-time librarians will be hired for the 2019-2020 school year and 41 for the 2020-2021 school year along with 17 full-time counselors by Oct. 1, which will create a student-counselor ratio of 500:1 in every secondary school.

If the agreement is approved, the district will pay for Daniel Pearl Magnet High School’s (DPMHS) Guidance Counselor Martina Torres to work full time. Previously, Torres was paid to work only two days by the district and the rest of the week was paid for by DPMHS’ title one funding. In addition, DPMHS will receive a full-time nurse, instead of being provided with a nurse only once a week on Fridays.

The district will also allow the Board of Education (BOE) to vote on a resolution to establish a charter school cap, meaning that the district can only spend a certain amount of money on charter schools and will allow teachers to vote before converting to a magnet school.

Other major issues solved by the tentative agreement include extending a pilot program that will exempt schools from administrating random searches, reducing standardized testing by 50 percent and diminishing the threat of co-location. The district plans to improve caseload caps on special education, early educations workers and designate up to 30 community schools by 2020.

The agreement still has to be approved by the BOE and UTLA members before it becomes official. Voting is currently taking place. The BOE is scheduled to meet to sign off on the agreement.

If the deal is approved, the historic six-day-long strike will end and teachers will return to their jobs with a new deal intact.

Update: UTLA leaders announced at 7:30 P.M. that preliminary results showed “overwhelming supermajority” approval for the agreement. Students absent due to the strike are expected to attend on Wednesday, as well as teachers.