UTLA Reaches Agreement with LAUSD; Centrally Funded Arts Teachers Restored
United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) members voted to approve an agreement reached earlier this month with the Los Angeles Unified School District. While the vote saves thousands of jobs in the district, including centrally funded arts education staff, it does so at the expense of five days of student instruction and an additional five days of teacher furlough.
In response to the vote, UTLA president Warren Fletcher described in a written statement how UTLA’s agreement with LAUSD helped avoid a twenty-five percent boost in elementary school class sizes and complete elimination of adult education, School Readiness Language Development Program (SRLDP), and early childhood education. Also on the chopping block were physical education, nursing services, libraries, counseling services, arts education, and several other programs.
LAUSD proposed the changes in the wake of a five-year budget crisis with a cumulative loss of $2.7 billion. According to “LAUSD Budget Realities,” a website maintained by the district, 8,000 LAUSD employees have lost their jobs in the last four years. The district maintains grim projections about its future.
The contract approved by UTLA covers only a single year of instruction. Teachers in the district who retain their jobs will have their pay reduced in conjunction with ten days of furlough. Of the subtracted work days, five affect student instruction, effectively reducing LAUSD’s academic year by one week. According to covering the Los Angeles Times, the move will save more than 4,000 jobs, while 1,300 employees will be cut for the coming year. Non-centrally funded arts education teachers will not return to their positions based on the terms of this agreement.
UTLA members include school district workers from teachers to nurses, counselors, and librarians, among others. About sixty-five percent of UTLA members participated in the vote, which showed fifty-eight percent of the voters approving the agreement.
Arts for LA has provided an outline for preserving arts education programs throughout the district by tapping into available resources at the state level. You can read more about Arts for LA's recommendations by clicking here.