After a week of voting at the end of August, teachers in LAUSD approved a strike against the district slated for early October. Teachers have been requesting a pay raise, smaller class sizes, and a full-time librarian and nurse proportionate to the school’s number of students, as well as many other demands.
Los Angeles Unified School District is struggling to give the teachers their demands because of budgeting reasons. Negotiations have been going on for almost 16 months and almost all of the proposals made to the district have been rejected.
The general atmosphere seems to suggest that the teachers are tired of waiting and want change now. Dr. Saul Langster, social studies teacher and on-campus representative for the teacher union, United Teachers Los Angeles, expressed that, ”We have been without a good contract for too long now and if we have to strike we will strike and if I have to go to jail I’m prepared to go to jail for the teachers in this district”.
Mr. Puentes, another teacher from HPHS that teaches government and head coach of the wrestling program, stated, ”the teachers in this school mold young minds and deserve better tools and incentives to better do that.”
Furthermore, the LAUSD Superintendent, Austin Beutner, and United Teachers Los Angeles President Alex Caputo-Pearl have had meetings together about the teacher’s strike and demands.
Beutner stated that “common ground” was found between the two. However, Caputo-Pearl expressed that “Beutner is trying to interfere with our strike vote.” Beutner was voted in as the new superintendent in May of this year after the former superintendent, Michelle King, had to step down after a medical leave. Superintendent Beutner comes from a business and political background, formerly working with the Clinton administration.
The strike is speculated to happen early October if negotiations fail. An administrator at HP, who chose to remain anonymous due to the subject of the article, mentioned that the school is prepared to “utilize as many substitutes as possible” and “maintain order and keep the students safe” if the strike does in fact occur.
Most teachers and, even administrators seem to be on the same page about the needs of the teachers, with one admin going as far as to say, “Whatever our teachers need, we got them, we’re here for them.”
Most teachers appear to be on board with the impending strike and the reasons for it happening. They are prepared to sacrifice their pay for their beliefs of having a better, well-funded school system.
Image Source: CBS Los Angeles
Written by Moises Zatarain, Opinions Editor