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LAUSD Makes New Offer To Teachers Union. Union Leaders Call It A 'Trojan Horse'

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Los Angeles Unified school administrators made a new contract offer to the district's teachers union Tuesday, proposing to give United Teachers Los Angeles members almost all of the salary increase they'd been demanding throughout a protracted fight over a new contract.

The development comes after months of LAUSD officials insisting UTLA's contract demands are too costly -- a stalemate that has brought the two sides to the brink of a possible teachers strike that would affect more than 480,000 students.

But UTLA officials say the new offer includes a "Trojan horse" -- a provision that union leaders say would lock in larger class sizes than the union wants and grant LAUSD officials even greater latitude to increase class sizes in the future.

"Beutner is trying to buy us off with a raise," UTLA leaders wrote in a message to the union's 30,000 members last night, "while simultaneously increasing class sizes [and] reducing retiree healthcare for new employees."

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LAUSD officials responded to that claim with this statement:

Here's a summary of the LAUSD's new offer, which the district sent by email Tuesday to UTLA leaders:

A BIGGER SALARY INCREASE

LAUSD is offering an across-the-board 6 percent increase in salaries. That breaks down like this: 3 percent retroactive to July 2017 and another 3 percent for this year.

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That raise represents the district's largest salary offer to date. As recently as September, the district had been offering a 2 percent increase plus a one-time bonus.

Since last July, UTLA has been pushing for a 6.5 percent increase.

The district still wants teachers to do more work in exchange for more money. LAUSD had proposed requiring teachers to complete 12 additional hours of training each year to earn the raise, and that provision remains part of the district's new offer -- much to the union's chagrin.

But the district has dropped its Sept. 25 demand to make the teachers' raise contingent on the district's fiscal health.

A NEW CLASS SIZE DEAL

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LAUSD proposes to lock in the current class size arrangement through 2020 -- which would mean UTLA leaders would have to settle for class sizes that are larger than they'd hoped to negotiate into the contract.

LAUSD also proposes getting rid of a provision that lets the district unilaterally increase class sizes as a cost-saving measure. But in its place, LAUSD proposes a new set of conditions that would allow the district to increase class sizes -- a set of triggers that UTLA says "are actually worse."

CHANGES TO RETIREE BENEFITS

The district proposes requiring newly-hired teachers to work for longer to be eligible for retiree health benefits. The district would replace the current "Rule of 85" with a new "Rule of 87" -- a teacher's age plus her years of district service would have to total 87 in order for her to qualify. (The rules for current teachers would remain the same.)

LAUSD office staff, janitors, cafeteria workers and other classified employees have already agreed to the "Rule of 87."

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The district also proposes preparing a "plain language" summary of the contract and an "adjustment" to how teachers earn credit for training they receive.

For more background on how this contract dispute got to this point, check out this piece in which we run down all of the major issues and break down all of the main talking points.


UPDATES:

4:45 p.m. This story was updated with a tweet including the LAUSD's statement.

1:30 p.m.: This post was updated to clarify that the district's offer on retiree benefits would not affect current teachers.


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