LAUSD Out Maneuvers UTLA in Public Relations
Students need low class sizes, psychologists, counselors, librarians and teachers that are motivated to do one of the toughest jobs in America, yet the dictators of public funds always cry poverty in the face of reasonable demands. Their number one tool is propaganda to manipulate public opinion. As we discuss the School Board and Bernie it is important we don’t lose site of the budget.
UTLA leadership did a great job exposing LAUSD for hoarding money but has not followed through on the central demand of the strike, to actually get the district to spend this surplus on the students.
The city supported us in the strike because of our righteous demand to spend the surplus on the students. Yet one year later we see the ending balances continue to grow to $2.22 billion, while students go without additional services, sit in crowded classrooms, and suffer counselor ratios over 500 to 1 . A month before the LA teacher’s strike a state appointed fact finding panel confirmed that a $1.86 billion surplus existed. The billionaire superintendent immediately responded in a press conference espousing the structural deficit myth and projecting a $500 million operating budget for fiscal year 2018-2019.
The Superintendent was off by Over $700 mil!
An examination of the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 year end unaudited actuals show there was actually a surplus of $220 million (the year end balance for 2018 was $1.99 billion, and the year end balance for 2019 was $2.22 billion). The superintendent and his team was off by over $700 million! This is quite an accounting error. Regardless, the available funds could have covered roughly 2,000 new positions, or 2 per school.
How many new positions were hired a result of the strike? Four days before we walked out, the district’s offer was up to $130 million for staffing of 1,200 positions which included teachers, a full time nurse at every school, an additional counselor at each high school and more librarians. In a district with 1,000 schools this is roughly one extra position per school. We didn’t feel this was enough, were determined to get more for our students and moved forward toward the work stoppage. The two sides entered into closed negotiations as the strike began, so it remains unclear exactly how much additional investment was made as a result of the work stoppage. What is clear is that there was no additional staffing at most schools in 2019-2020.
New Leadership is Needed to Fight for Budget Transparency and Win a True Teacher’s Contract.
It is clear we need to continue the public pressure on LAUSD to use ALL our, taxpayer resources to fully fund public schools. Unlike for profit companies, non profit institutions like public school districts are supposed to use all their resources on their public mission, not hoard it. A budget committee is needed at UTLA to study every move the district makes with taxpayer money along with an ongoing public campaign around district finances. For the sake of teachers and students, the money hoarders must be driven from the district now!
Union Power, the caucus that runs UTLA refuses to continue this fight for budget transparency. Since the end of strike they have completely dropped the main rallying cry of the growing reserve and adopted LAUSD language of a structural deficit driving the district into insolvency in a few years.
A Caucus of Rank and File Educators, CORE-LA, has emerged to fight for full funding our our schools. We are not afraid to speak truth to power and call out the traitors. Our platform is to end privatization, stop budget manipulation of LAUSD, win a true teacher’s contract, and activate parents and students to fight for their schools rather than waste teacher money on privatizer friendly politicians. CORE-LA will lead teachers forward, Union Power will pacify teachers to accept the status quo. Contact us through our website or on facebook. If you are a UTLA member vote Soni Lloyd for president.