The LA teachers strike is about to end, thanks to a tentative deal

After six days and more than $125 million in lost revenue, the Los Angeles teachers' strike is almost over.The United Teachers Los Angeles union and t...

Posted: Jan 22, 2019 1:37 PM
Updated: Jan 22, 2019 2:30 PM

After six days and more than $125 million in lost revenue, the Los Angeles teachers' strike is almost over.

The United Teachers Los Angeles union and the Los Angeles Unified School District struck a tentative deal Tuesday, ending a heated battle that's left 600,000 students in limbo.

'Pending approval of teachers and (the) board of education, we have an agreement that will allow teachers to go back to work on their campuses tomorrow,' Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Tuesday.

The deal was reached after a marathon 21-hour negotiating session that ended around dawn Tuesday morning, Garcetti said.

'It is a historic agreement,' said the mayor, who helped mediate the dueling sides. 'It gets to lower class sizes. It gets to proper support staff.'

LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner said the deal includes a 6% raise for teachers and a gradual decrease in class sizes in the next few years. He said more specifics will be released later Tuesday.

While union members still need to vote on the deal Tuesday, UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl said he expects the agreement to be approved.

He praised the more than 30,000 teachers and staff members who picketed for six days, often under cold rain.

'I'm so proud of our members, classroom teachers, counselors, nurses, librarians, psychologists,' Caputo-Pearl said.

He made those remarks during a news conference as he stood next to Beutner -- a symbolic sight, considering Beutner has been the target of intense UTLA criticism for months.

While both sides gathered in harmony Tuesday, 'the strike was painful, and it had a cost,' Garcetti said.

The first week of the strike cost the school district more than $125 million. That's because the state of California funds schools based on daily attendance, and the number of students going to school plunged during the strike.

Some parents said they purposefully kept their kids out of school in hopes that the money drain suffered by the district would lead to a resolution more quickly.

Why so many teachers toughed it out

For the past six school days, educators hit the picket lines to demand smaller class sizes, higher teacher salaries and more school nurses and counselors.

'We work with students every day who face trauma and face hardship,' Garfield High School teacher Erika Huerta said. 'So we're doing this as a life passion to improve our community.'

Teachers and students who joined them on the picket lines decried class sizes of 45 or more. They said many students aren't able to get enough individual attention to properly learn.

The school district said it also wanted smaller class sizes, bigger raises and better staffing.

'The issue has always been how do we pay for it,' Beutner said. 'We can't solve 40 years of underinvestment in public education in just one week, in just one contract.'

So the standoff between UTLA and LAUSD came down to two issues: how much money to spend on more school staffing and teachers' raises, and whether the school district actually has that kind of money.

The union wanted the school district to pony up more money to meet its demands, but LAUSD says its $1.8 billion in reserves is already earmarked for education spending during this three-year budget cycle.

Firefighters and celebrities join the fight

During their week-long strike, teachers received support from a barrage of actors, musicians and politicians.

On Tuesday, they got a big boost from members of the International Association of Firefighters, who are in Los Angeles for a conference this week.

'We stand with LA teachers,' read signs held by dozens of firefighters as they rallied during a parade Tuesday morning.

Some chanted 'fighting for justice' as they rode atop a fire truck. A sign posted on the front of the red truck said '#RedForEd' -- a familiar slogan from the wave of recent nationwide teachers' strikes.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 941120

Reported Deaths: 15315
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Ohio Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 1365800

Reported Deaths: 21596
CountyCasesDeaths
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Montgomery670271141
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Licking20487241
Fairfield20420221
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Trumbull19866509
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Clark17879328
Richland16314234
Portage16130229
Wood15681208
Allen14115256
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Muskingum12641152
Wayne11946238
Columbiana11708241
Tuscarawas10953269
Marion10725148
Pickaway10465129
Scioto10324127
Erie9747171
Ross9436176
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Geauga8173156
Belmont8140187
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Huron7423128
Union731851
Washington7183120
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Sandusky6848134
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Knox6671122
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Fulton530683
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Preble4994110
Putnam4833106
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Hocking301769
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Paulding242243
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Monroe189749
Noble169340
Morgan165829
Harrison157940
Vinton138118
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