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A letter from Cortines reflects deep divisions with teachers union

LA School Report | December 19, 2014

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UTLA contract proposal to DeasyA bargaining update from LA Unified Superintendent Ramon Cortines yesterday to district employees may prove ominous for the teachers union, UTLA, and ultimately the district’s 650,000 students.

In his three-page review of negotiations so far, Cortines concedes that all workers “deserve additional salary increases, particularly in view of the recent past years of salary freezes and furlough days that were necessary to save jobs and survive the Recession.”

But he warns that any raise must be based upon “available resources.”

“The District’s 2014-15 budget is now balanced and fully committed with its current offer on top of all other expense commitments,” he wrote. “The District has offered to open its books should UTLA have any questions about its budget condition.”

Is he signaling that the district will not budge from a 2 percent salary raise that other unions have accepted, no matter how LA Unified might sweeten the pot with one-time bonuses?

To recap: In its latest offer, the district would give the teachers a 2 percent bonus for last year, a 2 percent bonus for the year approaching and the 2 percent raise — payouts that equate to $150 million, according to the district.

The union has asked for 17.6 percent over two years, 10 percent over one year and, it’s latest demand, 9 percent over one year.

Cortines’s message reviews other issues, including evaluations, class size and thw way cases of alleged misconduct are handled.

But nothing in the letter would lead anyone to assume major progress is underway.


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