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Port of LA High faculty seeks to join UTLA after principal resigns

Craig Clough | October 29, 2014

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Former Port of Los Angeles High School Principal Tom Scotti. UTLA

Former Port of Los Angeles High School Principal Tom Scotti. (Credit:

After the unexpected resignation of their popular principal left some teachers, students and parents outraged, the faculty at Port of Los Angeles High School has voted to join United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA).

Hundreds of people attended the school’s board meeting on Monday and voiced anger over the resignation Tom Scotti, the principal who left Friday to work for another charter program, according to the Daily Breeze.

Scotti had been with the school since 2005, and his departure was seen by some as a response to his displeasure with the school’s top leadership, while others claimed he was forced out, according to the Daily Breeze.

The Daily Breeze also reported there is widespread discontent among students, parents and teachers with the school’s executive director, James Cross, and the move to join UTLA was in response to Scotti’s departure.

Port of Los Angeles High School is an independent charter school with 59 teachers and faculty. In an open letter to the Port of Los Angeles High School community that was presented to the board on Monday and signed by 86 percent of the faculty, teachers explained the move to join UTLA.

“A union will give us a voice and an integral involvement in our school. Our students deserve teachers who are free to express their opinion and who are active participants in the decisions that directly affect our students,” Spanish teacher Mary Marin wrote in the letter, according to a UTLA press release.

A petition was filed on Tuesday with the California State Public Employment Relations Board seeking recognition of UTLA as their union, and faculty will soon begin collective bargaining over wages, hours and conditions of employment, according to UTLA.  

UTLA represents over 900 teachers at independent charter schools in the Los Angeles area and has over 30,000 total members. 


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