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UTLA negotiations resume, new charter campus, ‘Grinchmas’

Craig Clough | December 4, 2014

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school report buzzNegotiators for UTLA and LA Unified are meeting for another contact bargaining session today, the first since mid-November.

UTLA did not respond when asked what topics might be on the table today, but the previous session saw UTLA adding to its demands to include supports for displaced educators, improved UTLA representation for substitute educators facing termination, clean and safe schools, improved grievance procedures to deal with unfair treatment by principals and increased school-based decision-making regarding Breakfast in the Classroom.

On the hot-button issue of salary, the district is reportedly still sticking to its offer of 2 percent, while the the union wants 10 percent.

Facebook faceoff for UTLA

Quite a few UTLA members were not pleased with the union’s leadership after it issued a press release regarding a Ferguson, Missouri grand jury’s decision not to indict a police officer for a fatal shooting with racial overtones that has sparked protests nationwide. The statement was a simple, short one, calling on “law enforcement agencies in Los Angeles and other cities to reexamine how their departments interact with people of color.”

In response to the union’s Faceook post about the statement, many UTLA members sounded off and voiced displeasure that leaders were weighing in on a national issue. One post read, “UTLA…Please take care of UTLA business and work on contract negotiations. You represent the teachers of LAUSD in SCHOOL matters….don’t make statements about other areas as our representatives.”

The number of angry posts was enough to prompt a response from UTLA leaders that said the officers “want to assure you that they are focusing on your top priorities in bargaining with the District.”

The post also included a statement from UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl, who wrote, “Regarding our statement on the Ferguson grand jury decision, UTLA has a long-standing policy against police brutality, and many unions within the labor movement nation-wide have expressed concern about the events in Ferguson.”

Middle school uses crowdfunding for new computers

Friends of Palms, a nonprofit organization that includes parents, friends, and families of children who attend Palms Middle School, have started an indiegogo campaign with the hope of purchasing 13 Apple iMac computers for use in the school’s outdated computer lab. They need $20,437 and as of this morning have raised $4,125.

“By helping us provide new computers to our library, you will greatly inspire and help our students to work more efficiently,” said Keith McKnight, a member of Friends of Palms, according to Digital Journal. “It will enhance their learning experience and enable them to complete their assignments on time.”

New $19.8 million charter school campus

ICEF Public Schools (ICEF), a network of 12 charter schools in South Los Angeles and Inglewood, announced this week that its flagship View Park Preparatory Elementary and middle schools will move to a new 54,000 square-foot campus currently being constructed with the use of $19.8 million bond issue from the California School Finance Authority (CSFA).

“ICEF not only stands for education, but it also represents an organization that has spent the last 15 years investing in the youth of south Los Angeles and Inglewood,” said former LA Mayor Richard Riordan, chairman of ICEF’s board of directors, in a press release. “The new View Park K-8 facility represents ICEF’s financial investment and commitment to its students and the community for the next 15 years and beyond.”

Guess who’s meeting the mayor of ‘Whoville’

About 200 LA Unified students are meeting Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti today, as well as “Whoville” Mayor Augustus Maywho, who will be helping a host of Whos light the Whoville tree at Universal Studios as part of its annual “Grinchmas” holiday attraction, according to City News Service. The attraction will be open at various times through Jan. 3.

Band and Drill Team Championships

More than 2,500 high school students from 32 LA Unified high schools are gearing up for the 40th Annual Band and Drill Team Championships taking place at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday at East Los Angeles College.

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