by Neetu Chandak
The Los Angeles Unified School District’s (LAUSD) superintendent claims the first day of teacher strikes on Monday cost the district $25 million.
LAUSD superintendent Austin Beutner got this number based on student attendance, which determines the district’s funding, and the number of people not at work, according to a Tuesday conference.
He clarified $10 million of the $25 million was from wages of people not at work.
“About $15 million that would have been better spent to reduce class size, to hire more nurses, counselors, librarians… Each day we should be asking ourselves, ‘Why can’t we get this solved?’ Let’s finish this contract. Let’s put that behind us. Let’s move forward. Let’s get back to Sacramento, where I was last week. Let’s keep working for more funding so we can do more at our schools,” Beutner said, according to ABC 7.
Teachers represented by the United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) union walked out of classes Monday to protest higher pay and smaller class sizes, among other issues. LAUSD claims UTLA’s demands are unreasonable as the district currently runs an annual $500 million deficit.
Nearly 600,000 students are in the district. LAUSD saw 141,631 attend classes Monday, though this is not the final count with reports from 54 schools missing as of Monday afternoon. The district also received nearly 3,000 calls from family members and parents of students.
California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom called on LAUSD and UTLA to get back to the negotiating table.
“This impasse is disrupting the lives of too many kids and their families,” Newsom said in a statement Monday. “I strongly urge all parties to go back to the negotiating table and find an immediate path forward that puts kids back into classrooms and provides parents certainty.”
UTLA says more than 50,000 teachers, parents, students and community members were part of the strike, however.
Big name Democrats like New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, California Sen. Kamala Harris and Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard support the strike.
These LA teachers striking against privatization + demanding smaller classrooms/more support for their students is a whole 2019 mood
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) January 14, 2019
Los Angeles teachers work day in and day out to inspire and educate the next generation of leaders. I'm standing in solidarity with them as they strike for improved student conditions, such as smaller class sizes and more counselors and librarians. https://t.co/WcUdrSOk7D
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) January 14, 2019
— Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) January 15, 2019
LAUSD and UTLA did not immediately respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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