United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), the union that represents LAUSD's teachers, librarians and social workers, last week narrowly voted in favor of a contract that would reduce the length of the school year, add more furlough days and cut 1,300 jobs.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the one-year contract was voted on by two-thirds of UTLA's membership and passed by a margin of 58-percent to 42-percent. For comparison sake, last year's contract was passed by 86-percent of UTLA's membership.
The school board approved the one-year pact Tuesday. Under the agreement, teachers would forfeit as much as 10 days of pay and the 2012-13 school year could be reduced to 175 days from 180. It would be the fourth straight academic year shortened because of budget cutbacks. More than 1,300 UTLA members still would lose their jobs because of declining enrollment, reduced state and federal funding, and program cuts.
According to 's UTLA representative Monica Whalen, the new contract will cut teachers salary by 5-percent across the board.
"This is not a good contract for teachers," Whalen said.
While declining to disclose how she voted, Whalen said the contract passed because UTLA had failed to prepare any alternatives.
"UTLA has not organized its people. We haven't done anything to get ready for a strike. We didn't have an alternate option, and people don't want to see other people lose their jobs," Whalen said. "We made the sacrifice because it was in the best interest of the kids."
During the lengthy negotiations, LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy sent out 10,000 layoff notices to teachers--cuts that were threatened should the union not agree to a contract that helped reduce the district's more than $500 million deficit.
Whalen said many teachers are still unsure if their layoff notices will be rescinded.
"People don't know if their [layoff notices] are gonna be rescinded," Whalen said. "My daughter's in preschool and her teacher is amazing, and we don't know if she's going to be there next year."