LA Unified, teachers still face challenges over contract and charter school moratorium

The Los Angeles Unified school board’s quick ratification Tuesday of a two-year teachers contract and then approval of a resolution asking the Legislature to adopt a temporary moratorium on charter schools in the district will go a long way toward restoring peace with United Teachers Los Angeles.

But the board’s actions also create challenges and tensions on two new fronts: with the Los Angeles County Office of Education, which is giving the district 45 days to show how the contract it called financially “not sustainable” will pencil out, and in Sacramento, where a charter moratorium would require an amendment to the state’s charter law. The idea will face opposition from a still-strong charter school lobby.

“There aren’t enough good schools in Los Angeles; the school board shouldn’t be limiting options for parents who want them,” said Myrna Castrejón, president and CEO of the California Charter Schools Association.

The contract, resolving a six-day walkout by 30,000 teachers, grants a 6 percent raise to teachers and calls for spending $403 million to hire hundreds more nurses, counselors and librarians. It also calls for gradually lowering class sizes, which are frequently 38 to 40 students, over three years. But a county financial analysis of the contract’s impact, released only hours before the school board vote, found that the district’s near $2 billion in financial reserves this year would be spent down to $74 million in 2020-21, falling under the state’s 1 percent minimum reserve cushion, then mushroom to a $500 million deficit in 2021-22. Click here to read more: