As LAUSD Teachers Prepare to Strike, One Central Question: Where’s the Money?

Labor News

Los Angeles teachers, who are about to go on strike, put forward a central demand for education funding during a rally downtown in December. (Damian Dovarganes / AP)

Reprinted from The Los Angeles Times by 

The message has been clear for months from the president of the Los Angeles teachers union: Not only does the L.A. Unified School District have no deficit, it has a huge reserve, more than large enough to meet the union’s demands for higher wages, smaller classes and schools staffed every day with the supportive services they need.

That’s partly true: The district hasn’t recently had deficits, but Alex Caputo-Pearl is ignoring future projections.

L.A. schools Superintedant Austin Beutner has seemed just as certain when he declares the district on the brink of insolvency.

That could be true, but if it is, why is the district able to offer any pay raises?

In the intense dispute between Los Angeles Unified and United Teachers Los Angeles, hyperbole, passion and spin have often trumped fairness, moderation and neutrality.

That’s been especially the case in the tense immediate run-up to a teachers’ strike that is set to begin Monday in the nation’s second-largest school system. After the district made a new offer Friday, which the union quickly rejected, no further negotiations were scheduled for the weekend. Meanwhile, 31,000 union members readied to walk picket lines as the district scrambled to keep schools open with substitutes, reassigned office workers and skeletal staff. …

LA Times 1/13

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Jeff Burman represents assistant editors on the Guild’s Board of Directors. He can be reached at

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