The Los Angeles Unified School District and the teachers union have reached a tentative agreement on a contract that provides a 21% wage increase over about three years.
The Los Angeles Times reports that the agreement with United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) also calls for additional pay increases in jobs that have been difficult to fill. These include an added $20,000 salary bump for nurses and $3,000 for school psychologists, psychiatric social workers, attendance counselors and other special services providers.
The UTLA represents about 35,000 district employees.
The pact also includes an extra $2,500 increase for special education teachers and a $1,500 raise for early education teachers. There’s long been a shortage of permanent teachers for students with disabilities. The early education field is growing with the expansion of transitional kindergarten as an optional grade for all 4-year-olds.
“This agreement with UTLA is a necessary step not only to make Los Angeles Unified the district of choice for families but also the district of choice for teachers and employees,” Los Angeles Supt. Alberto Carvalho said.
The UTLA also hailed the tentative contract.
"With this tentative agreement, LAUSD now has an opportunity to become one of the most successful school districts in the country," said UTLA President Cecily Myart Cruz.
In addition to the salary increase in the proposed agreement, the union called attention to provisions to reduce class sizes. Classes would be reduced by about two students per class over the life of the contract.
Caseloads for professionals such as counselors also will be reduced, but they remain large. The maximum caseload for a secondary school academic counselor would be lowered from 750 to 700.
The agreement must be ratified by the union membership and approved by the school board.
In agreeing to contract terms, UTLA also credited its participation in a three-day strike last month that was led by Local 99 of Service Employees International Union, which represents about 30,000 non-teaching district employees.