Strike date changed to Monday, January 14

Actions you can take to support our teachers

  1. Wear red to show solidarity.

  2. Don’t cross the picket line.

  3. Coordinate with other parents for childcare so that you can have the option to keep your kids home during the strike, if that feels right.


Is there a Teacher’s Strike happening in Jan? 

Yes. The teachers have announced that they will begin their strike on January 10.

The teacher's union, UTLA, was in negotiations with LAUSD about increased pay for teachers, smaller class sizes, daily on-site nurses, etc. Those negotiations reached an impasse. UTLA held a vote among their members and 98% voted to strike, if needed. The labor negotiation process has run its course and the teachers are now legally permitted to strike.

What about the message sent by LAUSD on January 2nd?

I got that message, too. A lot of the teachers’ requests were granted, and it looks like they are getting closer. 

The district is offering about 1% of additional funding for increasing the number of staff (teachers, nurses, or librarians), the fact-finder recommended 1-3%, and the union wants 3%. Everything about class size reduction, nurses, and librarians hinges on this amount, so I think the union will probably try to hold out. 1% is enough to do one out of those three things, but not all three of them (Or to do them only in some of the schools but not all of them, which is not equitable).

Some other big sticking points are still:

1) Class size — the district is allowed to ‘waive’ class size requirements if they say they don’t have enough money and the union is very concerned that this will happen. The union therefore wants to change that clause and the fact-finder agreed with the union. 

2) Health care in retirement – the district wants to increase the age at which benefits kick in for new employees and the fact-finder agreed that was appropriate. The union doesn’t want to give in about this.

3) There were about a dozen other proposals that the union made that the district simply didn’t address in that email.

The good news is that UTLA offered to go back to the negotiation table on Monday, Jan 7. I hope that happens and they can resolve things. I honestly don’t know what will happen, but let’s keeping sending positive energy to our teachers!

What did the neutral fact-finder conclude?

There is lots of competing information about whether or not the district can afford the union demands. As part of the process, the district and teachers submitted their cases to a neutral fact-finder. The fact finder concluded that 1-3% of additional spending on staff for reducing class sizes and increasing the number of school nurses and librarians is “are affordable at this time given the current reserve levels and anticipated deficit spending in the coming years.”

What happens if there is a strike? 
All public schools (including ours) will remain open. Anyone who wants or needs to send their kids to school can do so. Most likely, our students would be divided into groups significantly larger than their usual class sizes (they will not be able to get subs for every class); the district says they are "still working out" a possible cap on class sizes. Administrators may be reassigned to teaching duties, and the district plans to send support staff to assist with supervising students. 

What if I want to volunteer at school, to help during the strike?
If you have been cleared to volunteer at Balboa, then you can do so during the strike. But you should be aware that you will be crossing the picket line to do so.

There will be a picket line? 
Yes, our teachers and participating families will probably be picketing in front of our school. However, legally, no one is allowed to block entrances or prevent school buses from unloading students. As always, I would hope that our community treat each other with kindness and respect. Student may walk the picket line if they choose, but they must have parental supervision.

What if I want to keep my kids home, but can’t because of work obligations?
I recommend you look into sharing childcare with friends or family, researching/hiring babysitters, and exploring other options. It would be great if Balboa parents could band together to help coordinate shared childcare.  

What if I want to keep my kids home, but can’t for financial/legal reasons?
We recognize that some people have to send their kids to school for financial or legal reasons (for example, in accordance with custody agreements). If you want, you can still walk the picket line in the morning before school starts and/or send your kids to class wearing red.

What does it mean to wear red?
Wearing red is considered a sign of support for teachers. It is inspired by the pro-union teachers protests in Arizona, where they coined the hashtag #Red4Ed. Traditionally, people wear red on Tuesdays. But as the likelihood of a strike increases, any day is now considered appropriate to wear red.

What if we just take a long vacation?
For those of you tempted to extend your winter holidays, to avoid dealing with the strike, please keep in mind that every day your kid misses school, our school loses funding. For families who wish to support our teachers, the point is to stay home ONLY during the strike, in order to send a message. Taking extra vacation days in January dilutes this message and hurts the school financially.

How much will the strike cost our district?
The district loses about $68 for every day a student misses school. 

How long will the strike last?

We don’t know. But the last LAUSD strike, which took place in 1989, lasted 9 days. The strike this year in West Virginia lasted 8 days, the one in Arizona lasted 6 days, and the one in Chicago lasted 4 days.