By Gisselle Washington | Staff Writer |
On Jan. 14, more than 10,000 teachers from the Los Angeles Unified School District district went on strike because their requests not for funding and higher salaries were not being met; this included raising teachers pay by 6.5 percent and improve quality of education for the students such as a mandatory nurse in every elementary school, increased numbers of librarians and academic counselors, and slimming down class sizes. These have been granted Tuesday, Jan 22. to the extent of all these requests being met except for a raise of 6.5 percent to becoming a 6 percent raise.
Teachers standing in unison on strike to better education for LA students. Photo by Sandra Turner.
The district, which is the second largest in the United States, currently has 1.8 billion dollars in reserves which according to superintendent Austin Bueutner, “have already been ear-marked’’ for pensions and health benefits for the retired. The projected debt of the requests being made by the school district would be 3 million dollars and put the school district into bankruptcy.
The agreement deal between the school district and the teachers is reasonable for the requests being met. With 80 percent of the students being underserved and qualifying for free or reduced lunch, the quality of their education is at the priority and now can be met. The difficulty of a learning environment with 45 students more or less is now being reduced by six students per class. Expecting a greater amount of reduction in classes would require more funding which is being put towards increased teaching staff for the LA schools.
The decision to increase the teacher’s raise to 6 percent is practical given the state’s property tax laws that have limited school spending through Proposition 13 which narrowed tax rates.
The education of the students will be improved at the hands of California legislation through a local parcel tax in 2020 which will help finance these costs. Quality education for students is the utmost importance and as a society we need to better accommodate it.