Alex Caputo (203163)

After eight weeks of bargaining on two reopener issues, United Teachers Los Angeles and Los Angeles Unified School District this week reached an agreement, pending a ratification vote by members.

This cycle of bargaining had a limited focus on two key issues: class size and educator development and support.

“It is rare for this much progress to be made in contract reopeners,” said UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl. “We made significant strides for students and our classrooms, and set a foundation for more improvements to public education in Los Angeles. We are proud that this agreement addresses equity for our highest-needs students.”

Key improvements to class size include:

• One additional full-time teacher at every secondary school for a new elective class or to reduce the class size of existing electives, such as visual and performing arts and ethnic studies.

• One additional full-time teacher for high-needs elementary schools to be used for class-size reduction in grades 4, 5 (or 6 if applicable), as ranked by the LAUSD student equity index.

• A cap of 55 students in PE classes for secondary schools

• District response time shortened from 30 to 15 days when caseloads are too large in Special Education.

• At secondary schools that have already have a Pupil Services and Attendance counselor or a Psychiatric Social Worker counselor in their local budget, the district will pay for an additional 17 days of work time.

Key improvements to educator development and support include a quicker turnaround from observation to feedback to educators in the classroom. It also includes continuing the work of the joint LAUSD and UTLA’s Educator Development and Support Committee, working collaboratively on professional development and career-long growth.

The reopeners are part of the current 2014-17 contract, which last year included a 10 percent salary increase and set the stage for a successful agreement this year.

A member ratification vote will take place at school sites over a three-day period between June 1 and June 3. Votes will be counted on Saturday, June 4. The agreement is also pending a vote by the School Board