Today – Thursday, July 23, 2020 – LTA presented the district with the type of comprehensive reopening schools proposal that the district should have been prepared to give us weeks ago, with details on how to keep students and staff safe in every aspect of on-campus, in-person learning and, until then, specific demands on what teachers need to make distance education as rigorous and engaging for students as possible. Unlike the district’s proposal last week, LTA’s proposal is based on most current California State Department of Public Health “COVID-19 and Reopening In-Person Learning Framework for K-12 Schools in California, 2020-2021 School Year” and the most current Los Angeles County Department of Public Health “Protocol for COVID-19 Exposure Management Plan in K-12 Schools” regarding the reopening of schools and circumstances which would result in school/district closures, as well as Senate Bill 98’s direction on distance learning.
LTA also responded to the district’s proposal to officially conclude bargaining for the 2019-2020 cycle and begin the 2020-2021 cycle. This may seem like just a bookkeeping detail, but ending the 2019-2020 cycle would mean that all negotiations on all topics other than COVID-19 would stop and it would be months before we could begin again. Back in May, LTA actually suggested taking everything off the table EXCEPT class sizes because teachers know that smaller classes are better for students. Right now, the district is demanding to increase class sizes in TK, kindergarten and 1st grade (in the middle of the COVID pandemic and distance learning, no less!). LTA’s counterproposal today echos LTA’s May offer to drop all proposals, but only AFTER the district has agreed to not raise class sizes next year. (LTA’s proposal also includes specific provisions to ensure balance between Dual Language classes and Structured English Immersion classes, and to promote full of inclusion of students with disabilities in general education classes.)
The two teams agreed to meet again next Friday, July 31, with the goal of finalizing negotiations. The district will be responding to LTA’s proposals and LTA will make every effort to reply back during the same meeting. LTA understands the need to move as quickly as possible and resolve these issues so teachers can turn their focus back to where it should be – preparing for students and the start of school. But LTA WILL NOT be rushed into agreeing to unsafe working conditions for our teachers and unsafe learning conditions for our students, nor will we stop fighting for the small class sizes our students deserve.