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Superintendent Austin Beutner and Los Angeles Unified Labor Partners Propose a Plan for the Safe Reopening of Schools (01-11-21)

For Immediate Release                             January 11, 2021
Contact: Shannon Haber, 213-393-1289                            

Joint Statement from
Los Angeles Unified Superintendent Austin Beutner,
Associated Administrators of Los Angeles President Juan Flecha,
Building and Construction Trades Council AFL-CIO Executive Secretary Ron Miller, California School Employees Association Chapter 500 President Letetsia Fox, 
Los Angeles School Police Management Association President Robert Taylor, Los Angeles School Police Officers Association President Gil Gamez, Service Employees International Union Local 99 Executive Director Max Arias, Teamsters Local 572 Secretary-Treasurer Rick Middleton and 
United Teachers Los Angeles President Cecily Myart-Cruz

LOS ANGELES (Jan. 11, 2021) – Superintendent Austin Beutner was joined today by leaders of labor partners representing more than 75,000 Los Angeles Unified employees in advocating for more state action to address the disproportionate impact the pandemic is having on low-income communities of color.

“On December 30, Governor Gavin Newsom announced his ‘Safe Schools for All’ plan to support the reopening of school classrooms. While it prioritizes the reopening of public schools with the potential for additional school funding, the plan falls well short of what is needed to provide help to the students and communities we serve. 

Los Angeles Unified stands ready to resume in-person instruction as soon as it is safe and appropriate to do so, but we cannot do it alone. The state must acknowledge the needs in our schools and take the following actions necessary for all California children to receive the education they deserve: 

  • Funding for all schools to redress the disproportionate impact on low-income communities we serve who will not likely meet the proposed ‘Safe Schools for All’ deadline of February 1 and many experts say even March 1, given current health conditions.

  • Advocate that public health funds, not K-12 educational funds from Prop 98, be used for COVID testing and vaccinations.

  • Reinforce the need for a clear state standard for COVID-related health issues in schools.
  • Integration of school-based health services, including distribution of state funds directly to school districts to cover costs, including COVID testing, contact tracing, and administration of vaccines – in the same way and at the same rate as other municipal agencies and providers.

  • Additional instructional time and targeted funding for students who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, including English-learners, students with disabilities, and homeless and foster youth; and for additional professional development focused on intervention and credit recovery.

  • Funding to support reopening of schools including, child-care services; additional funding to maintain clean, safe, and sanitary schools; infrastructure and transportation.

  • A COVID relief plan from local and state government officials to drive down COVID case rates in high-needs communities to enable local schools to open.

State and local public health officials must tackle this challenge head-on or we will be left with more of the same: continued high rates of the virus in low-income communities that make it unsafe to reopen classrooms.

The last 10 months have been a struggle. Elected leaders at the state and local level need to join with us to discuss what we’ve learned, what can be improved and how we can all make sure the next 10 months are better for students and families than the past 10 months.”

Labor leaders signatures