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Voices from the Community

Community Voices


Numerous voices across the community and from all walks of life have raised serious concerns about the education of students in the event of a strike and have encouraged Los Angeles Unified and UTLA to continue working together to find a solution.


From the Members of the Communities for Los Angeles Student Success (CLASS) Coalition to Superintendent Austin Beutner and UTLA President Alex Caputo Pearl (1/19/2019)

On behalf of the 150,000 LAUSD families and students served by Communities for Los Angeles Student Success (CLASS), we are heartened by the news that UTLA and LAUSD have resumed negotiations. We appreciate that all involved share in CLASS’ values of supporting children, families, teachers and school staff; especially those working and learning at historically underserved schools.

While we acknowledge this is no easy feat, we urge both parties to come to an agreement that serves the best interests of our students. Every day, the thousands of teachers, bus drivers, counselors, principals, instructional coaches, board members, critical support staff and the rest of the LAUSD community accomplish miracles for students despite a range of challenges. We believe in and are counting on your collective ability to do the same.

Read full letter


Los Angeles African American Clergy Call on Alex Caputo-Pearl to Return to Negotiations (1/16/2019)

Today, African American clergy throughout Los Angeles called on Alex Caputo-Pearl and United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) to return to contract negotiations with the Los Angeles Unified School District and put an end to the strike. The over two-dozen leaders sent a letter to Alex Caputo-Pearl, President, UTLA, strongly encouraging the teachers union to return to negotiations and put the focus back on the well-being of the students.

“We are compelled to share our perspective given that as you and others exercise your right to strike, the fortunes of African American children do not improve on a picket line.”

“Your organization must continue to negotiate around the clock with our children and their well-being as a focus.”

Read full letter


"This impasse is disrupting the lives of too many kids and their families. I strongly urge all parties to go back to the negotiating table and find an immediate path forward that puts kids back into classrooms and provides parents certainty.

“Last week, I submitted a budget to the Legislature that would make the largest ever investment in K through 12 education, help pay down billions in school district pension debt and provide substantial new funding for special education and early education.

“The budget also makes substantial additional investments in counties and providers by supporting children experiencing mental illness and investing in homelessness services — all of which can translate into additional services and support for children served by LAUSD.” - Governor Gavin Newsom (1/14/2019) Full Statement


"We urge the teachers union and the school district to reach an agreement and avert a strike-and to put their collective efforts toward securing resources for our teachers and students without devastating the finances of the District." - Leading Los Angeles foundations, nonprofits, education, civic, business and religious groups (1/13/2019) Read the full statement


“It’s time for all of us to think about our students, who depend on our schools for a safe place, a hot meal, and a better future. We should be fighting in Sacramento to find a solution that avoids a strike.” – Antonio Villaraigosa, Former Mayor of LA (1/10/2019)



“And, frankly, it would be fiscally irresponsible for the Los Angeles Unified School District to do the kind of massive hiring demanded by the union, given the financial situation it’s facing. Nonetheless, a strike is where things are headed. If it happens, it will be a mess all around. The district’s financial crisis will worsen because the state won’t pay for the students who don’t show up to school.” – Editorial Board, Los Angeles Times (1/9/2019) 


"We urge leaders for LAUSD and UTLA to put aside their differences and put the needs of children first. That starts with negotiating a fair settlement in good faith to avoid a strike and working together to demand more... funding for our schools." – Mark Ridley Thomas, Steven Bradford, Diane Watson, Curren Price, Los Angeles Daily News (1/5/2019) 


“The district’s looming financial crisis is a simple math problem. State funding is tied to enrollment, which is shrinking. Yet the district’s fixed costs are growing… But LAUSD is now burning through cash so fast that it could become insolvent within three years. This prompted the county to warn last fall of a possible takeover. If a district runs large deficits, state law requires counties to intervene.” – Allysia FinleyWall Street Journal (1/4/2019)


“Mr. Caputo-Pearl also encouraged parents to keep their children at home or join the picket line, which in my opinion defies all logic. LAUSD is strapped for cash, if kids don’t attend school, then the district loses moremoney, which means it can’t hire new teachers, librarians, counselors, nurses OR reduce class size.” – Evelyn Alemán, a parent and student advocate and mother of a freshman attending a local L.A. Unified high school (1/3/2019) LA School Report


“The reality is that the LAUSD’s finances are unsustainable as they currently stand. In fact, the district is on such poor fiscal footing that there’s a real possibility the district could be taken over by the state … The district, for as bad a position as it’s in, is still offering LAUSD teachers a raise of 6 percent. But the United Teachers Los Angeles isn’t satisfied and has instead set a strike date of Jan.10. … It’s not clear what a strike would accomplish beyond showing that the union is willing to disrupt the education of Los Angeles students.” – Editorial Board, Los Angeles Daily News (12/31/2018) 


“The bigger question, though, is what the union’s goal is, and why it was so eager to set a strike date before sitting down with the fact-finder’s report and trying to hammer out a reasonable bargain. The district has nothing to gain from a strike; parents fear it, and a walkout of even a couple of weeks could be devastating to students.”- Editorial Board, Los Angeles Times (12/20/2018) 


“Let’s never forget the impact of a potential strike on Los Angeles’ most vulnerable students. Students who live in poverty and who are already behind will spend days or weeks not learning in the classroom.”- Arne Duncan, former Secretary of Education for President Barack Obama (12/26/2018) The Hill


“What’s the best course of action? Well, a state-appointed factfinding panel evaluated the union and the district’s contract proposals. It also evaluated the school districts books.  Its recommendation: The teachers union should accept the district’s offer of a 6 percent pay raise.  I strongly agree.”- Areva Martin, Esq., President and Co-Founder of Special Needs Network (12/27/2018) Los Angeles Sentinel


“As UTLA continues to march relentlessly toward a strike, I know the issues are real. I’ve lived them. But the only path to solve them is to collaborate. A strike will not solve anything. UTLA should allow its members to vote again on such an important decision as they did in 1989. And they should make sure its members have all the facts of what LA Unified is offering.”- Dr. Roberta Benjamin Edwards, former teacher and retired administrator at Los Angeles Unified (12/12/2018) LA School Report


“As we get closer to the possibility of a strike by the teachers of the L.A. Unified School District, I want to speak up on behalf of these working families and immigrant families — because they will feel it acutely if teachers walk out.”- Gloria Molina, former Los Angeles County Supervisor (9/7/2018) Los Angeles Times