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Los Angeles Teachers Strike after Negotiations Falter

Students and community members join teachers from the Arlington School District for a walkout in Arlington, Wash., April 22, 2015. (David Ryder/REUTERS)

More than 30,000 Los Angeles teachers walked off the job Monday after budget negotiations broke down, sending the nation’s largest school district scrambling for temporary help.

The United Teachers Los Angeles Union (UTLA) resorted to a strike for the first time in 30 years after weeks of negotiations with the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) failed to produce an agreement on education funding, class sizes, and other sticking points between the two sides.

The district offered Friday to “add nearly 1,200 more educators — teachers, counselors, nurses and librarians — in schools, reducing class size in thousands of classrooms.” The district also offered to place a 39-student limit on class sizes and to raise teachers’ salaries by 6 percent.

But in a statement released over the weekend, UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl called the district’s offer “woefully inadequate,” pointing out that the staffing concession would only be guaranteed for one year. Caputo-Pearl is standing by the union’s demand that the district use its $1.86 billion in reserve funding to permanently increase staffing and raise salaries by 6.5 percent.

In his first state budget as governor, Newsom prioritized a number of ambitious expansions to the state’s welfare programs.

As part of his mission to provide “sanctuary to all who seek it,” Newsom included in the budget a provision that would make illegal immigrants ages 19 to 26 eligible for coverage under Medi-cal, the state’s version of Medicaid. If the budget passes the state legislature, it would make California “the first state in the nation to cover young undocumented adults through a state Medicaid program,” according to a press release from Newsom’s office.

Newsom also laid out in the budget his vision for a universal health-care system, which would cost taxpayers $400 billion annually, according to the most recent legislative analysis.

The LAUSD announced Monday that students will be supervised by more than 2,000 reassigned administrators and more than 400 substitute teachers while their usual instructors are on the picket line.

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