Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Ramon Cortines responded last week to a call by United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) for its members to boycott faculty meetings.
UTLA urged its members to boycott faculty meetings on March 24, April 7, and April 14. Union representatives have requested an 8.5 percent pay raise and better working conditions, including smaller class sizes and more counselors. They said the fact that teachers were willing to walk out of the first faculty meeting shows their commitment to pushing the district toward needed improvements.
Cortines sent a letter to UTLA reminding them that attendance at faculty meetings is a required professional duty under the LAUSD-UTLA contract agreement. He said that boycotting the meetings also violates the terms of the 1990 Final Order as determined by the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB).
“Employees who participate in the boycott of required faculty meetings will not be paid for the work time missed,” Cortines said. “Faculty meetings are a critical forum for teachers and administrators to discuss vital educational and operational issues, such as student achievement, instructional planning, school budget priorities, professional development, student and employee safety, and parental participation. I am troubled and disappointed that UTLA is urging teachers not to attend these important meetings. This action harms the continuity of the educational process at our schools and sends a disturbing message to students, parents, and our community.”
District officials said they are also concerned that this is the first step in what UTLA calls “escalating actions,” toward a planned strike.