By: Leigh Hawkinson, AEA President

Happy New Year! I hope all of you had a wonderful break and holiday season. As you are no doubt aware, our colleagues across the state are not experiencing such a happy start to the new year. Los Angeles teachers (UTLA) returned to school only to be met with disrespect and deceit on the part of administration in their negotiations. If you listened to the competing news conferences or read the many stories, it should have had a familiar ring to it.  UTLA is asking the same questions we did.

They are being met with the same deceitful answers, as well.  So how does this always happen, throughout California, that the two sides can’t agree on the figures?   The simple answer is the consulting group the districts use, School Services.  This is the same group that wrote the emails in our district that AEA published.  This is the same group that bragged about writing an offer that had “no chance of giving AEA” a cent.  This is the same group that used two year old data and smoke and mirrors to say there was no money. This is the same group that wrote “we’ll give them enough rope to hang themselves and be done with them.”

I have confirmed with those involved that the same leader of that consulting group who caused our bargaining strife, is at the table for LAUSD. I am convinced that this group is at the heart of almost every District’s labor strife throughout the state!

I am going to request that Alvord not use this consulting group in future negotiations and that our CTA leadership look into their involvement of this consulting group in all Districts. If they are found to be at the heart of the bargaining issues, take action to expose them! With the new Governor’s proposed budget there is even more money for programs, kids AND raises. Districts are running out of places to hide money and losing the excuses (STRS, declining enrollment, etc..) for not giving raises. We anticipate beginning negotiations for salary and contract early Spring and are hopeful for positive results!