Over 30,000 teacher are now on strike in Los Angeles County.

The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) serves 640,000 students and is the second biggest school district in the country. The last time Los Angeles teachers went on strike was 1989.

Tens of thousands of Los Angeles teachers are striking after contentious contract negotiations failed in the nation’s second-largest school district.

Members of United Teachers Los Angeles voted last year to walk off the job for the first time in 30 years if a deal wasn’t reached on issues including higher wages and smaller class sizes. The strike began Monday.

Months of talks between the union and Los Angeles Unified School District ended without a deal.

Schools will stay open. The district has hired hundreds of substitutes to replace teachers and others who leave for picket lines.

The district says the union’s demands could bankrupt the school system. It’s projecting a half-billion-dollar deficit this budget year and has billions obligated for pension payments and health coverage for retired teachers.

The offer rejected by the teacher did include a pay raise and a reduction in class sizes. However, it was deemed inadequate.

On January 11th, the LAUSD offered United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), the union organizing the strike, a proposal that included a 6 percent salary increase for teachers and promises to enforce a maximum class size of 39 students at secondary schools and increase the number of nurses, counselors and librarians at all schools.

UTLA called the proposal “woefully inadequate, ” arguing that the district is “hoarding” $1.86 billion in reserves that could be used to fund the union’s requests, which include a 6.5 percent pay hike and smaller class sizes. The district maintains these reserves are needed to cover expenses like retiree benefits.

Despite the schools being open, most of LA’s school children took the day off.

Only about a third of Los Angeles Unified students showed up to school Monday on the first day of a teachers’ strike, with many staying away despite assurance from district officials that all campuses would be in full operation.

The school district said 141,631 students came to campus, based on preliminary data. Officials said 54 of the district’s 1,240 schools had not yet provided attendance figures.

The district total enrollment is about 485,000.

The low attendance numbers capped a day of disruption across the city.

If California were a normal state, it might reassess its budget priorities and redirect monies to the people who actually teach. But this is California we are talking about.

In California, where teachers are striking today, the state has spent over $3 billion on “extra” non-teaching staff just in the last couple decades. If the state had matched bureaucracy growth to the growth of student enrollment since 1992, it could give every single teacher an $11,000 raise overnight.

That same $3 billion could also pay for almost 400,000 flexible scholarships, called education savings accounts or ESAs, creating options for the students and families who are being affected by the teacher strikes this week.

The strike may be our new Governor’s first challenge. Gavin Newsom insists both parties go back to the negotiating table, “for the kids.”

However, his progressive fan base is unhappy with this stance.

And some Californians are astutely pointing out the problem with “Sanctuary State” policy and its connection to class size.

It looks like the lessons that California’s kids are getting are in virtue-signaling and political theatrics.

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