Amid strike threat, LAUSD and teachers ready to talk

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What’s a school district chief to do?

Superintendent John Deasy and the LAUSD have presented a contract proposal that would help reverse recent salary cuts by giving their biggest pay hike in a decade. But before negotiators even go back to the table this week, new United Teachers Los Angeles President Alex Caputo-Pearl has given the offer a resounding thumb’s down, calling it a “non-starter.”

Caputo-Pearl says the district’s offer of a two-percent bonus, plus raises of two percent in each of the next two years, and two-and-a-half percent in the third year of the deal, falls short. After years of taking it on the chin, Caputo-Pearl says the union is prepared to strike if the district does not meet its demands. He’s recommended that teachers should start saving now in anticipation of that possibility.

In spite of Caputo-Pearl’s opposition to the latest offer, LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy says he’s hopeful a deal can be reached by the start of the new school year. He tells KCRW the proposed contract represents a 26.3 percent increase in compensation when health and pension contributions and other items are factored in. And he says there are also improvements in working conditions. Talks are scheduled to get back on track on Thursday.