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Los Angeles teachers, school district agree to end strike

USA EDUCATION | 22 de enero de 2019

Teachers, students and their parents demonstrate outside the Hale Charter school in Los Angeles, California in January 2019. EFE/File

Los Angeles, Jan 22 (efe-epa).- The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and the teachers union on Tuesday announced an agreement in principle whereby, if ratified by the some 34,000 instructors, would end an open-ended strike that since last week has been affecting about half a million students.

"We have seen over the last week something pretty amazing happen," United Teachers Los Angeles union president Alex Caputo-Pearl said. "We went on strike in one of the largest strikes the United States has seen in decades. And the creativity and innovation and passion and love and emotion of our members was out on the street, in the communities, in the parks for everyone to see."

Among the points of agreement are a pay hike, the reduction of class sizes and more effective regulation of "charter" schools - which are public, but are administered privately - all of which are key issues for the union, said Caputo-Pearl, who did not discuss the details of the pact.

The agreement in the country's second-largest school district, behind only that of New York, was achieved in part due to the mediation of LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, who on Tuesday thanked all the participants in the talks, which concluded after a marathon 21-hour session.

"I'm proud to announce that, pending approval by the teachers ... and educational professionals and this Board of Education, we have an agreement that will allow our teachers to go back to work on the campuses tomorrow," Garcetti said.

LAUSD superintendent Austin Beutner emphasized the importance of working together for the improvement of the educational system and said that they will seek more support from the state using the example of New York, which - he added - offers better financial support for its school district.

Caputo-Pearl said that the teachers will vote later on Tuesday on the tentative accord and, if approved as expected, the instructors will return to their classrooms on Wednesday after going on strike on Jan. 14.

The union had demanded a 6.5 percent pay hike for the teachers, while the LAUSD offered a 3 percent increase this year, followed by another 3 percent in 2020, among other points.

If the agreement is approved, it will be valid until mid-year, after which another arrangement for the next three years will be sought.

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