No one wanted a strike.
However, this is not something that wasn’t anticipated. Collective Bargaining is the process that led us here and it is the Collective Bargaining process that needs to be revisited and accelerated.
We hold our classroom teachers in high regard and have the utmost respect for the profession. We have all been reminded of the data surrounding our underpaid and under-resourced teaching staff. Everyone agrees the State should invest more money as Proposition 98 dollars were meant to be a floor and not the ceiling for school funding. Other Districts from around the State as well as neighboring communities have stepped up by taxing themselves through Parcel Taxes and School Construction Bonds to help with gaps in state school funding.
Earlier last year, my colleague Scott Schmerelson and I, proposed a resolution to place a parcel tax on the November 2018 ballot to increase funding for our schools and enable our constituents to provide direct local support. However, a majority of the Board defeated our motion, although the voters in nine of ten other schools districts approved ballot measures for increased taxes in Los Angeles County. An opportunity was missed to demonstrate our commitment to raising revenue as opposed to reducing services and personnel to balance the budget.
We all agree that the State must allocate more money for public education. That should have been a legislative priority with a full court press a year ago, not last week. If we expect teachers to do everything in their power to avoid a strike, then we have an obligation to do everything in our power to do the same.
Schools are still open and operating during normal hours and meals will be served without interruption until we reach a bargaining agreement. It is preferable that our teachers were in the classroom and students were being taught by their regular teachers.
I am prepared to join with Mr. Schmerelson and at least two other Board Members in solidarity to approve a reasonable offer to end the strike NOW.