Education

L.A. School Employees Implored To Accept Pay Cuts

By Ann Bradley — November 06, 1991 4 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

A fact-finding report examining the Los Angeles Unified School District’s financial condition urges employees to accept pay cuts this year to help the district avert bankruptcy, noting that a “conscious and consistent effort” by the district to raise its employees’ salaries is a leading cause of its current budget problems.

Since 1983, the report says, when the district set out to raise the pay of its teachers, administrators, and other employees, salaries have increased 90.93 percent. During the same period, the increase in state money to pay for salaries was only 49.61 percent.

The calculations do not include the amount of money spent for step increases and salary-schedule advances, the report notes.

But those raises also have been generous, it says, allowing a typical new teacher hired in 1983 and moving through the salary schedule with seven academic credits per year to earn a total salary increase of 214 percent in eight years.

“The extremely favorable salary treatment afforded all district employees over the past several years places the employees in the position where they can and should be expected to make a temporary sacrifice to help keep the district fiscally afloat,” the report concludes.

The report was issued Oct. 24 by a three-person fact-finding panel after negotiations between the district and the Associated Administrators of Los Angeles, the union representing principals and other administrators, reached an impasse.

The district has proposed a $107.4 million package of pay-related budget cuts that would save $70 million by reducing all employees’ salaries by 3 percent this year. It has withdrawn a request to freeze their advancements on the salary schedule.

That money would be paid back, with interest, as soon as the district receives enough money to do so.

The administrators’ union has agreed to the proposal, but United Teachers of Los Angeles has not. A fact-finding report on issues related to U.T.L.A.'S contract negotiations is expected to be released this week.

Eli Brent, president of A.A.L.A., said the union has agreed to the reductions because “we feel very strongly that there has to be a time when you pay back the district.”

“It’s for the good of the kids,” said Mr. Brent, who estimated his members would see their pay cut an average of 6.5 percent by the agreement.

But Helen Bernstein, president of U.T.L.A., said she doubted members would “ever see a penny” of the money if they vote to accept the pay cut.

She dismissed most of the findings in the fact-finding report.

“Fact-finding reports never seem to reflect our point of view,” Ms. Bernstein said. “Nobody ever implements them, anyway.”

The fact-finding report makes note of that trend, noting that in both 1987 and 1989, the school board approved salary increases that exceeded pay hikes recommended in fact-finding reports.

$274-Million Deficit

Over the past three years, the report notes, the school district has slashed $626 million from its budget. Of those cuts, only 51 percent affected employees, while the rest of the shortfall was made up by spending cash reserves and cutting supplies, maintenance, and equipment.

When employees have been affected, the school board has minimized the impact of cuts on teachers and has trimmed classified employees and administrators more than their proportionate share of the budget, the report says.

But Los Angeles is facing a budget deficit of $274 million for the 199192 fiscal year and can no longer maintain its policy of avoiding affecting its employees or their compensation, the report says, particularly because 84 percent of the budget is devoted to personnel costs.

The report also examined whether Los Angeles spends more money on administration than other school districts in Los Angeles County and in California. The teachers’ union has long contended that a bloated bureaucracy is to blame for the district’s financial woes.

However, the report found that the district’s spending for administration per student was the second lowest of the 42 school districts in the county and fourth-lowest among the 21 largest unified school districts in the state.

Measured as a percent of the general-fund budget allocated to administration, the report found that Los Angeles spends 2.87 percent of its money on administration, the lowest of the 42 Los Angeles districts.

But it ranks third among the 21 largest districts in California in spending for the salaries and benefits of classroom personnel, which absorb 68.9 percent of the budget, the report found.

The district’s salary policy has made its administrators the highest paid in the county, while only teachers in Beverly Hills make more per student than Los Angeles teachers.

At a press conference last week, Warren Furntani, president of the school board, said the fact-finding report appeared to “validate” the district’s contention that it has a lean administration.

A version of this article appeared in the November 06, 1991 edition of Education Week as L.A. School Employees Implored To Accept Pay Cuts

Events

English-Language Learners Webinar Helping English-Learners Through Improved Parent Outreach: Strategies That Work
Communicating with families is key to helping students thrive – and that’s become even more apparent during a pandemic that’s upended student well-being and forced constant logistical changes in schools. Educators should pay particular attention
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Mathematics Webinar
Addressing Unfinished Learning in Math: Providing Tutoring at Scale
Most states as well as the federal government have landed on tutoring as a key strategy to address unfinished learning from the pandemic. Take math, for example. Studies have found that students lost more ground
Content provided by Yup Math Tutoring
Classroom Technology Webinar Building Better Blended Learning in K-12 Schools
The pandemic and the increasing use of technology in K-12 education it prompted has added renewed energy to the blended learning movement as most students are now learning in school buildings (and will likely continue

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Nearly a Million Kids Vaccinated in Week 1, White House Says
Experts say there are signs that it will be difficult to sustain the initial momentum.
4 min read
Leo Hahn, 11, gets the first shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021, at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle. Last week, U.S. health officials gave the final signoff to Pfizer's kid-size COVID-19 shot, a milestone that opened a major expansion of the nation's vaccination campaign to children as young as 5. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Education How Schools Are Getting Kids the COVID Shot, and Why Some Aren’t
Some district leaders say offering vaccine clinics, with the involvement of trusted school staff, is key to helping overcome hesitancy.
5 min read
A girl walks outside of a mobile vaccine unit after getting the first dose of her COVID-19 vaccine, outside P.S. 277, Friday, Nov. 5, 2021, in the Bronx borough of New York. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)
Education Biden Administration Urges Schools to Provide COVID-19 Shots, Information for Kids
The Biden administration is encouraging local school districts to host vaccine clinics for kids and information on benefits of the shots.
2 min read
President Joe Biden, and first lady Jill Biden walk to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021. Biden is spending the weekend at his home in Rehoboth Beach, Del. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Education Civil Rights Groups Sue Tennessee Over Law Against Transgender Student Athletes
The state law bars transgender athletes from playing public high school or middle school sports aligned with their gender identity.
3 min read
Amy Allen, the mother of an 8th grade transgender son, speaks after a Human Rights Campaign round table discussion on anti-transgender laws in Nashville, Tenn. on May 21, 2021.
Amy Allen, the mother of an 8th grade transgender son, speaks after a Human Rights Campaign round table discussion on anti-transgender laws in Nashville, Tenn. on May 21, 2021.
Mark Humphrey/AP