School & District Management

Members in Los Angeles Union Petition for Vote on Leadership Pact With Mayor

By Lesli A. Maxwell — August 08, 2006 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The battle over who should control the public schools in Los Angeles continues to escalate, with a group of teachers challenging their union leaders’ decision to support Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s bid to win some authority over schools.

Calling themselves the Coalition for Union Democracy, the teachers have successfully petitioned for a unionwide vote on the controversial matter. But any internal referendum—which is triggered by a petition signed by at least 500 members of the local—is not likely to happen before state lawmakers vote on the mayor’s bill.

The California legislature adjourns Aug. 31; union rules require a referendum to occur within 60 days of the submission of signatures.

Nearly 600 teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District signed the petition to force a vote over Mr. Villaraigosa’s plan within the 47,000-member United Teachers Los Angeles, said Paul Huebner, the vice chairman of the union’s political action committee and a leading organizer of the coalition. UTLA is affiliated with both the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers.

Mr. Huebner, a 2nd grade teacher, said he and his colleagues are upset that union leaders made a deal with the mayor without getting input from a broader range of members. They are urging the UTLA to schedule a vote before the legislature adjourns.

“Folks are very concerned that such a small number of people worked out this deal just before it was announced,” he said.

‘We Had to Act’

A.J. Duffy, UTLA’s president, doesn’t dispute that he decided to back Mr. Villaraigosa’s plan without consulting the rank and file. He said many teachers were probably surprised to hear of the agreement after months of fighting the mayor’s bid to gain complete control over the district. The agreement, struck in June, would allow the mayor to share authority with the elected school board and the superintendent. (“Power Over Curriculum at Heart of L.A. Deal,” July 26, 2006.)

“Ultimately, it would have been better to have a discussion with the various governing bodies before we signed on,” he said. “But this happened very quickly, we got a call, and we had to act. We didn’t want to not be at the table.”

The union’s House of Representatives met last month and voted 101-89 to support the mayor’s legislation, Mr. Duffy said.

But he the referendum would be beneficial. “It’s another opportunity to explain to the members what this compromise is all about.”

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the August 09, 2006 edition of Education Week as Members in Los Angeles Union Petition For Vote on Leadership Pact With Mayor

Events

Jobs October 2021 Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
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
Data Webinar
Using Integrated Analytics To Uncover Student Needs
Overwhelmed by data? Learn how an integrated approach to data analytics can help.

Content provided by Instructure
Classroom Technology Webinar How Pandemic Tech Is (and Is Not) Transforming K-12 Schools
The COVID-19 pandemic—and the resulting rise in virtual learning and big investments in digital learning tools— helped educators propel their technology skills to the next level. Teachers have become more adept at using learning management

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

School & District Management Why Students Ghost the Day After Halloween (And What Schools Can Do About It)
Missing school on Nov. 1 can for some students lead to chronic absenteeism and academic problems down the road.
4 min read
Dressed in his dinosaur Halloween costume, Martin, 4, attends a class Zoom for his public school prekindergarten class, Friday, Oct. 30, 2020, in Washington. Martin chose to be a "deinonychus" for Halloween, and wore the costume in celebration the day before the holiday.
Dressed in his dinosaur Halloween costume, Martin, 4, attends a class Zoom for his public school prekindergarten class, in Washington.
Jacquelyn Martin/AP
School & District Management Opinion The Pandemic Could Have Unlocked Remote Schooling. It Hasn't
Despite the hopes of education leaders, online learning options aren't meeting families' needs, writes researcher Robin J. Lake.
Robin J. Lake
5 min read
Conceptual Illustration of locks in cyberspace
iStock/Getty
School & District Management Staff Shortages Affect Students, Too. Here's Where Schools Are Shutting Down
A few months into the third academic year in a row disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, at least several dozen school buildings in numerous states have had to shut down due to inadequate staffing.
1 min read
A Brownsville Independent School District bus acts as a WI-FI hotspot for students needing to connect online for distance learning on the first day of class Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020, in the parking lot of the Margaret M. Clark Aquatic Center in Brownsville, Texas. The bus is one of 20 hotspots throughout the city to help students have access to their online classes as part of the remote start to the school year due to COVID-19 pandemic.
Several shool buildings in different parts of the country have had to shut down in recent weeks due to a lack of available bus drivers.
Denise Cathey/The Brownsville Herald via AP
School & District Management Opinion We’re Facing a Looming Crisis of Principal Burnout
Caught in the crosshairs of a pandemic and rancorous partisan battles, many principals have never been more exhausted.
David E. DeMatthews
4 min read
Conceptual Illustration of burnt-out leader.
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and Getty