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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary | The Local Review

School Board Agrees to Talks on Pay Raise

November 18, 1998

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Board of Education agreed Tuesday to hold talks on a pay raise for school district employees, but left unresolved how to pay for it.

Over the next few days, the district and the unions will consult with an outside accounting firm in search of unused funds in the $6.6-billion budget that could be applied to a raise.

In the meantime, the board has reserved a decision on about $37 million worth of school programs sought by Supt. Ruben Zacarias, leaving open the possibility that the money could go to employees instead.

Completing its longest meeting on record, which was recessed last week shortly before 2 a.m., the board approved a short list of school programs that Zacarias said needed urgent action. They included more ninth-grade counselors and library books for schools that have nearly none. At the superintendent's insistence, the board reversed a vote of last week in approving $10 million to tutor struggling students.

The remainder of the items will come back to the board next Tuesday, setting up a potential showdown.

In opening proposals made public Tuesday, the board put several conditions on any pay raise, including an accountability system established earlier this year for top administrators. It would require improvement on four of seven indicators of student performance as a condition for half of any raise.

United Teachers-Los Angeles President Day Higuchi characterized the accountability system as stupid management because it makes individual teachers responsible for the entire district.

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