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Teachers Union Demands Use of Funds for Raises

July 19, 2000|LOUIS SAHAGUN | TIMES EDUCATION WRITER

Railing against what they called "administrative bloat," teachers union leaders and their supporters Tuesday demanded that Los Angeles Unified begin directing more funds into classrooms and salary boosts for teachers.

Of particular concern was the district's use of state money allocated a month ago for schools and teachers' salaries.

The Los Angeles Unified School District's share of the funds is about $205 million, district officials said. They also confirmed that a fraction of that was being earmarked for administrative salaries.

At a news conference held at the entrance of downtown's Hoover Elementary--one of the world's largest elementary schools, with 3,000 mostly low-income Latino students--Day Higuchi, president of United Teachers-Los Angeles, said those funds "are being drained away on administrators."

Under a reorganization plan, the district is significantly raising the salaries of top executives as well as increasing the number of people who can earn in the six-figure range.

"We should be raising up teachers with those funds," said Higuchi, who is leading ongoing contract negotiations with the district.

Assemblywoman Gloria Romero (D-Los Angeles) agreed, saying, "We allocated that money so that it could be put into classrooms. What we're seeing instead is a tragedy of the intent and spirit of our reforms.

"Before a penny went to teachers, they've started giving it to already high-priced administrators," she said. "When was the last time you heard a child come from school and say, 'Mama, we have a really wonderful administrator!' "

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