The union had offered other approaches for dealing with schools hard-hit by layoffs or high teacher turnover. UTLA wanted the district to find successful principals for high-turnover schools and keep them in place longer, improve working conditions and develop recruitment incentives to attract veteran teachers.
Those provisions did not make the settlement.
It appeared as though Flores had the votes for a settlement that would provide bonus pay for low-performing schools that maintained a high value-added score.
But L.A. Unified Supt. Ramon C. Cortines disagreed with the value-added provision, saying that the budget-strapped district could ill afford bonus payments. In an interview this week, Cortines also stressed that he considers "combat pay" unproven by research. His comments weighed on a board majority, according to two board members.
Board member Steve Zimmer argued for removing bonus pay and deleting the mention of value-added measures. In a compromise that achieved a 7-0 vote, the settlement language now talks generally of potential incentives that could be added later and only states that campuses and teachers will be judged on "student growth over time."
Union officials were caught unaware when the district announced the vote — they had spent much of the day interviewing school board candidates and had not been tracking the meeting.
Villaraigosa insisted that all 15 partnership schools would incorporate value-added analysis at both the campus and teacher level.
"I would hope and expect the school district to do the same," Villaraigosa said in an interview.
His schools remain subject to the union contract, which does not, at this point, allow a value-added analysis in teacher evaluations.
And not all board members are satisfied with taking the proposed settlement further. Tamar Galatzan said she remained wary about any incentive program that could reward teachers at low-performing schools while overlooking teachers who are equally effective elsewhere.
"It's a question of equity," she said.
And union leaders are weighing a possible legal challenge.
Observers say there remain hurdles to clear before reaching a final settlement.
"If UTLA is a party in the case, the case is not done yet," said William Koski, an education professor at Stanford University.