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Charter school educators back striking Los Angeles teachers

Published
Students and teachers react to a car driving past honking in support of a city wide teacher strike on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019. Teachers in the huge Los Angeles Unified School District walked picket lines again Tuesday as administrators urged them to return to classrooms and for their union to return to the bargaining table. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles school administrators urged the union to resume bargaining as thousands of teachers walked picket lines for a second day Tuesday, joined for the first time by some of their counterparts from independent charter schools.

"We need our educators back in our classrooms helping inspire our students," said Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner. Teachers are pressing for higher pay, smaller class sizes and more support staff that school officials say could bankrupt the nation's second-largest system.

Teachers with the independent Accelerated Schools charter network — who are also union members but negotiate their contract separately — walked off the job Tuesday to demand better working conditions and in support for public school educators.

Los Angeles is experiencing the same tension over charter schools seen in other states, with critics arguing the privately run public schools hurt district finances by drawing away students and the money that goes with them. Union President Alex Caputo-Pearl has called the funds flowing to charters an "existential threat."

But Caputo-Pearl said the union isn't against all charters, just their "unregulated growth."

"We don't need to have the grow-as-fast-as-you-can business model that's promoted by charter school billionaires," he said. "We need to invest in our existing schools."

Beutner has said he envisions moving toward a system with public and charter schools under the same leadership. Critics contend Beutner, an investment banker with no education background, wants to run schools like a business.

Charter teachers joining the strike is a big deal because it shows they "see themselves in solidarity with the broader body of district educators," said John Rogers, a professor of education at University of California, Los Angeles.

It wasn't clear how many charter teachers walked off the job.

Unlike strikes in other states, all 1,240 K-12 schools in LA Unified were open. The district has hired hundreds of substitutes to replace tens of thousands of staff, a move the union has called irresponsible.

The walkout Monday was marked by a plunge in attendance, with about 144,000 students out of more than 600,000 in class. On Tuesday that number grew to 159,000.

Parents who sent their kids to school wondered how much teaching was happening as students were herded into large groups. David Biener said his son and daughter completed worksheets in math and history while sitting on the gym floor at their middle school.

"It's not an ideal situation, obviously, but there was some learning going on," he said. "It wasn't a free for all."

Biener was undecided about whether the kids would go back to school on Wednesday.

No new talks have been scheduled.

The union rejected the district's latest offer to hire nearly 1,200 teachers, counselors, nurses and librarians and reduce class sizes by two students. It also included a previously proposed 6-percent raise over the first two years of a three-year contract. The union wants a 6.5 percent hike at the start of a two-year contract.

Caputo-Pearl, the union president, said members are "prepared to go as long as it takes" to get a fair contract. The last strike in 1989 lasted nine days.

Meanwhile, Beutner urged the teachers to join him in pushing for more funding from the state, which provides 90 percent of the district's money.

The district says the demands run up against an expected half-billion-dollar deficit this budget year and billions that are obligated for pension payments and health coverage for retired teachers. "The painful truth is we just don't have enough money," Beutner said.

The union argues that the district is hoarding reserves of $1.8 billion.

Teachers earn between $44,000 and $86,000 annually depending on their education and experience. The district says the average salary is $75,000.

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Joined by some parents and students, Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner, center, walks through the hallway to attend a news conference at the LAUSD headquarters Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019, in Los Angeles. Teachers in the LAUSD walked picket lines again Tuesday as administrators urged them to return to classrooms and for their union to return to the bargaining table. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner listens to a parent during a news conference at the LAUSD headquarters Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019, in Los Angeles. Teachers in the LAUSD walked picket lines again Tuesday as administrators urged them to return to classrooms and for their union to return to the bargaining table. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner, left, and board president Monica Garcia wait in the hallway for a news conference at the LAUSD headquarters Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019, in Los Angeles. Teachers in the LAUSD walked picket lines again Tuesday as administrators urged them to return to classrooms and for their union to return to the bargaining table. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Sara Castro, whose two children are attending the Los Angeles United School District schools, holds a sign outside La Fayette Park Primary Center as students are picked up from the school Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019, in Los Angeles. Teachers in the LAUSD walked picket lines again Tuesday as administrators urged them to return to classrooms and for their union to return to the bargaining table. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Ten-year-old Edna Hernandez, who skipped school to support her mother who is a special education teacher in a Los Angeles United School District school, sits outside La Fayette Park Primary Center Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019, in Los Angeles. Teachers in the LAUSD walked picket lines again Tuesday as administrators urged them to return to classrooms and for their union to return to the bargaining table. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Demonstrators shout slogans during a teachers rally Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019, in Los Angeles. Teachers in the huge Los Angeles Unified School District walked picket lines again Tuesday as administrators urged them to return to classrooms and for their union to return to the bargaining table. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Larissa Robedillo, a speech pathologist with Shenandoah Elementary School, holds a sign during a teachers rally Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019, in Los Angeles. Teachers in the huge Los Angeles Unified School District walked picket lines again Tuesday as administrators urged them to return to classrooms and for their union to return to the bargaining table. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Demonstrators shout slogans during a teachers rally Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019, in Los Angeles. Teachers in the huge Los Angeles Unified School District walked picket lines again Tuesday as administrators urged them to return to classrooms and for their union to return to the bargaining table. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Demonstrators gather during a teachers rally Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019, in Los Angeles. Teachers in the huge Los Angeles Unified School District walked picket lines again Tuesday as administrators urged them to return to classrooms and for their union to return to the bargaining table. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Demonstrators march during a teachers rally Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019, in Los Angeles. Teachers in the huge Los Angeles Unified School District walked picket lines again Tuesday as administrators urged them to return to classrooms and for their union to return to the bargaining table. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Demonstrators shout slogans as part of a teachers rally Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019, in Los Angeles. Teachers in the huge Los Angeles Unified School District walked picket lines again Tuesday as administrators urged them to return to classrooms and for their union to return to the bargaining table. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Artan Gasparians, center, a physical education teacher with Fulton College Preparatory in Van Nuys, Calif., holds a sign as he marches during a rally Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019, in Los Angeles. Teachers in the huge Los Angeles Unified School District walked picket lines again Tuesday as administrators urged them to return to classrooms and for their union to return to the bargaining table. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Students from UCLA Community High School walk along a street carrying posters in support of their teachers on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019. Teachers in the huge Los Angeles Unified School District walked picket lines again Tuesday as administrators urged them to return to classrooms and for their union to return to the bargaining table. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)
Ten-year-old Edna Hernandez, who skipped school to support her mother who is a special education teacher in a Los Angeles United School District school, sits outside La Fayette Park Primary Center Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019, in Los Angeles. Teachers in the LAUSD walked picket lines again Tuesday as administrators urged them to return to classrooms and for their union to return to the bargaining table. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Ten-year-old Edna Hernandez, who skipped school to support her mother who is a special education teacher in a Los Angeles United School District school, sits outside La Fayette Park Primary Center Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019, in Los Angeles. Teachers in the LAUSD walked picket lines again Tuesday as administrators urged them to return to classrooms and for their union to return to the bargaining table. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Demonstrators shout slogans during a teachers rally Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019, in Los Angeles. Teachers in the huge Los Angeles Unified School District walked picket lines again Tuesday as administrators urged them to return to classrooms and for their union to return to the bargaining table. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Demonstrators shout slogans during a teachers rally Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019, in Los Angeles. Teachers in the huge Los Angeles Unified School District walked picket lines again Tuesday as administrators urged them to return to classrooms and for their union to return to the bargaining table. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Demonstrators shout slogans during a teachers rally Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019, in Los Angeles. Teachers in the huge Los Angeles Unified School District walked picket lines again Tuesday as administrators urged them to return to classrooms and for their union to return to the bargaining table. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Demonstrators shout slogans during a teachers rally Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019, in Los Angeles. Teachers in the huge Los Angeles Unified School District walked picket lines again Tuesday as administrators urged them to return to classrooms and for their union to return to the bargaining table. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Sara Castro, whose two children are attending the Los Angeles United School District schools, holds a sign outside La Fayette Park Primary Center as students are picked up from the school Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019, in Los Angeles. Teachers in the LAUSD walked picket lines again Tuesday as administrators urged them to return to classrooms and for their union to return to the bargaining table. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Sara Castro, whose two children are attending the Los Angeles United School District schools, holds a sign outside La Fayette Park Primary Center as students are picked up from the school Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019, in Los Angeles. Teachers in the LAUSD walked picket lines again Tuesday as administrators urged them to return to classrooms and for their union to return to the bargaining table. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Larissa Robedillo, a speech pathologist with Shenandoah Elementary School, holds a sign during a teachers rally Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019, in Los Angeles. Teachers in the huge Los Angeles Unified School District walked picket lines again Tuesday as administrators urged them to return to classrooms and for their union to return to the bargaining table. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Larissa Robedillo, a speech pathologist with Shenandoah Elementary School, holds a sign during a teachers rally Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019, in Los Angeles. Teachers in the huge Los Angeles Unified School District walked picket lines again Tuesday as administrators urged them to return to classrooms and for their union to return to the bargaining table. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Students from UCLA Community High School walk along a street carrying posters in support of their teachers on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019. Teachers in the huge Los Angeles Unified School District walked picket lines again Tuesday as administrators urged them to return to classrooms and for their union to return to the bargaining table. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)
Students from UCLA Community High School walk along a street carrying posters in support of their teachers on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019. Teachers in the huge Los Angeles Unified School District walked picket lines again Tuesday as administrators urged them to return to classrooms and for their union to return to the bargaining table. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)
Demonstrators shout slogans as part of a teachers rally Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019, in Los Angeles. Teachers in the huge Los Angeles Unified School District walked picket lines again Tuesday as administrators urged them to return to classrooms and for their union to return to the bargaining table. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Demonstrators shout slogans as part of a teachers rally Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019, in Los Angeles. Teachers in the huge Los Angeles Unified School District walked picket lines again Tuesday as administrators urged them to return to classrooms and for their union to return to the bargaining table. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Students and teachers react to a car driving past honking in support of a city wide teacher strike on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019. Teachers in the huge Los Angeles Unified School District walked picket lines again Tuesday as administrators urged them to return to classrooms and for their union to return to the bargaining table. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)
Students and teachers react to a car driving past honking in support of a city wide teacher strike on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019. Teachers in the huge Los Angeles Unified School District walked picket lines again Tuesday as administrators urged them to return to classrooms and for their union to return to the bargaining table. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)
Demonstrators march during a teachers rally Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019, in Los Angeles. Teachers in the huge Los Angeles Unified School District walked picket lines again Tuesday as administrators urged them to return to classrooms and for their union to return to the bargaining table. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Demonstrators march during a teachers rally Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019, in Los Angeles. Teachers in the huge Los Angeles Unified School District walked picket lines again Tuesday as administrators urged them to return to classrooms and for their union to return to the bargaining table. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Joined by some parents and students, Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner, center, walks through the hallway to attend a news conference at the LAUSD headquarters Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019, in Los Angeles. Teachers in the LAUSD walked picket lines again Tuesday as administrators urged them to return to classrooms and for their union to return to the bargaining table. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Joined by some parents and students, Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner, center, walks through the hallway to attend a news conference at the LAUSD headquarters Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019, in Los Angeles. Teachers in the LAUSD walked picket lines again Tuesday as administrators urged them to return to classrooms and for their union to return to the bargaining table. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Artan Gasparians, center, a physical education teacher with Fulton College Preparatory in Van Nuys, Calif., holds a sign as he marches during a rally Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019, in Los Angeles. Teachers in the huge Los Angeles Unified School District walked picket lines again Tuesday as administrators urged them to return to classrooms and for their union to return to the bargaining table. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Artan Gasparians, center, a physical education teacher with Fulton College Preparatory in Van Nuys, Calif., holds a sign as he marches during a rally Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019, in Los Angeles. Teachers in the huge Los Angeles Unified School District walked picket lines again Tuesday as administrators urged them to return to classrooms and for their union to return to the bargaining table. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner listens to a parent during a news conference at the LAUSD headquarters Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019, in Los Angeles. Teachers in the LAUSD walked picket lines again Tuesday as administrators urged them to return to classrooms and for their union to return to the bargaining table. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner listens to a parent during a news conference at the LAUSD headquarters Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019, in Los Angeles. Teachers in the LAUSD walked picket lines again Tuesday as administrators urged them to return to classrooms and for their union to return to the bargaining table. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Demonstrators gather during a teachers rally Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019, in Los Angeles. Teachers in the huge Los Angeles Unified School District walked picket lines again Tuesday as administrators urged them to return to classrooms and for their union to return to the bargaining table. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Demonstrators gather during a teachers rally Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019, in Los Angeles. Teachers in the huge Los Angeles Unified School District walked picket lines again Tuesday as administrators urged them to return to classrooms and for their union to return to the bargaining table. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner, left, and board president Monica Garcia wait in the hallway for a news conference at the LAUSD headquarters Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019, in Los Angeles. Teachers in the LAUSD walked picket lines again Tuesday as administrators urged them to return to classrooms and for their union to return to the bargaining table. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner, left, and board president Monica Garcia wait in the hallway for a news conference at the LAUSD headquarters Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019, in Los Angeles. Teachers in the LAUSD walked picket lines again Tuesday as administrators urged them to return to classrooms and for their union to return to the bargaining table. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)