By Natasha Bach
January 23, 2019

Los Angeles-area schools Wednesday are returning to business as usual after teachers reached a deal with the school district, ending their six-day strike.

Here’s what it all means:

The deal

Teachers were fighting for a raise, as well as smaller class sizes, and more nurses, counselors, and librarians, among other issues.

For the most part, the teachers won: the deal includes caps on class sizes, hiring full-time nurses for every school, and librarians for every middle and high school. Each of these items will be implemented in the next several years. The teachers will also get a 6% pay increase; however, this was the same amount proposed by the district prior to the strike.

But that’s not all. On the question of standardized testing, the district agreed to establish a teacher union-district task force next year to find ways of cutting by half the number of student assessments.

Another matter: charter schools. The union demanded the school district limit the number of charter schools in the area, arguing they hurt public schools by competing for students and funding. As part of the deal, the district agreed to hold a board vote on whether or not to ask the state to establish a charter school cap.

What happens next

While the teachers and the district largely agreed on the issues—the bigger problem was determining how to pay for these needs.

California currently ranks 41st in the country for per pupil spending.

And where to get the $403 million to pay for the new planned spending is still unanswered.

It is largely expected the union, district, and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti will work together to fight for increased education funding both locally and at the state level. There are already at least two possible means being considered to increase funding. The first option is to propose a local parcel tax in 2020. The second revolves around property tax laws in the state.

One reason that education spending is so low in the state is because property tax increases are limited by law. There is a measure that is set to go before voters in 2020 that would remove property tax increase limits for businesses. Should it pass, the additional funds could help alleviate the budgeting constraints around education in the state.

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