LAUSD teachers push for reinvestment on day 1 of 1st strike in 30 years

LOS ANGELES -- More than 30,000 Los Angeles Unified School District teachers pushed for reinvestment in education on their first day of a historic strike Monday morning.

Teachers with the United Teachers Los Angeles union gathered for rally at 7 a.m. in Los Feliz and then headed to downtown Los Angeles to march from City Hall to LAUSD headquarters in the rain.

Over the weekend, the union prepared for the historic strike by making signs and other items they will hold on the picket line.

The teachers union has a range of issues that have not been resolved with the district that include salaries, reduced class sizes and hiring more nurses and other essential school personnel.

The strike comes after the union rejected LAUSD's latest deal on contracts. The last time teachers went on strike with LAUSD was 30 years ago.

District officials said despite the strike, schools will remain open and class instruction will continue. Officials also said hot meals will be served.

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"Los Angeles Unified schools will be open providing every student with a safe and welcoming learning environment. Elementary, middle and high schools will be open, instruction will continue, and meals will be served tomorrow and throughout the UTLA strike. Early education centers will only be open to special-needs students and state preschool sites will be closed.

"Los Angeles Unified remains committed to contract negotiations and will continue to work around the clock to find solutions to end the strike which will hurt students, families and communities most in need throughout Los Angeles," a district statement said.

A Family Hotline has also been established for anyone with questions about the schools during the strike: (213)443-1300.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said the city has been working to provide support resources during the strike, opening 37 recreation centers for longer hours and providing free lunches to hundreds of kids. The city is also deploying extra police officers and park rangers to help maintain security and peace during teacher rallies, while also protecting their First Amendment rights.

Garcetti said he supports the striking teachers, but is also working with both sides to resolve the negotiations. He believes the two sides are not that far apart on the financial issues and thinks a deal could be reached this week or next week.

"I truly do believe not a lot separates us materially," Garcetti said.
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