As the school year draws to a close, we’re also completing a season that put public education front and center in our communities. We’re proud to say that SEIU Local 99 members played a big part in this.

In January, thousands of members supported LAUSD teachers in their strike. Many of you joined them on picket lines. And more than 1500 Local 99 members made the courageous and selfless decision to strike with teachers for quality public schools for all students.

We also came together like never before to raise our political voice for education. We supported Heather Repenning for the LAUSD School Board, a candidate who spoke strongly about the need to ensure equity in education and about  the important role of classified employees in our schools.

We also formed a strong coalition with community organizations, United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti and LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner in support of Measure EE. While it is disappointing that we were not able to win these elections, our participation lifted the voice of classified school employees to a new level. Because of the efforts of so many Local 99 members, we are truly a force for education that cannot be ignored.

Of course, we face many challenges ahead. We’ll begin wage negotiations with LAUSD in a few weeks. Without additional funding from Measure EE, we will, no doubt, need to fight back to defend jobs and student services. We will need to continue to find ways to address the funding crisis in our public schools. And, as we saw with Measure EE, we’ll be facing strong opposition from corporate interests who prefer to put their profits over students.

We are confident, however, that together in our union we will move forward. Our call for excellent public schools for all will not be stopped. As you head into the summer break, I encourage you to stay connected and active. Visit our website often and stay tuned as we move forward for our students, our livelihoods, and our communities.