SEIU Local 99 education workers are rejecting LAUSD’s proposal to change the acceleration days in the current school calendar. The decision comes after reviewing input from union members who completed a survey and negotiations with the school district.
Following is a statement from Max Arias, Executive Director of SEIU Local 99.
“We believe that changing the school calendar eight weeks into the semester will be disruptive to students, families and workers at LAUSD. A last-minute change to a calendar that was adopted by the Board of Education this past spring will do a disservice to the very students and families these acceleration days are intended to help. Furthermore, implementing a change to the school year now, without input from parents and other stakeholders, nor data from the district justifying the change, sends a troubling message that critical decisions, which are debated and decided in public meetings, can be easily and quickly overturned without considering the voices of the entire school community.
The district’s proposal to change the acceleration day schedule to coincide with the winter and spring break disrupts the very purpose of giving students and families a break from the daily commutes and rigors of school. School breaks should be times of rest and renewal, essential for mental health. The district must strike a better balance between academic acceleration and emotional support for students who are already struggling.
If the district is sincere about utilizing the acceleration days as a core strategy for addressing learning loss, it should do so on days that maximize student participation. Working parents plan family gatherings and vacation travel far ahead of time based on the school calendar. A change will have a personal and financial impact on families and could impede a parent’s ability to enroll their children in the acceleration days.
Furthermore, in a survey of SEIU Local 99 members, nearly 50% indicated that they would not be available to work during the winter and spring break acceleration days because of previous commitments. Without enough special education assistants, food service workers, custodians, campus aides, bus drivers and other support staff working during acceleration days, students and the district will face additional challenges.
We understand that teachers have agreed to changing the acceleration day schedule and respect their process. However, there are 30,000 other education workers at LAUSD – many also parents of students in the district – who are concerned about how the mid-semester change will adversely affect students, parents and workers.
Implementing a new calendar without considering the voices of the entire school community is irresponsible, disrespectful and in violation of collective bargaining laws. LAUSD must retain the existing school calendar.”
SEIU Local 99 represents 50,000 education workers throughout Southern California, including nearly 30,000 teacher assistants, special education assistants, food service workers, custodians, bus drivers and others providing essential student services at LAUSD.