LOS ANGELES — UTLA members have voted overwhelmingly to resist a premature and unsafe physical return to school sites. Over five days of voting March 1 through 5 conducted by Integrity Voting Systems, 24,580 ballots were cast, with 91% Yes ballots (22,480) and 9% No (2,100).
“This vote signals that in these most trying times, our members will not accept a rushed return that would endanger the safety of educators, students, and families,” UTLA President Cecily Myart-Cruz said.
The vote result means members remain committed to distance learning until the three safety criteria are met:
– LA County is out of the purple tier
– Staff are either fully vaccinated or provided access to full vaccination
– Safety conditions are in place at our schools including PPE, physical distancing, improved ventilation, and daily cleaning
California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a $6.6 billion legislative package earlier Friday that offers incentives for schools to resume in-person instruction for students up to second grade by April 1 and provides funds to help recoup learning lost during the Covid-19 pandemic, possibly by extending the school year.
The proposal does not order schools to reopen, but those that fail to do so by April 1 will lose 1% of their share of the funds for every day they miss the deadline.
LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner previously set a target of mid-April for reopening elementary schools for in-person instruction, but the UTLA union has not agreed to that date, which it says is subject to labor talks. That means Friday’s vote will likely cost L.A. a portion of the $6.6 billion in incentive money.