LA teachers vote to approve one-year contract to avoid layoffs

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Teachers, students and their parents participate in an education budget cuts rally and protest at Pershing Square on May 13, 2011 in downtown Los Angeles, California.

No Los Angeles public schools teachers will be laid off under a one-year contract ratified by the union, but they could be forced to take a few furlough days, depending on how the state budget shakes out.

Over two days beginning Thursday, 20,429 teachers, or 83.2 percent, voted to approve the contract and 4,127, or 16.8 percent, voted against it, United Teachers Los Angeles spokeswoman Marla Eby said yesterday.

The contract calls for four unpaid furlough days, though a few days could be added or subtracted, depending on the state budget, which typically is not approved until late summer. The district sought 12 furlough days.

Union president A.J. Duffy said the deal would benefit teachers, health and human services professionals, parents and "especially students, who will lose fewer instructional days and maintain class sizes next year."

The Los Angeles Unified School District board will vote on the contract June 14.

"While this agreement does not restore all the (job) cuts — because our schools are still drastically underfunded — it goes a long way toward providing the resources and personnel for our students to succeed,'' LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy said in a statement on May 27, the day negotiators agreed on the draft contract.

Eby said the contract would have the effect of initially saving 3,400 jobs and ultimately more than 5,000 in the 2011-12 school year, with most of the more than 5,000 layoff notices previously sent by the district now expected to be rescinded. Additionally, class sizes will be maintained.

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