State mediators will begin meeting Thursday with Los Angeles Unified school administrators and representatives of the district’s teachers union. They’ll be trying to end an 18-month contract dispute that has United Teachers Los Angeles members ready for a possible strike, which could come as soon as this year if the two sides don't reach a deal.
On the eve of those talks, district officials made a new contract offer, raising their salary offer.
L.A. Unified Superintendent Austin Beutner said that offer will "probably more than exhaust" funds the district had budgeted for employee raises this year. UTLA leaders do not buy that, saying the district has been too unwilling to spend its reserves on teachers' demands.