Want a 60% drop out rate?  LAUSD.  Want a district where an estimated 50% of student’s are illegal aliens?  LAUSD.  Want a district where decisions are made in the union hall, not at school district HQ?  LAUSD.

Want a district afraid of firing sexual perverts in the classroom?  LAUSD.

Want a fiscally out of control, deficit ridden district?  LAUSD.

The district’s budget deficit stood at $640 million. More than 2,000 employees had just been laid off. The school board had just approved a deal giving teachers five unpaid furlough days, and cutting five days from the academic calendar.

Yet the district managed to spend $416 million on health insurance premiums for teachers and retirees, with no contribution from the insured parties. Somehow it was able to spend $47 million on automatic, annual salary increases for teachers who remained on staff.

The district also managed to spend a whopping $382 million for substitute teachers and $62 million on an “instructional coaches” program.”

LAUSD is why government schools need to go.  We have more than enough money for quality education.  We will never have enough money for LAUSD or the unions.

Sucking the Life Out of America’s Public Schools

The Expense of Teachers Union Contracts

United Teachers Los Angeles Contract

Written by Steve Gunn, Research by Victor Skinner, EAG,Summer, 2012



Headed into the 2010-11 school year, one could have easily assumed that the Los Angeles Unified School District had no money to waste.

The district’s budget deficit stood at $640 million. More than 2,000 employees had just been laid off. The school board had just approved a deal giving teachers five unpaid furlough days, and cutting five days from the academic calendar.

Yet the district managed to spend $416 million on health insurance premiums for teachers and retirees, with no contribution from the insured parties. Somehow it was able to spend $47 million on automatic, annual salary increases for teachers who remained on staff.

The district also managed to spend a whopping $382 million for substitute teachers and $62 million on an “instructional coaches” program.

Those highly questionable expenses, and many more, can be traced to the collective

bargaining agreement (CBA) negotiated between the school board and the United Teachers of Los Angeles.

We studied the 2007-11 CBA, identified various provisions that appeared to be expensive, then secured the corresponding costs for the 2010-11 school year through a freedom of information request.

It turns out that LAUSD was indeed spending big bucks on many employee perks that have no connection to student learning. And this was happening as the school board continued to eliminate crucial instructional hours from the district schedule.

We strongly suspect the pricey items we discovered are only part of the story. We believe there are many other provisions in the 349-page CBA we did not inspect that cost the district even more money.

Some of the expenditures we list below may not come from the district’s general fund. Some may be financed with state dollars or other sources of outside revenue. But if the money existed to pay for union perks and unnecessary programs, why can’t money be found to prevent teacher layoffs, larger class sizes and furlough days?

Sadly the situation has not improved in the nation’s second-largest school district. The school board and teachers union recently concluded a deal that will eliminate another five days of classroom instruction in 2012-13 and result in the layoff of another 1,300 employees.

The district has now eliminated a total of 18 days of instruction over the past four years.

Shamefully, there are still no signs that the school board is ready to confront the teachers union about runaway labor costs. Apparently the employees come first in Los Angeles, and students are an afterthought.

Parents and taxpayers should rise up and demand that more money be directed toward

student needs, rather than extras for unionized staff.

The following dollar figures were provided by the Los Angeles Unified School District.


The Los Angeles school district spent $2.9 billion on salaries and benefits in 2010-11 for employees (mostly teachers) covered by the teachers union CBA. That represented 52 percent of all labor spending in the district that year ($5.5 billion) and 34 percent of the district’s total expenditures ($8.4 billion).


Health insurance for employees and retirees covered by the CBA falls under the district’s

Health and Welfare Fund. Health insurance enrollment in 2010-11 was open to all full-time and many part-time employees as well as spouses, domestic partners and dependents. We found no contractual language regarding responsibility for the payment of health insurance premiums, but the obligation obviously fell completely to the school district.

The Los Angeles Unified School District paid out $334 million in 2010-11 for health insurance premiums for employees covered by the teachers union CBA. The employees contributed nothing toward premiums, which is an increasingly unusual arrangement for an American school district.


The district offered generous extended coverage to retirees who were members of the

teachers union. According to the CBA, they qualified for coverage equal to the number of years they worked in the district for at least 100 days.

The Los Angeles Unified School district paid out $82 million in 2010-11 for health insurance premiums for retirees covered by the teachers union CBA. The retirees contributed nothing toward premiums.


The murky language of the CBA suggested that all employees covered by the contract

received 10 paid sick days per academic year, and also earned .05 hours of “illness absence credit” for each hour of work. They also received up to six paid days for personal leave.

Teachers took 297,905 sick days and 39,873 personal days in 2010-11. That averaged out to 12 days of paid absence for the 27,925 full-time union teachers. There are also many types of unpaid absences allowed by the district. Substitutes were obviously needed on most occasions to cover for absent teachers.

Under the CBA, regular subs were paid a base rate of $173 per day ($28 per hour) in 2010-11.

Those on the “daily incentive plan” or those considered “day-to-day” substitutes were paid $233 per day ($38 per hour). Summer school subs were paid between $189 and $255 per day.

Subs working in the Developmental Center/Early Education Center were paid between $151 and $168 per day.

The Los Angeles Unified School District reported spending $382 million for substitute teacher services in 2010-11. We thought that figure sounded a bit high, and we doublechecked with communication personnel at the district, to make sure it wasn’t a typographical error. Despite their best efforts, they were unable to contact the departments that could either confirm or correct the reported dollar figure.


These are common in American school districts, and incredibly expensive. Contract terms guarantee most teachers an automatic raise every year, based on their years of service and level of college degree attained, with no regard to classroom performance.

The Los Angeles Unified School District spent $47 million on automatic, annual raises for teachers in 2010-11.


The CBA offered a limited description of the “instructional coaches” program, but it seems clear it involves selected employees working with classroom teachers to improve instruction.

According to a 2009 media report, there were more than 1,000 of these coaches working in the district at that time. The CBA says, “The goal of instructional coaches is to increase the opportunity for success of teachers and students by demonstrating, teaching and inspiring excellence in the profession.” Instructional coaches are paid “according to the teacher preparation salary table plus a salary differential of $150 per pay period.”

The Los Angeles Unified School District spent $62 million for instructional coaches in 2010-11.


The CBA stipulated that teachers who fill in for absent colleagues (classroom teachers or

library media teachers) when a substitute can’t be found receive extra pay.

The Los Angeles Unified School District paid teachers $6.2 million in 2010-11 to serve as replacement teachers.


The CBA stipulated that “employees who were employed by the district for 1992-93, and then retire from the district commencing July 1, 1994 or thereafter, shall receive a lump sum bonus at the time of retirement. An employee will be paid an amount determined by multiplying the employee’s regular daily rate for the year preceding the retirement date by 20.4.”

The Los Angeles Unified School District paid out $5.4 million in retirement bonuses to 787 employees covered by the teachers union CBA in 2010-11. That averaged out to $6,861.49 peremployee.


According to CBA, teachers were paid to participate in a certain number of professional

development programs during the course of a school year. “Participation in such continued learning is a required professional duty and part of each teacher’s basic personal obligation to the profession and to the students of the district,” the contract said.

The Los Angeles Unified School District spent $402,427 on extra pay for teachers for professional development activities in 2010-11.


The CBA said “the district has agreed to establish a program for payment of additional

compensation to UTLA-represented permanent employees who work directly with students on a daily basis in a classroom setting who obtain National Board Certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Each qualified employee in permanent or probationary status shall receive compensation at their daily rate for actually working a number of additional days/hours equal to 7.5 percent of their work year (92 hours) and shall also receive a differential of 7.5 percent per year for a total of 15 percent increase in compensation above their base rate.”

The Los Angeles Unified School District spent $3.7 million on extra compensation in 2010-

11 for employees who obtained National Board Certification status.


The CBA said, “A paid leave may … be granted by attendance at conferences and conventions sponsored by professional instructional organizations which are recognized by the State Board of Education or approved by the appropriate administrator.” The leaves are not supposed to necessitate the hiring of a substitute teacher, unless the attendee is the official representative of the district or a workshop leader or speaker at the event.

The Los Angeles Unified School District spent $1.8 million on salary for teachers attending conferences and conventions in 2010-11.


According to the CBA, “the attendance incentive plan is intended to reward regular

attendance in order to improve the instructional program and reduce the costs of

absenteeism.” The maximum yearly bonus payment is equal to the number of illness days actually earned by the employee during the school year, or a maximum of 10 days. Each hour of absenteeism due to illness or personal necessity is subtracted from that amount. Half of each employee’s payments were put into an interest-gathering reserve fund, to be paid to the employee upon retirement.

The Los Angeles Unified School District paid employees covered by the teachers union CBA $207,047 in attendance incentive bonuses in 2010-11.


The school district had a deficit of $640 million in 2010-11. A common sense approach to trimming that shortfall by nearly half, and limiting the number of layoffs and furlough days, would have been to reduce, delay or eliminate many of the expenditures listed above (as well as many others not listed). Nobody’s base salary would have been cut, and retiree health insurance would not have been affected. Such a plan would have required the cooperation of the teachers union.

Cut substitute teacher costs by one-third $127 million

Employees pay 20 percent of their health care premiums $66.8 million

Cancel automatic, annual salary increases for one year $47 million

Cut the instructional coaches budget in half $31 million

Make teachers cover for absent colleagues without extra pay $6.2 million

Delay payment of retirement bonuses $5.4 million

Eliminate conference and convention activities for one year $1.8 million

Suspend national certification bonuses for one year $3.7 million

Suspend the attendance incentive program for one year $207,047

Suspend professional development pay for one year $402,427


Total savings $289 million


Before the 2010-11 school year, the Los Angeles Unified School District was reporting a

staggering budget deficit of $640 million. Thousands of employees were laid off and five

instructional days were removed from the school calendar. Yet the district somehow found money to spend:


$382 million on substitute teachers

$416 million on free health insurance for employees/retirees

$62 million for “instructional coaches”

$47 million on automatic, annual raises for teachers

$6.2 million for teachers who cover for absent colleagues

$5.4 million for retirement bonuses

$3.7 million for national board certification bonuses

$1.8 million for conference and convention attendance

$402,427 for professional development activities

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July 8, 2014 at 2:46 am

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Rene Diedrich

I sortbof agree with you on part of this. academic coaches are a waste. The union is a waste . If teachers need time off they can gphave it butbthey cannit be paid for 16 days a year. However you need to understand these figures are not reliable. The district has many reains to puff them up becuase it is abusing the funding. These TAj Mahalnschools are good reeason to fire all of thes administrators, which have grown 25% in a decade, audit and investigat their positions and hire back anyone whonis competent and uncorrupted. LBUSD serves a similr demographic and has some of the finest urban schools in the nation. Why won’t LAUSD adopt some of their practices? Because Long Beach schools defer to teachers , whose union is small, silent and superfluous . There is a very small educracy. Modest school sites wwith no police ( security which is not armed nor oppressive) serve the students well as they are adopted to fit the communities evolving needs, they have a schedule that accomodates remediation as well as morning sessions for parents to learn how to help children do homework, they learn Engoish, take part in events and are treated like members of the community. Make no mistake, the principals can still be a holes and parents/teachers stikl are confronted by many issues, but the city oversees the schools rather than exploiting them or seeing profits rather than pupils.
I know subs do not earn anything close to the figures you have. They probably top out at $150 a day and believe me , they earn every cent.
We have not, by the way had a salery increase in five years . We have accepted sizable cuts instead.
How about turning your jaundiced eye towards the district police dept. these guys earn what rookie teachers do and then some, they get all the perks too. And guess what? Theyre hiring. They have a sizable operation all their own and act as gestapo for admin and officials when they arent hpjacking bangers for bags of weed and issuing trucance citations fo tardy students as they enter the school.
Also, teachers.do not choose these conferences, many come from within and have inflated costs. The ones we wish to attend we pay for ourselves.
It seems unfaiir to say teachers who become board certified should be denied a reward. If you won the pulitzer prize in jounalism , you’d be paid more. If one has more skills, ones that she can share with colleagues , she deserves to be paid for the hard work she invested to become NBC . Again those figures are amplified.
Why shouldnt teahers have a pension? It is really a pretty modest amount and most professionals get one. We sacrafice SSI even when we have decades in private sector contributions.
Notably you have failed to address the real problem: Administration and officials. They all command six figures. Many hire consultans that cost close to this to do their jobs for them. They arrange the conferences, the kickbacks, the contractors, the concessions to utla. They are the main reason we spend more on legal expenses than actual education for students. Look at the headlines for the last five years. You will. See money squandered on tests that sport a margin of error of more than 50% . We may as wll flip a coin for teachers’ evaluations. There are assistants to assistants that earn twice what teachers do. There are administrators promoted to desk jobs with full pay but no dutues after being caught stealing, perving and so on. We have metal detectors gathering dust in an office. Solar panels that will return the investment in 250 years. The superintendent , a dubious character with a history of scams and lying about his qualifications earns 270k a year with a pension that is obscene. He is afforded opulent housing, a driver and a towncar, expense accounts and other perks . Then there is the grifters who put him in position. Eli Broad is behind the Ramon Cortines HS for the arts where art may nor be funded in fall.. His company insisted on all the costly nonsense, yet he beat that architect out his pay and conned LAUSD into believing he was going to help pay for this monstrosity. He didn’t . His philanthropy has really cost us billions. Comsoder the Beaudry building which has many issues . LAUSD agreed to purchase that for far more than it is worth and still has office scattered all over the county. We were told the local disticts would merge . From 8 to 4 but only LD8 was officially closed. Only it isnt closed at all. It is renamed and filled with employees, many of them are rubber roomed teachers of a ceratin age who are being railroaded. LD8 has been so criminal and incompetent, it appears Deasy hopes to dodge lawuits leveled at LAUDd concerning discrimination, school shootings, special education noncompliance, wrongful terminations, workplace injuries involbpving teachers harmed in workplace violence who were denied ambulances and forbidden to leave until the last bell rang. This effectively casts doubt on their claims and of course, created worse injuries. The district lawyers will bribe doctors to lie rather than pay a teacher who is disabled on the job.
Then there is the Belmont Black hole which epitomizes the arrogance and deciet that is LAUSD . Billions spent on a learning center we never saw open. The site itself is toxic. The most expensive HS in the country was demolished. But rather than admt the project was a total failure They decide to put this barrier between the new school and the deadky gases festering below, 5th grade science tells us that gas cannot be contained indefinitely when it is volatile and , scientists adamently warned that a whiff of this gas will devestate the nervous system. A very small amount is deadly, but this did not stop LAUSD. They renamed the HS , relied on a city with An attention span that is apparently the same size as a gnat’s and fired scientists . They did not give a dang if the building was also on a earthquake fault .
Now when the ground shifts, the building settles and the inevitable cracks spread in the foundation, those fumes are going to seep up and damage the brains of students and staff. The truth is the site is not safe for anyone to be on it without masks, but since LAUSD is so certain it is ok why not let the honchos and the board work there . Or better yet, they can send their kids to that school.

You did your research but it betrays your bias. All you did was look for ways to blame teachers and further devalue them. This says a great deal about what you value . If your interest was in improving education while cutting the insane and unnecessary costs, you would have asked yourself how accurate these figures are, investigated the glaring expenses of a bloated top heavy administration, examined the high price buildings, that were 3 times what they should have been there is $16 million spent on tests that are inaccurate and poorly written, legal hassles, PR costs, many toxic school sites, some have tainted pipes so there is no drinking water.
The school lunch is costing 5 times what it should and it is deplorable .it works against success for students. There are programs that we no sooner start then another replaces it. There is a forgune spent on professional development that does nothing but waste instructional time, there are text books that have new editions every other year, two per students because they are so huge kids need to keep one at home. They never open it, but for he cost of just two of ten books a HS kid is assigned each year, we could furnish ipads and , engage them, keep records, accurately evaluate them, the teacher and the instructional methods while being GASP objective and including teachers in the process, apthis would save millions yearly on texts, supplies, and truancy.
You woukd be surprused to learn that teachers are not their unions. Mmost of us are dusgusted by UTLA . We want bad teachers dismissed and share taxoayer’s dismay at the waste and wanton abuse of school funding. We pay taxes too. Believe it or not most of us work long hard hours that go far beyond the school day. In summer we are paid because our wages are allotted this way upon request. Most of prepare lesson, attend training, do research, establish community connections, acquire donations for things the distrit will not provide and/ or teach summer school / moonlight at seasonal jobs.
Teachers cannot afford to buy homes unless they are married according HUD. Those who do live in hoods with their students. Teachers have schoolmloans they cannot make interest on . They pay for an average of $500 in supplies each year an they no longer get tax breaks fir $250. We have to call parents when we are at home , we must keep food in our desks for hungry kids. We provide incentives, pay for field trips, raising funds to cover expenses for art shows, play production, academic decathalons, and oh yes, the kids who die in drive bys just off campus are left in the morgue until their parent can come uo with money for the funeral hime so we spend Saturdays at carwashes.
I have bought caps and gowns, deoderant& soap, zit cream, gallons of hand sanitizers, tissues, breakfast for AP tests, 100s of pizzas, drinking water, fabric for costimes, books for my practice and that students want to read in a librarry I built. I have purxchased dozens of donuts , candy bars to support causes, pencil,sharoeners, cleaning supplies, posters, musical instruments for kids who could not pay for them. I pay bus fare, suppky tampons, and pay fees fir SAT, AP and college application fees when students can’t. I send cookies and books to the miscreants who end up in juvie.
I am not going to bother prifreading because you will probably fins some reason to mischaracterize me and my colleagues anyway. Besides my education, experience and expertise are essentially worthless according to you. When students see how teachers are treated it is no wonder they don’t think school is worth the hassle.it isn’t as long as EducRAT$, liberal hypocrites, and right winging its are skewing their misinformatoon so that teachers are at fault for everything that is wrong in the world. The fascists went after educators first. Ask yourself if you really want to be a part of this intellectual holacaust. If not go back and start over.
Please do your homework. And for gods’ sake question the white chalk crimnals instead of making teachers responsible for things they have no control over.

July 12, 2012 at 3:26 pm

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