LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Are the kids all right on the third day of the LA teachers strike?
Attendance at the more than 1,000 schools within the Los Angeles Unified School District have dropped precipitously as the L.A. teachers strike dragged into its third day.
The first day of the strike, just a third of the more than 600,000 students served by LAUSD showed up for class, costing the district $25 million, according to Superintendent Austin Beutner. The second day, attendance ticked up an additional 13 percent.
With 35,000 teachers on the picket lines, classrooms are sitting empty throughout the city. LAUSD students who are showing up are being grouped into classes of multiple grades and corralled into auditoriums and gyms to mostly play games or into lecture halls for general education lessons under the supervision of credentialed administrators and substitute teachers.
"I want this whole situation to end as quick as possible because I'm very scared that my grades will get affected," one girl said.
In a robocall to parents Wednesday night, the district continued to emphasize that schools remain open, but said that students who do not come to school during the strike will not be penalized or cited for truancy.
Members of United Teachers Los Angeles staged rallies throughout the city Wednesday. At Hawthorne High, Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz joined the picket lines, and said he wants the city to study the impact of charter schools on the district.
"How positive is it to have charters, how negative is it to the district to have charters? I think that's part of why they have the financial shortfall that they do," Koretz said.
Meanwhile, civil rights activist Dolores Huerta, who had fought for the rights of migrant farm workers alongside Cesar Chavez, joined students and parents in a march in support of teachers in East L.A.
No new negotiations have been scheduled, and the district and unions remain at an impasse over pay raises, the addition of support staff like nurses and counselors, and the growth of charter schools. But, city officials confirmed they are talking to both the union and the district separately.
"We went to the mayor," UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl said. "We said, help us get the parties back together. We've been in conversation."
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