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Dollars and Cents: How LAUSD and UTLA Failed to Pay a Teacher Today

I know the national debate can be interpreted as if teachers are overpaid or underpaid. However, how about just getting paid at all?

You remember, Peter, right?

In case you were wondering, he’s still a substitute teacher for himself.

Today is payday for LAUSD. However, Peter didn’t receive a paycheck. Somewhere along the line someone didn’t file or process something and it means he’s waiting another week for the error to be fixed.

Talking with Peter this evening, it’s unbelievable how much this district forces someone that loves to teach (and is really, really good at it) to continually be punished. After spending the summer collecting unemployment because the district RIFd him due to seniority, he’s now stuck trying to make ends meet until the district fixes its error.

To make matters worse, there are two kinds of sub pay for the district. Here’s an excerpt from what Peter wrote to help organize the other RIFd teachers at the school:

For the 2011-2012 LAUSD school year the day-to-day substitute rate is $173.04 a day, or $28.83942/hr. For our group this is our rate until we start to get paid the day-today substitute extended rate of $233.52 a day, or $38.92002/hr. That is a huge difference, and for many of us (after a summer on unemployment), a necessary rate. Here is a link to the pay rate information for substitutes:

Technically we are not currently being paid that rate.  Normally substitutes do not receive the extended coverage pay rate until their 21st consecutive day covering the same classes. However, the exception that applies to us is that the extended rate kicks in after 10 days of continuous coverage that started with the opening day of school and covered an unfilled position.

Turns out that the RIFd teachers at the school (the ones that actually got paid, that is) got paid as day-to-day substitutes. That’s a $10 difference per hour. For six hours per day. For 18 days.

108 hours x $10 … oh yeah, RIFd teachers, on top of being essentially second-class citizens in the LAUSD world just got shorted more than a thousand dollars.

As our story has previously tried to explain, both the district and UTLA have been complicit in allowing the RIFd teachers to languish in employment limbo.

I am confident that Peter and the other amazing RIFd teachers I’ve been privileged to work with are seriously considering looking for employment possibilities outside of LAUSD. And can you blame them? After the significant challenges our school has faced? After the civil disrespect from the district? After the lack of fiscal, moral, or networked support from UTLA? Manual Arts is going to lose some of its best teachers during a hugely challenging year due to a mixture of incompetence, oversight, and fiscal irresponsibility.

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