Teachers are preparing to strike the Los Angeles Unified School District, California’s largest with 600,000 students. A strike would inflict terrible consequences on students and working parents. There is a solution.

Teachers need higher paychecks but in August the chief financial officer of the Los Angeles County Office of Education said LAUSD’s fiscal situation is serious enough to potentially warrant the imposition of a fiscal advisor. Despite a 37 percent revenue increase over five years to $16,000 per student, LAUSD is running on fumes — and that’s after a nine-year bull market and 30 percent tax increase. Just imagine its finances when the bull market ends.

But inside LAUSD is a source of money that could produce a $10,000 increase in salary per teacher. Believe it or not, currently LAUSD is choosing to spend $300 million per year on health care subsidies for retired teachers — including retirees entitled to Medicare.

You read that right. LAUSD is diverting dollars from active teachers in order to provide unnecessary health insurance subsidies to retirees on Medicare.

The solution is clear: LAUSD should stop subsidizing health care for retirees entitled to Medicare and use that money to boost salaries for active teachers.

Active teachers need higher salaries, LAUSD students and their families can’t afford a strike, and retirees on Medicare don’t need health care subsidies. LAUSD’s path is clear.

Written by

Lecturer at Stanford University and president of Govern For California

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