Local News in Brief : Teachers Conduct Rush-Hour March
Several thousand chanting, sign-waving teachers, hoping to call attention to their salary fight with the school board, staged a rush-hour march Wednesday evening that snaked along the sidewalks of Los Angeles Civic Center.
The demonstration, which began and ended in the shadow of the four-story headquarters offices of the Los Angeles Unified School District, was orderly and appeared to create only minor added delays for home-bound motorists, many of whom honked horns in support of the teachers.
“We’ve got to put some pressure on,” teachers union President Wayne Johnson told the crowd, as they chanted “Chop from the top"--a phrase aimed at what teachers charge is a top-heavy, overpaid administration in the 600,000-student district. Singled out for repeated ridicule by Johnson and other speakers were Supt. Leonard Britton, who earns $141,000 a year, and his driver-bodyguard, who earned more than $90,000 last year, about half of it in overtime.
Contract talks between the district and the union, United Teachers-Los Angeles, have dragged on for more than a year and the two sides remain far apart on key issues, including pay increases and how schools should be managed. Teachers are seeking a one-year 12% pay hike, while the administration is offering 17% over three years, with the possibility of more if additional state funds become available.