Deal extends L.A. school year, restores 3-week winter break

Two students sit behind a dark-color desk and look at the same book. Books, papers and a pencil lay on the desk.
Students Ana Menbreno, left, and Carolina Gomez take a biology class at Maywood Center for Enriched Studies Magnet in Maywood during “acceleration days,” two days of optional learning that were moved from the middle of the school calendar to the first two weekdays of winter break in December.
(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

A sweeping agreement announced Friday between unions and Los Angeles school officials will result in a longer school year, a return to a three-week winter break and a reboot of controversial acceleration days.

The deal, which will be subject to a ratification vote next week, also includes the resolution of legal issues, some of which could have proved to be important test cases for future labor negotiations.

Under the pact, each of the next two years will be extended by three days of instruction — although teachers’ pay will increase by only one day. The district is accomplishing this by eliminating two required days that teachers formerly had to work when no students were on campus.

Teachers will have the option, however, of choosing to work one extra day at the beginning of the year to set up and one extra day at the end of the year to put things away — days for which they would be paid.


L.A. schools Supt. Alberto Carvalho had been looking for ways to lengthen the school year, and he finally achieved that.

But he had to give up an attempt to shorten winter break from three weeks to two. He had argued that the longer break made it harder for students to retain learning and harder for low-income families to provide child care.

Whether year-round school or weeklong Thanksgiving break, school calendars provoke passion. Now there’s debate and pending legal action over the length of winter break.

May 4, 2023

The three-week winter break will return for the next two school years. The district and union will negotiate what happens after that.

The district issued a statement that was not attributed to any official: “In all decisions, student learning and the well-being of students, families and employees are the District’s top priorities. We are confident that this agreement supports our north star — ensuring every child in the District has the instruction and support needed to graduate ready for the world.”

Under the deal, the next school year will begin Aug. 14, according to the district’s statement. Winter break will begin Dec. 18, with classes resuming Jan. 8, 2024. The last day of school will be June 11, 2024.

During the restored three-week break, the district will host three days of optional learning, much like the acceleration days that took place in the current school year.

The extra learning time — two days during winter break — was created to help students struggling with pandemic-related learning setbacks.


The acceleration days had limited participation and a mixed reception, although many secondary students effectively used them to raise grades or even move from failing grades to passing grades.

While much of the deal affects students and their teachers, who are members of United Teachers Los Angeles, all school-based employees will be affected.

Also part of the agreement is Local 99 of Service Employees International Union. Its members will work the required days and receive extra pay — and they have opportunities to earn additional compensation on optional days. Local 99 members include bus drivers, teacher aides, custodians and cafeteria workers.

Outside Saticoy Elementary School in North Hollywood, parents protesting a Pride Day assembly clashed with police and counterprotesters supporting LGBTQ+ rights and education.

June 2, 2023

Another term of the deal is that the district and unions will dismiss outstanding legal claims. The district will give up on proving its claim that a three-day joint strike by the two unions in March was illegal. The teachers union will give up its challenge of whether the district can impose an instructional calendar. Local 99 will dismiss or work to quickly settle a long list of pending disputes before the state labor board.

The teachers union posted information for its members Friday, noting in part that “while UTLA and SEIU 99 remain confident we would prevail in [state labor board] hearings ... it is in the interest of both UTLA and SEIU 99 members to try to reach an agreement on all of the issues within this school year.”

UTLA’s ratification vote will take place Tuesday through Thursday. On its website, SEIU 99 said its members would be voting Wednesday through Friday.

Based on district surveys, most parents and teachers had favored the three-week break, but L.A. Unified was generally an outlier in having a winter break that long.