LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — LAUSD teachers and the district will meet Thursday with a state mediator in an effort to avoid the first teachers’ walkout since 1989.

The Los Angeles Unified School District offered an updated contract to United Teachers Los Angeles Tuesday night, which Superintendent Austin Beutner said included a 6 percent pay raise over two years and class-size reductions at 15 middle schools and 75 elementary schools determined to have the “highest need.”

UTLA, however, called the proposal “insulting” and a “stunning example of disrespect” to its 33,000 members. The union criticized the district for sending the contract proposal to the Los Angeles Times and other media outlets before sharing it with the union.

The union is asking for a 6.5 percent pay increase retroactive to July 1, 2016, along with provisions for class-size reductions, accountability measures for charter schools and limits on standardized testing, among other provisions.

District officials said the union’s salary proposal would increase the LAUSD’s existing $500 million deficit in the current school year by another $813 million. But the union says the district can easily afford more investments in salaries and classrooms, pointing to a recent audit indicating the district has nearly $1.9 billion in reserve funds.

The district contends its reserve funds are already being used to cover budget shortfalls, which are expected to continue over the next three years — a claim also strongly disputed by the union.

UTLA’s members have already overwhelmingly authorized a strike, but that possibility will remain on hold pending the mediation sessions and a subsequent fact-finding period if the mediation effort fails.

(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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