The district says schools will remain open for the same hours during the strike, with the same before- and after-school programs. It also said that student learning will still take place in schools staffed by administrators, volunteers and 400 newly hired substitute teachers.
Negotiations with the L.A. Unified School District started in early 2017. Union members have been working without a contract for more than a year. LAUSD is the second-largest school district in the nation, with about 480,000 students.
The district and the union are close to an agreement on teacher salaries, but educators and union leaders say the strike is about more than paychecks.
"It's about the conditions that the kids are learning in," says Scout Wodehouse, a drama teacher at Orthopaedic Hospital Medical Magnet High School in downtown L.A.
On Thursday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a proposed budget that includes more funding for public education. The next day, LAUSD presented a new offer that put more money toward the union's demands — but union leaders said the offer wasn't enough. They want smaller class sizes, more counselors and librarians, and a full-time nurse in every school.
"If they want a strike, they'll have a strike," said LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner at a Friday press conference after unveiling the district's new offer. "We're doing everything we can to avoid it. We don't want it because we know the harm it will cause."
"This is not an easy decision for us," said Jesenia Chavez, a Spanish teacher at UCLA Community School in the Koreatown neighborhood.
"Public education for me was a space of transformation, a place for opportunity," said Chavez, who grew up in southeast Los Angeles and teaches many immigrants and low-income students. "And that's why I'm striking."
Schools across the district informed parents of their plans during the strike, with several noting that kids should bring an extra book to read.
According to a letter sent to parents at Walter Reed Middle School in North Hollywood, students will rotate through three subject blocks — English, math and physical education. The Los Angeles Times reports that Katherine Johnson STEM Academy, in the Westchester neighborhood, plans to have students work on district-issued Chromebooks.
About 81 percent of L.A.'s public school students receive free or reduced-price meals, which schools will continue to serve. Nearly 75 percent of the district's students are Latino, according to data for the 2017-18 school year.