Mayor Eric Garcetti expressed confidence Monday that an agreement can be struck to end the Los Angeles Unified School District teachers' strike, saying "there is not much that separates the two sides."
Garcetti said he or his staff have been in hourly conversations with representatives of both sides in the dispute.
"We do have, I think, very little room that separates us, but we have to get back to the table," the mayor told reporters at an afternoon news conference at this office.
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"... Rhetoric aside, when we look at what that distance is ... I truly do believe not a lot separates us materially. We have some policy issues to confront on things like charters, on things like how is LAUSD going to be reorganized under the new superintendent and what role will teachers play in that reorganization, but I really do know ... they're not talking very far away from each other and that gives me the confidence we can get this done soon."
He added, "I do feel good that we can in this coming week or by next week hammer out a deal."
Garcetti conceded that there is a level of mistrust on each side, and he said the union and district need to get back to closed-door negotiations instead of public rhetoric.
"Effective deals get done behind closed doors with tough negotiations," he said. "Surprising people by press conferences isn't useful. Having things go through more rhetoric than actual results won't help our children, so we need to get back as soon as possible. I'm optimistic that will happen this week, hopefully earlier in the week than later."
Garcetti said he was proud of the stand teachers were taking with their walkout, saying "they believe deeply in the social justice of public education and they want to do what's right for our children."
"They're not abandoning children today, as they said. They're walking out for the children, and I truly believe that."