L.A. Unified to give employees $500 a month per child 5 and under to help pay for day care

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First-grader April Alvarez logs into online classes in September 2020 from the Delano Recreation Center in Van Nuys, with help from Astrid Gramajo. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

First-grader April Alvarez logs into online classes in September 2020 from the Delano Recreation Center in Van Nuys, with help from Astrid Gramajo. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Full-time Los Angeles Unified School District employees, including teachers and other support staff, will receive $500 a month for each of their children age 5 and younger as school campuses reopen this month, officials said Monday.

The stipend will be offered for the remainder of the spring semester and to those who work as part of summer school, which runs through July 31, the district said in a news release.

Children must be enrolled in a child-care program to qualify.

Last month, United Teachers Los Angeles requested accommodations for staff with child care needs, as well as health risks.

“As part of the hybrid reopening of schools, childcare is supposed to be available for LAUSD students in TK-8, through the Beyond the Bell program,” the union said in a statement. “However, just like before the pandemic, LAUSD does not have the capacity to provide childcare for the children of educators who are younger than school age or who attend school in other districts.”

The move comes as school workers face rising costs at day care centers that have had to reduce capacity during the pandemic — if they’ve been able to stay open, Superintendent Austin Beutner said.

“It’s been a very long year since COVID-19 led to the closure of schools, and many of our employees have had to juggle their responsibilities at work with the need to take care of their own families, including young children,” he wrote in a statement.

The district also said the subsidies would help ensure its 1,400 schools are adequately staffed when they reopen this month.

LAUSD is partnering with Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 99, Carina Care and the Child Care Alliance of Los Angeles to help connect workers with care for their young children.

“Through Carina Care and the Child Care Alliance of Los Angeles, as well as investment from Los Angeles Unified, school workers will be able to access quality, affordable childcare as they return to work to support and provide in-person instruction,” SEIU Local 99 Executive Director Max Arias said. “It’s a critical first step in the reopening and recovery process.”

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