Educators in the Orcutt Union School District wore black for solidarity Wednesday at what was the second district school board meeting union members attended to voice concerns about compensation.
District and Orcutt Educators Association representatives began contract negotiations Oct. 16 to discuss working days and hours, compensation and class size.
Monique Segura, president of the teachers union, said the district and union are not far apart from reaching an agreement about compensation, but teachers would like the district to contribute more money to ongoing salary increases.
“We haven’t had a raise in over eight years,” she said.
Educators reduced an initial request for a 9-percent raise to a 6-percent salary increase. District representatives offered a 2.5-percent salary raise, a 4-percent one-time bonus and a 0.5-percent increase toward health benefit costs.
Bob Bush, superintendent of the Orcutt district, said the district presented its best packaged deal to teachers at the first negotiation meeting.
“It’s a real difference in what they think we have and what we feel we have,” he said.
While some negotiation teams hold initial meetings and approach roadblocks to reaching agreements, other union and district representatives wrap up negotiations and salary talks in board meetings.
Classified union workers — which represent custodians, groundskeepers, cafeteria workers and other employees— have signed agreements and approved salary bumps in Blochman and Santa Maria Joint Union school districts.
School board members in the Blochman Union School District unanimously approved $2,000 stipends for certificated workers such as teachers and classified employees Tuesday.
“I am happy to announce we did reach an agreement for the 2013-14 school year,” said Doug Brown, superintendent of the district.
Eight teachers and 10 classified workers will receive the added funding in monthly installments from September to June. The bonus will be awarded in full for employees who work eight- hour days and on a sliding scale for those who work fewer than eight hours.
Contract negotiation talks that could affect class size, teacher evaluations, professional days and compensation are ongoing in the Lucia Mar Unified, Orcutt Union, Santa Maria-Bonita and Santa Maria Joint Union school districts.
Negotiations to continue:
The Guadalupe Union School District will consider a 3- percent, off-schedule raise (or bonus) for about 40 classified employees in a school board meeting tonight.
Negotiations with teachers will continue Wednesday.
Union and district representatives in the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District will meet Dec. 6 to continue negotiations, and salary conversations related to classified employees in the Lucia Mar Unified School District will follow a Wednesday meeting about district finances.