Teachers in Claremont to Strike for 1 Day

Times Staff Writer

Teachers at 11 Claremont schools will stage a one-day strike today to focus attention on their demands for more pay, a union official said.

Meanwhile, both sides in the West Covina teachers' dispute said Thursday that their teachers would be back in the classrooms next Tuesday, after the Memorial Day weekend.

Del Pfeifer, spokesman for the California Teachers' Assn., said that he expected at least 80% of the 240 teachers at Claremont's schools--which include one high school and one junior high school--to stay away from work today.

"We'll be back at work Tuesday morning," Pfeifer said.

But the Claremont School District said that none of the 5,300 students should miss classes because of the walkout.

"We've got substitute teachers lined up for every classroom," said Jeanne Hazelton, administrative assistant to Claremont Schools Superintendent Richard S. Kirkendall.

Teachers are seeking a salary increase of 7.2% for the current school year retroactive to last July. Hazelton said that the district is offering a 5.5% increase retroactive to last July and up to 1.7% more at the end of the school year, depending on how much money the district has left at that time.

The teachers have been working without a contract since last July, and negotiations have been under way since April, 1984.

West Covina teachers offered Thursday to go back to work next Tuesday if negotiations on salaries begin without delay. They suggested holding talks today, Saturday or Sunday.

But after Don Todd, superintendent of West Covina schools, met with the district's school board Thursday afternoon, the board told teachers that the earliest they could resume negotiations would be next Wednesday.

"The teachers will be back in the classroom Tuesday, as we offered," said Betty Joyce, president of the Teachers' Assn. of West Covina. "But we'll meet Tuesday to discuss the board's reply."

West Covina teachers, who walked out Wednesday, are seeking a 6.5% pay increase to compensate for the district's additional five school days and longer teaching hours this year. The district is offering 4.7% more this year retroactive to last September and a three-year package to follow that would increase salaries by another 24.78%.

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