Las Virgenes Unified School District teachers, saying they fear that they may soon be required to hold graduate degrees to qualify for top wages, have flooded the district with grievance petitions.
Teachers union leaders said 252 grievances were filed by Tuesday. They said the petitions claim that school officials are violating the instructors’ contract by introducing a master’s-degree proposal.
The issue surfaced in negotiations over cost-of-living adjustments to teachers’ pay for the current school year. District officials said they discussed a possible advanced-degree requirement with teachers because of a clause in the current contract that calls for Las Virgenes teachers’ salaries to be “compatible” with those in other Los Angeles County school systems.
Las Virgenes teachers are not now required to have graduate degrees to receive top pay, but teachers in other districts in the county are, according to Las Virgenes Supt. Albert Marley.
Marley said Tuesday that his district will consult its lawyers before deciding whether each of the 252 grievances will require a separate hearing. “I certainly hope this would not hold up negotiations,” he said.
Karen Lough, president of the Las Virgenes Educators Assn., said wage talks have broken off because of the district’s proposal. The union is seeking a 6% cost-of-living raise this semester.
The district is beginning the second year of a three-year contract with the teachers.