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Brea : Union Seeks Lottery Money for Teachers

Money targeted for education from the California Lottery has added a twist to deadlocked negotiations between Brea teachers and their school district.

The teachers’ union, which represents 180 teachers in the district’s nine schools, wants 97% of the money received from the lottery to be divided among them as part of a new salary agreement.

“That’s unrealistic,” Peter Boothroyd, Brea Unified School District assistant superintendent said Thursday. Boothroyd said that including lottery money for salaries would be taking “a risk.”

“There’s no security. There’s no indication that the money will be the same from year to year,” Boothroyd said of the $300,000 to $500,000 the lottery is expected to generate toward the Brea school district’s annual budget of about $13 million.

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But Rachel Sweet, president of the Brea-Olinda Teachers Assn., disagreed, saying that the “money will be available for a long period of time.”

“The lottery was passed for educational programs and teachers must be able to receive some of that lottery money. The district has not offered us any,” Sweet said. If the teachers received the lottery money expected to be given to the district this year, each would get between $1,650 and $2,700.

The district has reached no decision on how the lottery money will be used, Boothroyd said. The first allotment to the district is expected in January.

In addition to the lottery money, the teachers want a 12.5% pay increase and some changes in classroom size and hours. They also want an additional $500 for teachers with more education and experience. The district is offering 3.25%. The average teacher salary in Brea is $27,000, both sides said.

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The district and the teachers reached an impasse on Oct. 15 after negotiating for almost seven months. Officials from both sides are expected to meet with a state mediator Nov. 25.

Although the teachers’ three-year contract does not expire until June, the items in dispute are subject to current negotiation.

A union representing about 250 non-teaching employees is also at an impasse in contract talks. The district offered a 3.25% raise also, Boothroyd said.

If the school district settles with all its employees for a 3.25% raise, it will cost the district an additional $710,000 for the three-year life of the contract, Boothroyd said.

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