Union Says Package Isn't Enough : Beverly Hills Teachers Get 'Final Offer'

Times Staff Writer

Contract talks between the Beverly Hills Unified School District and the teachers' association will resume today on the heels of a marathon bargaining session Saturday to consider a "final offer" of a 5% salary increase.

Walther Puffer, assistant superintendent for personnel, said "negotiations are completed. We have made our last offer and all that needs to be done is some work on the clarification of (contract) language."

Puffer said that he believes the district has done what it can to reach an agreement. "Now the district wants to get back to the business of education," he said.

Kenneth Eaves, president of the 300-member Beverly Hills Education Assn., said that the recent talks have been productive.

'Grave Problems'

"We got more accomplished in 12 hours than we have gotten accomplished in 12 months," he said. "But there are grave problems. I would hope that their last, best and final offer is one of several," Eaves said. "We recognized that the board has moved. But at this point I'm not sure if we were to take a vote on this package, it would be ratified. I tend to think it will be rejected."

Eaves said he does not believe the recent offer by the district will be acceptable to the teachers because it does not go far enough.

He said many of the teachers are concerned about a demand by district negotiators to delete a provision in the contract that makes it difficult to lay off teaching specialists--physical education, home economics, music and art instructors.

Teachers charge that district officials do not want the provision so they will be able to lay off employees. The district, on the other hand, argues that the provision would give art teachers more protection from layoffs than than math instructors.

The 5% salary-increase proposal would raise the average teacher salary in the district to $38,300. A teacher at the top of the salary scale would earn $41,921. An independent fact-finder's report recommended that the district grant a 6.3% salary increase.

The board revealed details of the negotiations during Tuesday's meeting.

8 Teachers Exempted

In other action, the board announced that it would not send layoff notices to eight teachers who were among a group of 44 employees scheduled earlier for dismissal. The board said, however, that it would continue the district's policy of issuing layoff notices to temporary teachers who are hired each year as replacements for teachers who are on leave.

The school board issued a challenge to the community Tuesday night to help the district raise additional revenues to prevent cuts aimed at balancing the 1986-87 school budget.

"The community has told us very clearly that they do not want program cuts," school board President Frank Fenton said. "Now we want to give the community the opportunity to work with us to raise the funds necessary to to keep teachers and maintain programs."

In the strongest statement to date about the district's financial situation, John Scoggin, assistant superintendent of business services for the district, told the audience that the community would have to come up with $1 million by September to avoid further program cuts.

"I will pull no punches. This district is in deep trouble. There are insufficient funds to provide the educational system that you are accustomed to in Beverly Hills," he said.

The $1 million in revenues would be in addition to the $1.5 million the Beverly Hills Education Foundation has pledged to the district during the next two years and the annual contribution of $1.2 million in revenues paid by the city.

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