A strike by Inglewood teachers, originally planned as a one-day walkout Wednesday, was scheduled to continue today with about 90% of the district's 627 instructors staying out of their classrooms.
In nearby Compton, where disgruntled teachers have staged 13 days of intermittent strikes this school year, another walkout is planned today.
The Inglewood Teachers Assn. voted to extend the strike a second day to emphasize dissatisfaction with the district's salary offer.
"We need the district to understand that we are serious about this matter," union President Alma Davis said during an emotion-charged rally by teachers at the Airport Park Hotel Wednesday morning.
Inglewood teachers will return to classes Friday but will walk out again next week if the contract dispute is not settled, Davis said.
The Inglewood district's 19 schools stayed open Wednesday with substitute teachers, parents and administrators minding classrooms.
But district officials said the student absentee rate Wednesday was nearly twice the usual 11% at several elementary schools. The absentee rate at the district's five secondary schools reached 50% by the end of the day, they said.
The teachers union called the strike to protest the school board's decision to back out of a tentative three-year agreement reached in November that would have provided 7% raises annually. District officials said they had to back off when Gov. George Deukmejian released a budget plan in January that provided only a 2% increase in state aid instead of the 5% that the district expected.
District officials are now offering 7% in the first year and raises tied to increases in state aid for the following two years. Teachers have been without a contract since September, but any pay agreement would provide for retroactive increases.
District and union negotiators will hold a community forum to discuss the salary dispute at 7 tonight at Inglewood High School.
In Los Angeles, meanwhile, where teachers held a one-day walkout last week, district and union negotiators have been trying since June to hammer out an agreement on wages and certain other issues. A state-appointed mediator who was brought in last month to monitor the negotiations is scheduled to meet with district representatives today and with union officials sometime next week.
The district has offered a 7% raise to all employees, but teachers are pressing for a 10% to 14% increase over current salaries, which range from $20,600 to $37,500.