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Teachers, Schools in Accord on Contract

Times Staff Writer

With high hopes that their acrimony is history, officials representing the San Diego Unified School District and the district’s 6,000 teachers announced Monday that they have reached agreement on a four-year contract that goes beyond salary and benefits and includes provisions for key educational reforms.

The reforms would allow individual schools to tailor programs to meet their needs and talents, an integral element in reform proposals being promoted nationally.

Teachers would be involved with principals at each school in a variety of decisions such as organizing and staffing; budget preparation; altering schedules and learning activities to accommodate different levels of student learning; peer coaching, observation schedules and team performance reviews, and devising systems for school accountability.

Pleased With Proposal

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Although both Supt. Tom Payzant and San Diego Teachers Assn. President Hugh P. Boyle, who at one-on-one meetings starting in August built the framework of the agreement, were pleased with other parts of the labor proposal, each was particularly happy over the educational reform provision and the creation of a six-member Contract Administration Committee.

This committee, with three members each from the teachers association, including its president, and the superintendent’s office, including the superintendent, is intended to keep the lines of communication open between the district and the teachers union. Among other responsibilities, the committee would review reform proposals made at individual schools that are in conflict with the contract and thus need a waiver.

In such cases, the committee would review the proposals and approve or disapprove them subject to ratification by the Board of Education and the teachers association. The normal avenues to take care of grievances, however, will remain in place.

‘A New Energy’

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“I think this reflects a new energy and a new era based on trust instead of distrust and suspicion,” Payzant said. “I see it as dramatic because it really is the approach to revise the relationship that has existed, where annually we are at odds (and) there is tension and energy expended fighting each other.”

Boyle, who was also the association president 11 years ago when teachers struck, said: “I see this as changing (our relationship) significantly and for the better.”

The meat and potatoes of the proposed contract would give teachers a 6% salary increase in 1988-89. That would lift the beginning salary of a teacher to $21,031 a year. Top-paid teachers would get $43,752 annually.

Salaries for the next three years, ending in 1991-92, would be based on a cost-of-living adjustment provided by the Legislature.

In the next few weeks, bargaining teams for both sides will meet to draft final contract language. The goal is to have the contract ready for ratification by teachers and the Board of Education by Nov. 15, when an interim contract expires.

Other key parts of the proposed agreement include:

Preparation--Elementary school teachers would be guaranteed two days a month of class preparation. Boyle said classes would be let out early so a teacher could prepare without being interrupted by classes or meetings called by administrators.

Transfer and reassignment--People hired to fill new jobs posted by the principals and the district would come from a pool of the five most-senior teachers applying for the position.

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Days off--Although some restrictions apply, teachers would be given two personal days off a year, deducted from sick leave.

Dental--At the end of the contract, the district would pay 100% of all dental benefits.

Interns--A new classification would allow for intern teachers, who would be paid 80% of a beginning teacher’s salary.

Union--In the third year of the contract, teachers would vote on an “agency fee election” that, if successful, would allow the union to collect mandatory dues from all teachers in the district.


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