Following months of negotiations, representatives of a Glendale teachers union this week tentatively accepted a new contract that calls for a 22.7% pay raise over three years.
Teachers, who have been working without a contract since June, will be asked late next week to ratify the contract, which would give teachers an 8% retroactive pay raise this year. About 600 of the 930 teachers in the Glendale Unified School District are eligible to vote in the election, said Mark Desetti, president of the Glendale Teachers Assn.
Desetti in March had called the district's pay raise offer "fairly good," but the union declared an impasse in negotiations because Desetti said teachers were demanding a greater say in the distribution of funds expected from the passage of the Proposition 98 school bond issue in November.
Until last week, the district had refused the demand, postponing any benefits to teachers from bond funds until the final year of the contract.
Charles Duncan, district director of personnel and employee relations, said Tuesday that the district modified its offer Friday after state officials predicted that state bond money may be available to the district earlier than expected as a result of increased state tax revenues.
State officials earlier had indicated that no bond money would be available to school districts for at least three years and that any money allocated probably will be restricted to specific uses by the Legislature.
With the latest revision, Duncan said, district officials offered to give teachers 55% of any unrestricted state bond money to use for their own priorities.
Desetti said teachers have set three priorities for the money--time during the school day for fourth- through sixth-grade teachers for paper work, increased health and welfare benefits for dependents of early retirees and, if any money remains, general salary increases for long-term teachers.
Teachers had demanded that all of the priorities be financed through surplus revenues that they said they expect the district to receive as a result of rapid enrollment increases and from the state lottery. However, district officials have balked at committing uncollected surpluses to teacher salaries and benefits.
Desetti said the district offer "is significant, although not nearly what we wanted, ideally."
Despite two sessions with a state-appointed mediator, union representatives "felt they had gone as far as they could go" in negotiations Friday, Desetti said. He said the next step would require an investigation by a state-appointed fact-finding committee, which could delay a settlement for six weeks or more.
District officials have maintained that retroactive pay to teachers could be granted for this year only if a contract settlement is reached by June 30.
In view of that, Desetti said, union representatives decided that teachers should be given the opportunity to review the district's latest proposal. A majority, although not all, of the teachers' 40-member representative council voted Monday to ask union members to ratify the package.
He called the district's proposal on Proposition 98 funds "a major difference. This is a significant win for us."
A general union meeting is tentatively scheduled at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday at R. D. White Elementary School, 744 E. Doran St. Balloting for union members is expected to be conducted the next two days.