Teachers to Weigh 6.5% Salary Hike

Times Staff Writer

Teachers will get a 6.5% salary increase for the coming school year and have more say on faculty advisory councils at their schools under a tentative agreement reached last week with the Santa Monica-Malibu School District.

The agreement for a two-year contract also boosts the minimum and maximum salaries for teachers and increases the pay for substitutes and for service outside of regular classroom hours.

"We think it is a fair proposal," said June Lucas, president of the Santa Monica-Malibu Classroom Teachers Assn. "We hope the teachers will ratify it."

The agreement would raise the average teacher salary from $38,950 to $41,481. The minimum pay for all unit members will be $27,000; currently a starting teacher's salary is $22,470.

Beginning in 1990, teachers with 28 years experience in the district who have taken professional advancement courses will earn $50,752. The current top salary--$46,427--is for 25 years experience.

Vote Sept. 18

The district's 500 teachers, counselors, nurses and librarians will vote on the agreement the week of Sept. 18, Lucas said. The district board will then vote on the pact.

Teachers who left stamped, self-addressed envelopes at district offices were sent details of the agreement Friday. By the end of the month, all employees will be mailed the superintendent's report and a welcome-back-to-school message, which will include a summary of the terms.

Supt. Eugene Tucker said that with the salary increases, the district hopes to better compete with the Los Angeles Unified School District, which, under its contract ratified in May, offers a starting pay of $27,346 for the 1989-90 school year. Recently, two or three teachers chose Los Angeles over Santa Monica, citing better pay as the reason, Tucker said. But he said he did not know of any Santa Monica teachers who have left the district to work for Los Angeles.

"Because of the increases in (LAUSD), and (because) they're giving a $5,000 bonus for bilingual teachers, that's pretty much dried up the market," Tucker said. Santa Monica needs three or four bilingual teachers but does not offer them bonuses, he said.

Lucas said the agreement, reached after five months of negotiation with district officials and board members, reflected that the union did "the best as we can for the unit members." Los Angeles teachers negotiated 8% increases a year for the next two years, and "one always looks at what neighboring districts are getting," she said, but "that we have to get 8% or go on strike . . . was not one of our contemplations."

"We set our goals commensurate with our resources," she said. "L.A. is a different situation both in terms of size and money. We are not driven by L.A."

Under the agreement the district will continue to pay for health and dental benefits, which have increased in cost by about $500 to $3,550 for the 1989-90 year. Details of salary increases and benefits for 1990-91 will be negotiated next year.

Teachers who supervise Saturday student disciplinary classes will be paid $27.50 an hour, up from $23.10. Teachers will have more professional courses available after school and on weekends and will be paid for attending some of them, Lucas said.

Under the tentative agreement, substitutes will earn from $80 to $125 per day, up from $70 to $100 a day.

Teachers will also have more powers. Faculty advisory councils at the schools, which make recommendations on curricula and scheduling, will gain the right to advise the district on school budget issues. The councils might also advise principals on whether aides should be used for yard duty or other tasks.

The councils, Tucker said, "have dealt with complaints and concerns, but we'd like them to move to a more proactive level . . . to offer guidance to the principals on more substantive decisions."

Both he and Lucas said Santa Monica teachers have had more participation in decision-making than their Los Angeles counterparts. Besides the advisory councils, teachers sit on an education committee that advises the board and on curricula committees at the schools.

Lucas said that teachers who were surveyed before negotiations began were most concerned about salary and benefits and did not identify teacher power as a priority.

The agreement also calls for a committee of teachers and administrators to consider increasing elementary school teachers' preparation time. Currently, they are allotted 20 paid minutes a day to call parents and prepare lesson plans. The union wants that increased by a half-hour, Lucas said. Middle- and high-school teachers get about 50 minutes a day, she said.

Although the agreement will not require any cuts in the district's propsed $45-million budget, the district will be unable to pay for major program improvements, Tucker said.

COMPARISON OF AGREEMENTS

Here are the terms of the tentative agreement on a two-year contract between the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District and the Santa Monica-Malibu Classroom Teachers Assn., and a comparison with the settlement reached earlier this year with teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

SALARIES

A 6.5% increase for the 1989-90 school year, with the 1990-91 adjustment to be negotiated next year. The minimum salary for teachers, nurses, counselors and librarians is to be $27,000. Here is how the two districts compare for the coming year:

Santa Monica-Malibu Los Angeles Beginning $27,000 $27,346 Average $41,481 $42,460 Maximum $50,752 $50,123

SCHOOL POLICY

Santa Monica-Malibu: Faculty advisory councils at each school will have increased power to advise principals on issues such as spending and use of teacher aides.

Los Angeles: Shared decision-making councils are now being established at each school. They will be composed of teachers, parents, community members and administrators.

PREPARATION TIME

Santa Monica-Malibu: A committee of teachers and administrators is to be established to consider increasing preparation time of elementary teachers. Teachers are now paid for 20 minutes a day of lesson preparation, and the union wants that increased to 50 minutes.

Los Angeles: Elementary teachers got 40 paid minutes in their new contract.

Santa Monica-Malibu district has 9,300 students. The new contract covers 500 employees--teachers, counselors, librarians, nurses and others.

The Los Angeles district has 595,000 students. The contract reached earlier this year covers 32,000 employees.

Source: Santa Monica-Malibu and Los Angeles Unified school districts.

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