GLENDALE : Trustees' Pay Raise Criticized by Union

Teachers and counselors reacted angrily Wednesday after learning that Glendale Unified School District trustees accepted a $350 monthly raise during the summer without holding a public hearing.

"There are many people that see it as a very big problem," Sandi Steinberg, president of the Glendale Teachers Assn., said of the raise. "I think many people are outraged. . . . No one (else) has even got a 1% increase."

Steinberg, who said she learned of the hike--from $400 to $750--last month, accused board members during their meeting Tuesday night of violating the state's Ralph M. Brown Act, which requires that legislative bodies hold public meetings, unless dealing with legal, union bargaining or employee issues.

The decision "shows very poor judgment and timing," she told the board. "We are asking the board to rescind this decision."

Board member Lynda Rocamora acknowledged that an understanding was reached among trustees during a June meeting, usually called a "study session," in which trustees receive information about various issues from staff.

Rocamora, who was elected to the board in April, said she opposed the idea of a salary hike.

"I was a minority," she said.

Trustee Blanch M. Greenwood declined to comment, pending possible legal action.

The other trustees, Board President Jane M. Whitaker, Vice President Sharon R. Beauchamp and Clerk Jeanne Bentley, did not respond to phone messages Wednesday.

Under the state's Education Code, school board members are entitled to up to $750 each in monthly stipends once a district's enrollment reaches more than 25,000.

As of October, the Glendale district has more than 28,500 students.

The board approved $21,000 in funding for the raises Tuesday.

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