The Conejo Valley Unified School District board responded to a teacher union's request for a pay raise this week by suggesting a pay cut instead.
The Unified Assn. of Conejo Teachers requested a raise last month to make up for a 3% pay cut the teachers took last year. But the board responded with an offer to cut salaries further by 1%.
"We were asking for a raise, they offered us a pay cut," said John Uelmen, president of the teachers union.
The teachers also asked the board to reduce class size and restore some health care benefits. But the board rejected both requests in a written response given to the union Thursday.
After years of deep budget cuts, district officials announced last month that they projected a $2.45-million budget surplus. Union representatives said the money should go to restore teacher pay cuts.
But school officials said the union's proposal would cost the district between $6.8 million and $9.1 million.
Negotiations between the union and the school district will not begin until this summer, after the governor has announced the new state budget. The teachers' contract expires in June.