The Culver City Unified School District has approved the terms of its long-delayed teacher contracts, ending the threat of the first strike ever in the small school district.
On Tuesday, the Board of Education approved an agreement that gives teachers a 5.5% raise over two years. On Feb. 14, teachers voted 317 to 60 to accept the contract terms.
A neutral facilitator took over the stalled labor talks in December as a last-ditch effort to settle the salary dispute before the union considered striking. Culver City teachers wanted a 7% salary increase over two years, while the school district offered a 4% salary increase and a 3% one-time bonus.
“I’m personally relieved, and I think many teachers are relieved it didn’t come to a strike,” said David Mielke, president of the Culver City Federation of Teachers. “The big question is why the district didn’t make a fair offer until the threat of a strike. Teachers feel very much unappreciated that their employer wouldn’t get them the money until one minute to midnight. The bitterness runs very deep.”
School district officials said they were happy the contracts had been settled. Mielke said the union will focus on getting sympathetic school board members elected when three of the five seats come up for reelection in November.
“This board puts teachers last on the priority list,” he said. “It’s a formula for a repeat of this year.”