Not a good time to renegotiate

That Glendale Unified officials would even consider reopening negotiations with its teachers union after getting a slightly better-than-expected budget from Sacramento is a head-scratcher at best.

Everyone agrees the latest, long-overdue state budget is based on smoke-and-mirrors formulas that a new governor will no doubt be forced to reassemble come January. And so after 18 months of protracted union negotiations to reach consensus on hard-earned concessions, both sides are willing to sweeten the deal a little now despite the very real possibility that they'll be caught with their pants down in January?

What then? Yet another restart at the negotiation table? Not wanted.

This community went through the ringer for 18 months as members of the Glendale Teachers Assn. rallied and protested proposed concessions while alleging that the district was overstating its weak financial position — although a state-appointed fact finder found that to be untrue.

Parents were left with an uncertain school calendar, and dozens of teachers with pink slips were forced to make some hard decisions about whether to jump ship or hold on to some string of hope that their jobs would be saved. That had a trickle-down effect at the classroom level.

Finally, a deal was reached in September that included some unpaid work furlough days and increased employee contributions to their medical benefits. Now that the district is on firmer financial footing, the teachers union is clamoring to get some of their concessions back.

It's as if the lessons of the past year and a half have gone unnoticed. School districts are almost entirely dependent on what Sacramento doles out. And with another multibillion-dollar deficit projected for next year, and every expectation that mid-fiscal-year cuts will be needed in January, union leaders are really willing to push for more butter despite the possibility that their slice of toast could shrink even more?

The federal stimulus money that temporarily boosted school district fortunes will not return, especially after California lost its bid for the Race to the Top funding program. At the very least, both sides should sit on their hands until after January and a clearer picture of Sacramento's intentions are known.

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