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District, teachers at odds

Hart educators take issue with contract proposal

Posted: May 15, 2009 8:45 p.m.
Updated: May 16, 2009 4:55 a.m.

The possibility that a contract proposal by the William S. Hart Union High School District could fall harder on teachers than on administrators has raised concern on the part of the Hart District Teachers Association.

“We want what’s fair and what’s equitable,” association president Leslie Littman said.

The district offered its initial proposal to the Hart District Teachers Association in April, which involves establishing a health-benefit cap of $10,000 per employee, a 0.4-percent pay cut, a reduction in the work year by three days.

The three furlough days would be for staff development days planned for August and February.

The district’s goal with the initial proposal was to balance the budget, save jobs and maintain programs.

If the proposal is accepted, teachers with less seniority would be financially impacted more than those with more seniority, said association president Leslie Littman.

“That’s not fair to the people who are just starting out their lives,” Littman said.

Rochelle Neal, assistant superintendent of human resources and student services, said the proposal involves a reduction in the work year, not a pay cut.

Any reductions will be equal for every district employee, she said.

“It will be the same percentage so it will affect everyone,” Neal said.

The association is concerned that the district’s goal to balance the budget will fall solely on teachers.

“We haven’t seen any sign that other units are being asked to bear a burden,” Littman said.

Neal, however, said the district reduced the number of classified employees by a large number last year.

Union officials say they understand the financial problems facing the district, and are willing to agree to short-term, temporary solutions, Littman said.

One short-term solution is increasing class sizes from 37 to 39 students at the high schools, Littman said.

Increasing class sizes is an option at this point, Neal said.

Regardless, the teachers plan to move forward in educating students.

“We have done a really good job and we will continue to do a very good job in this district,” Littman said.



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