Teacher Contract Dispute Makes Headlines Again

Another article has been published in the Daily Press.
Source: Adelanto school board meeting heats up over contract dispute.
board-meeting-heatADELANTO — A four-hour-long meeting got heated Tuesday night as frustrated parents and teachers took on the Adelanto Elementary School District Board of Trustees over stalled teachers union negotiations.

Two newly-seated board members and three incumbent trustees remained mostly stone-faced as parents and young students shared emotional comments asking for the district to settle the teachers’ contract issue and reduce the number of substitutes teaching classes.

“When will this end?” said Lucero Diaz in Spanish, as a translator next to her interpreted. “We’re not negotiating tomatoes and chilies, we’re talking about the education of our children.”
Diaz, 45, is originally from Mexico and is the mother of twins that attend Donald F. Bradach Elementary School. She said parents were “willing to work to help teachers.”

Talks between the Adelanto Teachers Association and the district first began in October 2013 according to ADTA, and the talks are now being led by a state-appointed neutral party in order to reach an agreement.

Chief Personnel Officer Steve Desist, who is the lead negotiator for AESD, said he didn’t want to comment on the ongoing discussions because he didn’t want to “negotiate through the newspaper.”
Another parent, Kelly Jeffers, told the board that it was “absolutely appalling” that the district was “driving teachers out” to replace them with new teachers and substitutes.

“It’s an injustice to our children and it’s absolutely unfair,” Jeffers said. “I ask you to stop taking advantage of our population of Adelanto. We do have a voice.”

One mother threatened to pull her child out of school if the teachers go on strike next month. The union threatened the strike a week ago when a scheduled negotiation meeting was delayed.

Superintendent Edwin Gomez said he heard the public’s concerns and was taking note of them.
“We are going through challenging times in our district and we do want to see a resolution,” Gomez said. “We have a date set in February and I think our teachers, community and students deserve that.”
Newly-elected Trustee Jayson Hughes attempted to console the teachers by stating: “I feel your pain as a teacher myself.”

“I think you’re doing a fantastic job by voicing your opinions,” Hughes said. “And I think we’re all going to be happy and surprised. Be patient for one month or two and I’m sure there is going to be a good resolution.”

Several teachers contended that the sticking point of the negotiations regarded an increase in the school day by 30-40 minutes. Teachers said their work day would extend 18 percent but they were not being offered compensation equal to their per-diem rate.

AESD was also the only district in San Bernardino County to not meet a state mandate to pay 60 percent of its budget to teacher salaries last year, they said. The district fell about $2.9 million short of the benchmark.”

Read the full article at the Daily Press website here: Adelanto school board meeting heats up over contract dispute.

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