Some school district contracts signed, some not
One school district in town has reached contract settlement with teachers for the 2011-12 year, but another has turned negotiations over to legal counsel.
Corning Union High School District Superintendent Bruce Cole said he will no longer sit at the negotiation table with the district's teachers association, and the district board will be using legal counsel to represent the district in future negotiations.
Teachers Association President Lance Alldrin was surprised when Cole made the announcement.
"He didn't give any reason as to why," Alldrin said.
More than 24 Corning Union High School District teachers crowded into the February district board meeting to support their request for a 7 percent salary raise.
The issue was brought before the board again during March's monthly board meeting.
Alldrin said it has been five years since Corning High School teachers received a raise, other than the step increases per their contract, and believes if the district is able to increase its budget reserves, it should be able to give the faculty a salary raise.
Cole said previously he understands the faculty's frustration and added when the state wasn't taking the cost of living allowances away, the district could consider pay increases.
The next contract negotiation meeting is set for May 3.
Chief Business Official Penny Whiting said it is not unusual for a district to turn negotiations over to legal counsel.
"The district has done it before," she said.
As Corning Union High School District continues to wrestle over contracts, the Corning Union Elementary School District announced last week it and the Corning Elementary Faculty Association reached a contract settlement and have signed a tentative agreement.
Because of the uncertainty of state funding to education, the district announced it was unable to give the faculty association two of the main requests it sought. "We could not offer an ongoing salary schedule or health benefits increase, but I believe we can support a bonus at least one more year," said District Superintendent Catherine Reimer. "Next year may be a different story depending upon the state revenues."
She said the state is currently deficit funding money allocated to schools by almost 20 percent.
The district is providing a one-time $2,000 bonus to full-time teachers, which is pro-rated for part-time employees.
Funding for the bonus is through $700 in federal Medi-Cal Administrative Activities funds and $1,300 from the district's general fund for each teacher.
An early retirement bonus is also being offered by the district to eligible teachers who retire this year. The bonus will be paid at $5,000 per year for the next six years, with an April 18 deadline to accept the offer.
Another part of the contract concerned the district's reconfiguring the elementary schools to kindergarten through sixth-grade and Woodson Elementary School to kindergarten through eighth-grade.
The shift of students will result in several teachers moving from Maywood Middle School to one of the other elementary schools.
Reimer said the district and faculty association clarified language about the impacts this will have on the teachers, and made contract language changes concerning the issuance of paychecks, complaint procedures, bereavement leave, stipend to Rancho Tehama Elementary School's lead teacher, disciplinary action, and the 2012-13 work calendar.