By Staff Writer Richard Irwin
Rowland teachers have declared an impasse in the stalled contract negotiations with the Rowland Unified School District. The Association of Rowland Educators is asking the state to send in a mediator to handle further negotiations. “We’re filing the paperwork now to declare an impasse with the state,” said ARE President John Petersen on Monday.
Union officials say the contract talks broke down during the eighth bargaining session last Thursday. In an email to teachers, Nadine Loza, bargaining chair, explained what happened.
“The ARE bargaining team was disappointed (but not surprised) when the district presented their counterproposal after lunch. The district’s proposal was not significantly different from their last proposal. Overall, the district has not moved significantly from their initial proposal especially on critical issues like salary, benefits, planning time, adjunct duties and combo classes.”
District officials were surprised by the sudden impasse, but they say they remain open to fair negotiations with the union’s 700 members.
“We’re still committed to negotiating with them in good faith,” said Superintendent Ruben Frutos.
Both sides say pay raises remain the largest stumbling block. The teachers want a 10 percent pay raise next year, the district has offered 2.5 percent the first year and 2 percent the next.
“Originally, the teachers wanted a 12 percent raise, 6 percent the first year, then 6 percent the second,” recalled Assistant Superintendent Douglas Staine. “We were surprised when they changed to 10 percent for one year.”
Rowland Unified had originally offered a 3.5 percent raise, 1.75 percent the first year and the same the second year.
Read more in SALARY.