Lucia Mar teacher pay dispute not done yet
February 26, 2015
Neither a rally Tuesday, nor a school board meeting brought an end to an ongoing pay dispute between Lucia Mar teachers and district officials, but a resolution to the money disagreement may come soon.
About 400 people, including students and parents, marched from Arroyo Grande High School to the Lucia Mar district offices. The demonstrators carried signs with remarks like, we love our teachers and give them what they deserve.
When the district board convened, about 10 speakers made public comment. Supporters of both the teachers and district administrators are calling for a quick resolution to the contract dispute.
No new developments emerged from a closed session board hearing that followed public comment. But, a fact-finding meeting scheduled for Friday could produce an informal agreement.
The fact-finding panel will consist of a union representative, a district negotiator and a third-party moderator.
District officials are offering the teachers a 2 percent pay increase. Lucia Mar teachers received a 2 percent raise in 2012-2013 and a 4.3 percent bump in pay in 2013-2014.
If they receive a 2 percent salary hike in the current round of negotiations, the teachers’ pay will have jumped by more than 8 percent over the last three years. This would represent the highest increase in pay for teachers in San Luis Obispo County during the past three years.
But, the teachers’ union is demanding a 10 percent raise for its members. The union has threatened a strike if the district does not meet its demand.
Union representatives are comparing their members’ pay to that of teachers in the San Luis Coastal and Coast Unified school districts. Those districts pay their teachers more but have stronger per capita tax bases.
Lucia Mar board member Colleen Martin told CalCoastNews that negotiators should compare apples to apples.
“If you are going to compare Lucia Mar to other school districts, it should be Paso Robles or Atascadero, which are similar in size and demographics,” Martin said. “The amount they get from the state per child is closer to Lucia Mar”
The average Lucia Mar teacher currently receives an annual salary of approximately $61,000.