Lucia Mar preparing for teacher strike

March 11, 2015

teacher1The Lucia Mar Unified School District has hired a consultant to help administrators prepare for the possibility of a teacher strike.

District officials and the Lucia Mar Teachers Association are currently in a contract dispute. The district has offered teachers a two percent raise, but the union is threatening a strike if its members do not receive 10 percent pay increases.

On Tuesday night, the district board voted unanimously to hire consultant James Whitlock at a rate of $155 per hour.

“There is no positive outcome from a strike, and everyone will be losers — the community, the students and even the teachers,” board member Colleen Martin told CalCoastNews following the meeting.

Whitlock is tasked with advising district officials on staffing and security issues that would arise from a strike. District administrators say they have never before dealt with a strike.

When a strike occurs, new rules take effect. For instance, a nurse must be stationed on each campus in the district to handle allergy issues or illnesses that may arise because the teachers aware of the student’s health needs are on strike.

In attempt to resolve the contract dispute, the district has engaged in a fact-finding process and mediation with the teachers’ union. The fact-finding process is already complete, and mediation efforts have thus far failed to produce a tentative agreement.

The next mediation hearing is scheduled for March 25. If the hearing fails to produce an agreement, the fact-finding panel must release a report.

Though the district is preparing for a work stoppage, it has the power to temporarily stave of a strike. Regulations allow Lucia Mar officials to impose a settlement if they fail to reach an agreement with the teachers’ union.

The average Lucia Mar teacher currently receives an annual salary of about $61,000. 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 just a 2 percent salary increase in the current round of negotiations, their pay will have jumped by more than 8 percent over the last three years.

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You know, in about 5 years, when all the good doctors, nurses, teacher really DO leave the Central coast. When the economy dries up because lame people decide to close down the dunes because THE WIND BLOWS. What then? Will people stop and wonder why there are 50 children in their grandson’s class? Will people wonder why it takes 2 months for an appointment with their “new” doctor; a doctor they don’t really like, but their doctor retired or left the area? Will people wonder why their nurse speaks with such a thick, strong accent and doesn’t seem to understand their repeated attempts to tell him/her that they are in pain? Do they understand that their nurse was imported by the hospital at a “bargain” price, and thus is a “bargain” nurse?

Well folks, keep treating your middle class workers like this, and brace yourselves.

I for one would rather pay them a fair salary, just like the generations before me were paid. Why is this so hard to understand? And why are they so vilified?