Lucia Mar strike likely avoided
April 9, 2015
The Lucia Mar Unified School District has reached a tentative agreement with its teachers’ union that may settle a heated contract dispute.
District officials and the Lucia Mar Teachers’ Association have clashed for months, and union members voted late last month to endorse a strike. But, the two sides met for several hours on Wednesday and reached a deal that would give teachers a 6 percent increase over two years.
The tentative agreement grants Lucia Mar teachers an immediate 3 percent raise and a second 3 percent raise, effective Jan. 1, 2016. As part of the deal, the teachers may also be allowed to renegotiate salary, benefits and one discretionary item for the 2016-2017 school year.
Members of the teachers’ union must still ratify the agreement. Also, a majority of the Lucia Mar school board must vote in support of the pay increases for them to take effect.
Had the two sides not reached an agreement, a strike was likely to begin on April 16.
On Friday, a mediator released a report compiled by a fact-finding panel. District officials and union representatives then agreed to meet on Wednesday.
Negotiations began around 9 a.m. Wednesday and ended around 5 p.m.
For most of the contract dispute, union negotiators demanded 10 percent raises for the teachers. District administrators initially offered 2 percent pay increases. The district raised its offer late last month to a six percent bump in pay to be implemented over a three-year period.
The average Lucia Mar teacher currently receives a salary of about $61,000 a year. Lucia Mar teachers received a 2 percent raise in 2012-2013 and a 4.3 percent bump in pay in 2013-2014.
The teachers organized several rallies and marches over the past couple months, drawing hundreds of supporters. The teachers’ union also filed an unfair labor practice complaint about the district.
District officials argued that more funds should go to tutors and disadvantaged students, as well as to closing the pension gap and improving school programs and facilities.