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San DIego teachers work on common ground with District

San Diego Unified School District (logo); Adam Benjamin (layout)
San Diego Unified School District (logo); Adam Benjamin (layout)
District and union teachers work on new education deal.

Thursday, the teachers in the San DIego Education Association union, a week after bargaining negotiations began with the San Diego Unified School District, restate their requests for their quality education guarantees. Union members will gather at the union office on San Diego Mission Road south of Friars Road to support the negotiators at set up stations.

Wages, left short of union goals since the district teachers failed to get a new contract after their contrac expired last June, stay uncertain. Union representatives are asking for wages equal to the median for comparable schools in the county and in California, wages high enough for high quality educators to take in San Diego, and depend on. District lead on the community-based school reform, Cindy Marten, has not given teachers an offer to go above pay levels cut back to keep the district fiscally responsible.

The educators, having stepped up in March to take the lead on rebuilding district shools, plan to lower class sizes across the board to give students the "best learning environment." Members in the union did their part in the rebuilding plan by showing up to bargaining input sessions throughout the district before the round of negotiations began in May.

Board approval of the supplemental retirement benefits in March counts for only on ewin. THe proposed new contrract the union asked the board agree to stays an unpractical offer at the district.

The District's Vision 2020 goal to have quality schools in every neighborhood Marten stands by does not leave out teacher feedback to students, and support, in the classroom, the union would add back into classes with smaller class sizes. In fact, the union's bargaining agreement goals are considered "compatible" with Vision 2020 at the District. The district's plan to reform the San DIego schools b y working with parents and community members who take part in the local control of the shools would remedy below standard quality classes, and close the achievement gap, by improving teacher opportunities to develop and raise the teaching quality, and by making class size flexible.

Officials at the District are open to sharing ideas on quality educaiton with SDEA member teachers.

Guaranteed student time has strong support at the union office just east of I-15. Members also support higher wages for teachers who visit San Diego shcools to work. The number of high quality substitutes has not been stable in the district.

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