"Give us an offer that doesn't insult us," said teacher Dave Tuttle.
The district is offering a 4% raise over the next two years, effective
The teachers have asked for a 6.8% raise, plus the 3.9% cost of living
adjustment, and 50% of any ongoing money the district will receive. This
hike will lift salaries up to the county average.
"If we're turning out a good product, if the community thinks we're
doing a good job, why doesn't district administration reward their
teachers for doing a good job by having at least a competitive salary
schedule," said Jim Pacelli, chairman of bargaining team.
The district has the highest class size of any in the county, said Jim
Harlan, executive directory of the West Orange County United Teachers.
"Yet we get the smallest salary increases over the last 10 years,"
Pacelli said. "It's not an issue of money, but an issue of priorities."
Some teachers expressed frustration at where district funds are going
such as the $3,000 toward desk equipment for one district administrator.
"We're trying to make the school board understand that the offer
they've made to the teachers is to keep the teachers below the average,"
Other districts are already trying to recruit Huntington Beach
teachers, enticing them with higher salaries, Pacelli said. Low salaries
make it hard to attract new teachers and retain them, and being below the
county average isn't going to keep teachers, he said.
"The board is receptive to listening to what their concerns are," said
trustee Susan Henry.
Orange Unified School District has been troubled with teacher strikes
and a exodus of teachers from the district over the past several years.
Teachers say they don't want to see the same occur in Huntington Beach,
but also do not want to settle for less then what they believe to be
"We're willing to do anything we can to maintain the high standard our
community has grown to expect," Pacelli said.
During the late 1970s the district saw several strikes.
"I can remember going to school board meetings at that time and
hearing the same comments as I heard [Tuesday] night," Pacelli said.
Negotiations are still on the table with another meeting scheduled for