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Pickets continue high-profile presence at district offices


January 03, 2001|By KELLY RAUSCH, Staff Writer

The El Centro Elementary Teachers' Association has begun regularly picketing the offices of the El Centro Elementary School District in continued protest of contract offers by the district.

Teachers will picket the site at 1256 Broadway from about 3:30-4:30 p.m. Mondays through Wednesdays this month.

"We're trying simply to keep our presence known," said Bruce Roberts, ECETA president.

Roberts estimated 30 to 35 people picketed Tuesday.

Members of the district's Board of Trustees are taking the picketing in stride.

"We understand they're still supporting their position," said board President Ron Hull.

"We understand why they're picketing," Hull said, adding the bargaining table is the place for negotiations to be settled.

"The board is ready to negotiate. We have been ready," Hull said, adding the ECETA has had scheduling conflicts preventing the sides from meeting recently.


Roberts cited scheduling conflicts with the state-assigned mediator as a reason for not being able to meet sooner for the latest round of negotiations.

The next negotiation session is scheduled for Jan. 31.

Until then, the ECETA will continue to picket.

"We're not asking everyone to come out here," Roberts said while watching 20 picketing teachers pass in front of the district's offices Wednesday.

The ECETA is asking three to five teachers from each school to participate daily, Roberts said, adding people come and go according to their schedules.

"We're asking that they try to get here when they can," Roberts said.

One participant, Michael S. White of Wilson Junior High School, picketed Wednesday to bring "the contractual impasse to the forefront of public awareness."

"It is the parents alone that can help to resolve the stalemate. We hope to resolve this dispute quickly and restore the focus on educating El Centro's children," White said.

Staff writer Kelly Rausch can be reached at 337-3442.

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