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Calexico school district negotiators plan meeting with mediator today

March 07, 2001|By KELLY GRANT, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — Discontent among Calexico Unified School District teachers is growing as contract negotiations between teachers and the district are at an impasse.

Negotiations, which have been going on for more than a year, have stretched "in everybody's opinion, too long," said Reynaldo Ayala, president of the district's Board of Trustees.

Typically, negotiations involve both sides listening to the other, reviewing their requests and responding to the issues, Ayala said.

"And slowly the process results in agreeing on things," Ayala said.

Unfortunately for all involved, the process has deadlocked and impasse has been declared.

Negotiators are meeting today with a state-appointed mediator to further discuss the impasse, Ayala said.

A representative of the Calexico Teachers' Association could not be reached for comment this morning.

"I am hopeful that the differences will be resolved," Ayala said.

Ayala said he thinks the major sticking point is teachers' salaries.

Ayala pointed to money granted by Gov. Gray Davis for teachers' salaries and Davis' recommended salary increases as problematic for the district.

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"The way I understand it, the money was not to be immediately distributed," Ayala said, adding that the money was to be negotiated.

"We must be prudent with our budget. We can't commit moneys that may not be there," Ayala said.

"I think we will find a solution. We've been in similar situations before," Ayala said, citing communication between the two groups as an important tool in effective negotiations.

Staff Writer Kelly Grant can be reached at 337-3441.

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