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Our Opinion: Unfortunate battles

March 08, 2001

The El Centro Elementary School District is not the only local school district plagued by a labor dispute between staff and administration. Staff with the Calexico Unified School District and the Imperial County Office of Education also are locked in disputes with management over contracts.

Are there right and wrong sides in these battles? That is hard to say. What we do know is often it is not simple to reach agreement on contracts.

What we are talking about is a district's ability to pay teachers and other staff fair wages. Teachers want to earn livable salaries combined with benefits that will allow them to enjoy their chosen field. Management, on the other hand, only has so much money.

The unfortunate thing is as these contract disputes continue, kids lose. We know in El Centro Elementary's case, teachers are not participating in many after-school programs they had helped run. Teachers have to do what they see as right in attempting to bring conclusion to the dispute. It is just sad the kids lose much-needed services and mentoring during such labor disputes.

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Education is critical, particularly in the Imperial Valley. Our schools give our young people, who often are starting from a point well behind other students in the state and the nation, a fighting chance to succeed in the world. School administrators and staff, including teachers, secretaries, maintenance crews and all those who make education possible, are on the same team and should be working to reach a common goal.

Sometimes of late in the Valley it seems like that may not be the case, yet that is the only way our young people are going to receive the top education they desperately need.

We wish teachers and administrators the best of luck in trying to reach settlement. We urge both sides to come to the table with open minds and genuine goals and soon walk away with a united plan for the good of the students.

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