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Our Opinion: Unity makes a difference

April 10, 2001

That Calexico Unified School District classified and certificated employees have reached a tentative contract agreement with the school district demonstrates what can and should happen in contract talks.

Those involved in negotiations showed a willingness to work toward a compromise, one that gives school employees good raises that the school district can afford.

The Calexico school employees contract issue had the potential to explode into the type of debacle that has been ongoing for much too long in the El Centro Elementary School District. Instead, negotiators in Calexico didn't allow the situation to get out of hand and because of that the students in the district will benefit.

That is an important point. Students in Calexico will not lose because of a labor dispute. Students will reap the benefits of a district in which teachers, staffers and district officials have found a way to work out whatever differences they may have had. A district in which everyone is working together becomes a stronger district that can better meet the needs of students.

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In the El Centro district it seems for some the emphasis has gotten away from providing a quality education. Instead the labor dispute has become the focus. Now, the district board is considering emergency action in case there is a strike. How could the contract dispute get to the point where striking would even be a consideration? Reasonable adults can resolve their differences, yet this issue cannot be resolved.

Are teachers asking too much? Is the administration unbending? Either way, there has to be a compromise and striking cannot be an option. Maybe the Los Angeles Unified School District can handle a strike. It could tap into a resource of temporary teachers to keep the district going. In the Imperial Valley we do not have an unlimited supply of teachers. A strike could be devastating to the education our children receive.

Calexico has reached a settlement. There must be a way to make all sides happy or at least comfortable with a resolution. We want to see teachers in El Centro restart the after-school tutoring and other programs that our youths need. We want this mess resolved so everyone can get back to the matter of education.

Someone needs to show some leadership before the worst happens. People in Calexico showed that leadership.

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