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Brawley district, teachers reach tentative deal on contract

May 16, 2001|By LAURA MACKENZIE, Staff Writer

BRAWLEY — The Brawley Elementary Teachers Association and the Brawley Elementary School District have reached a tentative contract agreement.

Liz Huff, president of the BETA, said union negotiators are "pleased" with the agreement.

"We're happy and glad it's over," said Huff of negotiations.

Teachers' association members are expected to vote on ratifying the agreement at a meeting tonight.

Huff said she expects the teachers to vote in favor of ratifying the tentative agreement, as their response to it has been positive.

"They're glad we've reached an agreement," she said.

District Superintendent Howard Sullivan said of the teachers' expected vote, "You always hope the negotiating team knows what is acceptable and what will work."


Sullivan said if the agreement is ratified by the teachers it will be placed on the agenda for the upcoming board meeting for trustees' approval. If approved by the trustees, the contract will go into effect immediately.

Sullivan said the tentative agreement includes a 10 percent across-the-board salary increase as well as summer school pay increase from the $20 to $24 per hour for this summer and $26 per hour beginning next summer.

The agreement also includes a flat increase to $600 per teacher in lottery money to be used for classroom supplies.

Sullivan said other issues agreed to were work days for underperforming schools, extending the life of the contract to 2003 and a revamping of teacher evaluations to include the California state teaching standards as well as including a district provision.

Huff called the district's amendment to the teacher evaluations a "list of inappropriate attire." Calling it a "common sense" list, Huff said examples of inappropriate attire include "no workout clothes, no see-through clothing, no cut-offs or flip-flop shoes."

She said the list was discussed with teachers at a previous meeting and most were not opposed to it.

Sullivan called the salary increase "historic."

"If (the contract) is agreed to, the district will have to enter a period of being fiscally conservative," Sullivan cautioned.

While he would not speculate on which programs, if any, would be reduced or cut because of the salary increase, Sullivan did warn the district will need to prepare itself in the event of a future loss of money in the district's reserve account.

"We will have to very responsibly look at things that are going to be in the best interests of the students and teachers," he said.

While he does not anticipate any immediate financial loss, Sullivan said "It sometimes takes a year or so for the effect to hit."

"Raises are forever. Reserves are a one-time amount," he added.

Huff agreed the district will have to watch its money more carefully.

"We're going to be very careful how we spend our money," she said.

She added the salary increase is retroactive to the beginning of the school year.

Huff said she is "thankful for the negotiating team."

"It took a lot of hard work, a lot of effort and a lot of Fridays," she said. "I'm very appreciative of them."

Staff Writer Laura MacKenzie can be reached at 337-3442.

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