YOU ARE HERE: IVPress HomeCollections

Black in fashion after Imperial school district contract offer

November 15, 2001|By KELLY GRANT, Staff Writer

IMPERIAL — Teachers here are wearing black ribbons and dressing in black this week to show their displeasure with the latest contract proposal offered by the Imperial Unified School District.

Teachers are "above and beyond disgruntled" about the salary increase offer, said Susana Sam, a member of the Imperial Teachers' Association and a sixth-grade teacher at Ben Hulse Elementary.

The negotiations, which started this fall, are already at impasse. The ITA rejected the district's offer of a total salary increase of 8 percent, said district Superintendent Barbara Layaye.

Of that 8 percent, 6.5 percent would go toward the salary schedule, 1 percent would go to increase the insurance cap and .5 percent is offered to raise the hourly amount paid for extra duty.


Sam pointed out, however, that the 6.5 percent salary schedule increase includes 1 percent to compensate for two additional working days the district proposed to add to the school year. Because of that, teachers say the district is offering only a 5.5 percent raise.

The ITA thinks the district has the money to give teachers a higher raise, Sam said.

Teachers also are unhappy with some of the contract language the district wishes to change, including the addition of the two extra work days and extra hours beyond the normal school day.

"The teachers want 9.5 percent (total package)," Layaye said.

The narrow difference between the sides is not big enough for Layaye to lose hope.

"We're not that far apart so I'm hoping they can contact us" and negotiations will resume, Layaye said.

To protest what they consider a low offer, district teachers wore black Tuesday and teachers at Ben Hulse are planning to do so again Friday, Sam said. On the days between, they are wearing black ribbons, she added.

About the decision to protest this particular way, Sam said teachers "don't want to get the kids involved." Instead of cutting services to students, Sam said, teachers decided to try to get the school board and district's attention this way.

The use of the color black is an "implication that the negotiations are dead," Sam said.

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

Imperial Valley Press Online Articles