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Imperial teachers declare impasse in contract talks

January 18, 2002|By LAURA MITCHELL, Staff Writer

IMPERIAL — A contract dispute between the Imperial Teachers Association and the Imperial Unified School District has come to a standstill, leading the teachers to call for outside mediation.

The teachers declared an impasse when it was clear they wouldn't get a fair contract, association president Thomas James Hepburn said. Paperwork for the impasse was filed at the end of December.

The teachers want an 8 percent salary increase, Hepburn said.

District Superintendent Barbara Layaye said the district is offering teachers a 6.5 percent salary increase. The district wants to add two working days, from 183 to 185 days, to the teacher's work year.

Hepburn said the two extra days would be fine with the association as long as teachers get the 8 percent salary increase.


Layaye said the state automatically gives teachers a cost-of-living allowance every year. This year the state's share is 3.87 percent. The rest of the increase is negotiated between the teachers' union and the district.

The teachers just ended a two-year contract with the district.

Once an impasse is declared, teachers have to file a declaration with the state public employment relations board, commonly known as PERB. PERB will send a state mediator to try to work out differences between the teachers and the school board.

Mediation is scheduled for 1 p.m. Feb. 7. It can be extended if necessary, Layaye said.

The last time the Imperial Teachers Association declared an impasse was June 1994, Layaye said.

"We're hoping we can settle the differences during the mediation process," she said.

Hepburn said the association has not talked about striking. He also hopes the differences can be worked out with the mediator.

>> Staff Writer Laura Mitchell can be reached at 337-3452 or

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