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Voice: If Imperial district wants qualified teaching staff, it has to pay for it

April 01, 2002

In reference to the article on March 25 dealing with the contract dispute between the Imperial Unified School District and the Imperial Teachers Association, I find it interesting that IUSD Superintendent Barbara Layaye is disappointed that teachers are unwilling to work one extra day without pay. I guess my question to the superintendent would be, "What do you expect?"

Even more interesting is the IUSD advertisement that asks, "Would you like an 8.5 percent increase? The response from teachers in Imperial is a resounding "Yes," but first the district has to offer such an increase, and that, inexplicably, hasn't happened yet.

The truth is that experienced teachers are leaving IUSD for better career opportunities elsewhere, and they have been for some time. This has led to a "teacher merry-go-round" in Imperial, and Layaye knows it.

Several months ago, Chuck Jernigan, an IUSD board member, had this to say: "If you want quality, you have to pay for it." He was referring, of course, to the superintendent's compensation package, which has increased 33 percent over the last three years.

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What ITA members would like to know is why doesn't the same value-added rationale apply to teachers?

In closing, I'd like to congratulate teachers and school district officials in Holtville on their recent contract settlement (it must be nice).

KATHRYN MEYER

ITA vice president

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