Capistrano Unified teacher's union gives district an ultimatum

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Adolfo Guzman-Lopez/KPCC

More than half of Capistrano Unified's teachers' union members cast ballots on first day of strike vote.

Leaders at the Capistrano Unified Education Association (CUEA) gave school district administrators today a list of conditions to comply with by 5:00 p.m. tomorrow if they want to avert a strike by the 2,200-member union.

Union leaders at the CUEA want a 10 percent cut to teacher salaries to expire in June of next year. The union also stipulated that the district restore salary cuts and other benefits if it receives unexpected money.

Christine Balentine, CUEA's executive director, said in a letter to Capistrano Unified's laywers that the two sides should work out the details at the negotiating table this week.

The ultimatum comes three days after members of the teachers' union voted to give their leaders the authority to call a strike. Those leaders organized the vote in response to a long-term 10 percent salary cut the school board approved last month.

The school board president said the salary cut was necessary to keep the 52,000 student school district solvent. It faces a deficit of almost $40 million next fiscal year.

During the weekend, board president Anna Bryson said she was open to making the cuts temporary, but not through the negotiating process. The teacher union’s deadline is one more escalation after close to a year of back-and-forth between the union and district administrators.

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