AirTalk for September 7, 2012

Manhattan Beach teachers in a standoff with district

MBUSD Manhattan Beach

Tami Abdollah/KPCC

Manhattan Beach Unified School District and its teachers' union have reached an impasse in contract negotiations and are in mediation now. Meanwhile, the union has directed teachers to refuse writing college recommendations among other measures, until a favorable agreement is reached.

There’s an educational fight brewing in Manhattan Beach, and public school students are getting caught in the middle. The Manhattan Beach Unified School District is sitting on a $16 million reserve, but teachers aren’t too happy about it.

Why? Because they haven’t received a raise or cost of living increase in five years, and it’s been ten years since their pay has been matched to inflation. As a result, the Manhattan Beach Unified Teachers Association has directed its 300 members to stop heading up clubs or activities, close their classrooms before and after school hours, forgo volunteering in extracurricular capacities, and to turn down student requests for letters of recommendation.

That last directive is causing quite a stir, as graduating seniors now feel they are locked in between a fight they don’t fully understand. District administrators cite that they can’t commit to any raises without knowing what the budget situation will be beyond the year, and have only offered a 3 percent raise in pay to school employees. Teachers say this is not enough, and even though they feel for the students affected, their goal is to wake up parents and force them to look at the numbers and choose a side. However, there may be a light at the end of the tunnel - according to both district officials and union reps, a tentative agreement has been reached and will lead to a resolution soon.

Will the teachers get their way, or is there a compromise in the works? Are you a student or teacher in the school system there? Are you an angry parent, or do you sympathize with the teachers? Will this issue be resolved before college application deadlines pass?

Read more: Manhattan Beach students caught in middle of teacher pay dispute

Guest:

Tami Abdollah, education reporter, KPCC


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