La Habra teachers off picket lines without a contract

A four-day strike by teachers in north Orange County is over but teachers are not back in the classroom.

Teachers in the 5,000-student La Habra City School District agreed on Tuesday to head back to the classroom after negotiators for both sides said they were close to an agreement. However, the striking teachers won't be back at the head of their classes until Thursday.

The union labeled that a lock-out, and the district paid substitute teachers for Tuesday and Wednesday.

Both sides are still at odds over salary cuts. The school district said state funding cuts forced it to impose a teachers contract with permanent cuts after more than a year of failed negotiations. Union leaders want the cuts to be temporary, as negotiated in other school districts.

La Habra City Schools Superintendent Susan Belenardo was not available for comment. She told the Orange County Register that the union did not respond to her side’s last proposal. The teachers union denies that.

The weather and the holidays will give both sides a few weeks to cool off. Friday’s a furlough day and school resumes the first week in January.