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Community Digest

Long Beach

March 28, 1985

The city's school district has made its first offer to its teachers union, taking the first step in what is expected to be a months-long negotiating process for a new teacher contract.

Stephen Dodge, the district's director of employee relations, said the document, which was released Monday, is only an initial contract proposal and should be adopted by the Board of Education on April 15. Dodge declined to discuss the specifics of the proposal; however, he said that the district has made no major changes from the existing contract, which expires Aug. 31.

Although the district's proposal cites no dollar figure for teacher salaries, Dodge said, "We are one of the highest-paying districts in the state, and we propose to keep our salaries competitive."

Long Beach is ranked fourth of 43 unified school districts in the county for beginning and veteran teachers' salaries. Beginning teachers with no experience were paid $17,603 annually in the 1983-84 school year, according to a Los Angeles County Office of Education survey. The maximum salary for veteran teachers here is $32,457 annually.

The Teachers Assn. of Long Beach released its initial contract proposal March 18. The main requests made by the union, which represents 2,700 teachers, librarians and nurses, are a 20% across-the-board pay increase, a cut in class size by an average of four students and binding arbitration for teacher grievances. Currently, teacher grievances are decided by the Board of Education. The union wants to have a third party decide all such grievances.

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