CARLSBAD — Teachers in the Carlsbad Unified School District approved a two-year contract Wednesday, ending a nine-month stalemate in negotiations between their union and district officials.
The contract, which still must be approved by Carlsbad school trustees at their meeting April 24, provides a 5% pay raise retroactive to Sept. 1, 1984, for all instructors, and awards another 5% salary increase for next year.
Phyllis Johnston, secretary of the 210-member Carlsbad Unified Teachers Assn., said the contract was approved 155-19, with 83% of the instructors casting ballots.
The district's teachers have been working without a contract since June 30. Negotiations stalled after instructors rejected the district's last offer on Feb. 12, but both sides went back to the bargaining table on March 29.
Johnston said that, while the newly approved contract differs little from that rejected in February, union leaders "got really tired and concluded that (district officials) were really going to hang in there."
"Earlier in the year, we were really active, holding informational pickets and trying to really rabble-rouse the troops," Johnston said. "But there comes a time when you get worn out and figure it's time to settle."
A key and controversial issue during contract negotiations was district officials' proposal to create a teachers' "career ladder" program that would reward exemplary teachers. Johnston said union leaders regard the program as a thinly veiled merit pay system, which they oppose because it "would be a political kind of thing that would reward a small number of teachers when there are many very fine teachers in Carlsbad."
But realizing administrators' determination to create the program, union leaders agreed to appoint a six-member committee of teachers and administrators to explore the possibility, Johnston said.
The committee will study career ladders in other districts and make recommendations to the Board of Trustees by Nov. 30, Johnston said.
The pay raise brings Carlsbad teachers' salaries above the ranges in neighboring North County districts. With the retroactive increase this year, salaries in Carlsbad will range from $17,536 to $38,080. Next school year, the range will be $18,413 to $39,984.