PASADENA — An outpouring of public sympathy for teachers during their three-week protest for higher pay was credited last week for settlement of a contract dispute between the Pasadena Unified School District and United Teachers of Pasadena.
Both district and union spokesmen said pay hikes of 10% to 15% are the result of the public response when teachers picketed and boycotted back-to-school nights at which parents were invited to meet the teachers.
Board of Education President Kathryn T. Nack said board members received hundreds of phone calls and letters that revealed "an unusual show of support for teachers."
Although she called the picketing and boycotts "just part of the union game," Nack said she was happy with the new contract. "It brings us closer to the board's goal" of increased salaries, she said.
'Huge Logistical Task'
Saul Glickman, president of United Teachers of Pasadena, said organizing the teacher involvement was "a huge logistical task that we pulled off. This was the most concerted activity in my 25 years of experience.
"We really owe a great debt to the community who made hundreds of phone calls," Glickman said.
A statement from the school board last week said the settlement "represents the support of parents who have voiced their allegiance over the years for our district's most important instructional resource, its teachers. We appreciate the dedication and commitment to education from teachers and parents."
The district's 1,100 teachers will receive a 10% across-the-board pay raise retroactive to July 1. In addition, teachers who have at least 12 years experience and master's degrees will receive another 5.3% raise next June.
With the 10% raise, the top pay for teachers with less than 12 years experience will jump from $31,200 to $34,320. In June, the top pay for teachers with more than 12 years experience will jump again from $37,752 to about $40,000.
Good Starting Pay
Beginning teachers currently earn $18,660. With the new pay raise to $20,526, their salaries will compare favorably with beginning teacher salaries throughout the county, Glickman said.
However, he and Nack said the highest pay level for Pasadena teachers has long ranked among the poorest for similarly experienced teachers in the 43 uified school districts in Los Angeles County. Two years ago the Board of Education pledged to bring the pay up to the county's top quarter within five years.
The new agreement, Nack said, "will bring us up above the midpoint."
The settlement was reached after six hours of negotiation on Wednesday. The previous evening hundreds of teachers picketed in front the district's four high schools at back-to-school nights. A protest at middle schools on Thursday was canceled.
900 Teachers Protested
Contract negotiations broke down in mid-August when the district and union reached an impasse and asked for a state mediator to help settle their differences. Boycotting began more than two weeks ago when elementary schools held open houses and sign-carrying teachers demonstrated at school district headquarters. Glickman said an estimated 900 teachers participated in the protests.
Nack said the money for salary raises will come from recent increases in state funding of schools and the district's share of state lottery money.
Some of the district's increased funds have already been allocated for lowering some class sizes and increasing library services. The board has also voted to increase budgets for school supplies and some of its art, music, science, math and social science programs.