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Board Members Say There's No Money : Beverly Hills Teachers Ask 9% Pay Hike

July 10, 1986|JOHN L. MITCHELL | Times Staff Writer

Beverly Hills teachers and administrators will return to the bargaining table to negotiate salaries and benefits for 1986-87 just four months after the district barely escaped its first teachers' strike.

The salary talks are part of the two-year contract that was signed last month by the Beverly Hills Board of Education. The pact included a 5% salary increase for the 1985-86 school year, but left open salaries and benefits for 1986-87.

The 320-member Beverly Hills Education Assn., the union representing the teachers, called for a 9% salary increase in a proposal that the board released Tuesday.

Fringe-Benefit Increases

The teachers also called for fringe-benefit increases of about $1,600 and asked that teachers be paid for accumulated sick time if a state law restricting public employees to 10 paid sick days is approved. School officials estimate the sick pay would cost $4.2 million.

Assistant Supt. Walther Puffer said the district's negotiating team would develop a counterproposal by next month and begin negotiations shortly after that.

Both sides indicated that the initial proposal is only a starting point. Last year the teachers began talks asking for 15% increase and the district countered with no increase, but settled on a 5% raise.

Board members Tuesday reacted with disappointment with the teachers' proposal.

"I think their proposal was unfortunate," board member Mark Egerman said. "They have to tell us where we can get the money to give it to them. To be blunt, we have to pretty well cut the budget to the bone."

School officials estimate that the district will spend $1.9 million more than it takes in by the end of the 1986-87 school year without a teacher increase. A 9% salary increase would increase the shortfall by $1.2 million.

Decline in Morale

Teacher Betty Nichols, a member of the association board, said the board position in negotiations has led to a decline in teacher morale.

"We are not very optimistic--we were hoping that the negotiations would go smoothly but it doesn't seem that way," Nichols said.

Talks on the new contract began in 1985, but reached an impasse. An independent fact-finder was brought in to help break the deadlock but neither side was able to reach an agreement until the teachers threatened a one-day strike in March.

After the contract was tentatively agreed to by both sides, the signing was delayed because of a dispute over a minor article involving a district proposal to rate teacher performance. A committee of school officials and teachers was ultimately given the responsibility of working out the details of the agreement but school officials accused the teacher negotiators of deliberately changing the language of the agreement.

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