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Whittier : Teachers Union Seeks Audit

November 13, 1986

The executive board of the Whittier Elementary Teachers Assn. has requested audits of the Whittier City School District's books to determine whether the district can afford to meet the teachers' pay demand.

Tuesday's vote by the teachers association came four days after the Whittier City School District board unanimously approved an update of a resolution that authorizes Supt. Neal J. Avery to take "reasonable and necessary steps" to keep schools open in the event of a work stoppage. At the same meeting, the board agreed to audits by the California Teachers Assn. and a fact-finding committee, which would be composed of a representative from the teachers association, the school district, and a state-appointed third party.

The mediator, Ian Walker, was called in after negotiations reached an impasse June 20. Walker said earlier that he would support fact-finding. Teacher Bargaining Committee Chairman Barbara Gaborko said that the audits, which may take up to eight weeks, may be futile because the district has never said it cannot afford to meet the teachers' pay demand.

The teachers are asking for an 8.25% pay increase and more frequent class-size counts to ensure the district adheres to a teacher-student ratio of 1 to 28 required in the contract, and continuation of staggered schedules for primary grades. The district has offered a 7% pay increase, teachers say. The teachers said they are angry because the district disclosed their pay offer directly to teachers, before the bargaining team had settled the salary issue.

Avery declined to comment on the bargaining issues.

About 200 of the teachers association's 270 members met last week and took a strike vote. The vote, which has not yet been counted, was on whether teachers favor a one-day work stoppage if mediation proves unsuccessful. The vote will be counted when the association board deems it necessary, Gaborko said.

The teachers and district are renegotiating the third year of a three-year contract.

The Whittier City School District has 12 elementary schools, two intermediate schools and an enrollment of about 5,500.

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