The Beverly Hills Board of Education and the teachers' association have ratified a three-year contract, ending the threat of a teachers' strike that was set for the opening day of school Wednesday.
The teachers voted 281 to 13 Tuesday to accept the tentative settlement reached by negotiators on Aug. 30. After the teachers' vote, the board called a special meeting and unanimously approved the contract.
Under the pact, wages and benefits will increase by $1 million over three years to 1989. The teachers will receive a retroactive 4% salary increase for the 1986-87 school year, a 3% wage increase and an increase in benefits in the 1987-88 school year and a minimum salary increase of 3% in 1988-89. The contract extends through the 1989-90 school year, but salary increases for that year were left open to future negotiations.
The average teacher's salary in Beverly Hills is $39,000. Teachers' salaries range from $19,500 to $41,900.
"I think it's a damn good contract," said Kenneth Eaves, president of the Beverly Hills Education Assn., which represented the district's 300 teachers. "There has been more than a year of intensive negotiation and now we can get down to the job of teaching. . . . Both sides compromised but neither side was compromised by this agreement."
The teachers had voted to authorize a strike in June. The settlement was reached after an 18-hour weekend negotiating session Aug. 29 and 30, during which the board was present to assist the negotiating teams.
School officials and union representatives said the board's presence eliminated delays.
"Both sides were willing to compromise, and that's what collective bargaining is all about," school board President Betty Wilson said. "Now we can move forward with what our teachers do so well, which is educating our children."
School board member Mark Egerman said that because the agreement extends over several years, it allows for better planning. "It is extremely important to assure the stability of the district," he said. "Now we can focus on education."
In another matter, teachers' union negotiator Jacques Bernier announced that the district had also reached a separate agreement on a contract covering instructional aides, who are also represented by the association.
Bernier said the agreement was the first in the California to offer separate protection for instructional aides. Normally, instructional aides are included in the teachers contract.
Under the three-year agreement, salaries of full-time aides will be increased from $1,661 to $1,833 a month. The contract also includes increases in health benefits and provisions governing breaks, lunch periods, vacations, holidays, sick leaves and disciplinary actions.
"Our agreement was modeled after the teachers' contract, but now we are no longer the underdogs," said Gloria Young, an aide who was one of the negotiators.