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When Teachers Go Out on Strike

May 22, 1988

I have watched with great dismay over the last several weeks as your paper has given extensive front page coverage to the several Orange County teaching organizations who have been contemplating and/or carrying out strike actions.

You also carried a front page story on State Supt. of Schools Bill Honig's criticism of the Huntington Beach strike in which Honig accused teachers of playing by the "old rules." The implication seems to be that there exists a new set of rules that call for cooperation and negotiation.

I am a teacher in the Newport-Mesa School Unified District, and I guess it could be said that we have been trying to play by these new rules. Your paper and Honig have turned a deaf ear, as has our district superintendent.

Last year when our district was $4 million in the red and student supply and program budgets were being slashed, our school board voted a 5% raise for classified and administrative employees. We protested, we negotiated, we anguished. The result: Administration 5%. Teachers 0%, Students programs slashed. Media coverage 0%.

This year our district is facing a $7 million budget shortfall. Essential programs are being cut. Class sizes are being increased. And 58 of the bright, young talented teachers that our children so desperately need are being laid off. Yet at the last school board meeting, the teachers stood alone in their protest. And the next day your paper again gave the front page to those playing by the "old" rules.

The education of the youth of this community should be our top priority. Why is it that when one school accuses another school of illegally recruiting athletes, it is considered front page news but when our local school board institutes devastating cuts across the whole spectrum of K-12 education, it is virtually ignored?

STEVEN A. MESSENGER

Corona del Mar

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