LYNWOOD — After working more than a year without a contract, teachers in the Lynwood Unified School District approved a three-year pact last week that calls for at least 12% in pay increases.
In ratifying the contract Thursday on a voice vote, teachers said they believe the increases will help stem further resignations by colleagues seeking higher pay in other suburban districts or in Los Angeles.
The Lynwood District, which is to hold its first classes Monday, still was attempting to fill teaching vacancies last week.
The school board approved a plan to ask the state to suspend the credentials of teachers who resigned after July 1 to take jobs in other districts, but school officials have not resorted to that option yet, Supt. LaVoneia Steele said last week.
Negotiations Next Year
The new contract gives teachers a pay increase averaging 6% retroactive to September, 1988, and another 6% increase for the coming year. The contract will be reopened for salary negotiations next year.
Teacher pay under the new contract will range from about $26,500 to about $49,000 a year, depending on educational background and years of experience. In addition, health benefits will be improved, said Ara Prigian, a representative of the California Teachers Assn.
Lynwood teachers have been earning between $21,953 and $44,051 a year. Teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District earn from $27,000 to $49,000 under the contract they approved after a strike last May.
"In the regular pay schedule, we're as good as Los Angeles," Prigian said of the Lynwood contract. "When it comes to stipends, they (Los Angeles Unified teachers) kick the hell out of us."
Difference in Bonus
Lynwood teachers, for example, receive a $1,500 bonus if they are bilingual. Los Angeles teachers receive an extra $5,000 a year, he said.
Talks between the teachers and district had remained deadlocked until last week, when Prigian met with the district attorney and an independent fact-finder. The fact-finder agreed with the union's demand for an increase of 6% per year for two years, instead of 4% offered by the district, but refused to agree to the same raise for the third year of the contract.
About 200 or more teachers hastily met in the cafeteria Thursday at Hasler Junior High School and ratified the contract. The district has about 600 teachers and 13,800 students in nine elementary, two junior highs and a single high school.
"It makes us feel good because all last year we went without a contract and we were on shaky ground," said JoAnn Daniels, president of the Lynwood Teachers Assn. "We finally settled. We feel secure now."