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Teachers Group Gives Board 1st Pact Proposal : Glendale: The panel did not comment on the submission. District officials have not budgeted salary hikes and increased benefits.

March 21, 1991|ROD WADE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Glendale Teachers Assn. presented its initial contract proposal to the Board of Education on Tuesday, asking for an increase in wages and benefits in 1991-92.

The teachers declined to disclose the percentage increase that they will seek when negotiations begin in May, and would not say whether the proposal is in the neighborhood of the present contract, which gave teachers a 22.7% increase over the past three years.

School board members made no comment on the proposal. The school district has not included funds for salary increases in its upcoming budget and benefits may also be reduced. The district has about 950 teachers.

The association's contract expires June 30. Teachers are seeking a one-year contract because of the uncertainty in state funding, association President Mark Desetti said.

Wage and benefit increases will be the most difficult issues to negotiate, representatives of both groups said.

Presentation of the association's initial proposal is the first step in the negotiation process, which is expected to continue through the summer. The present contract will remain in effect until a new one is signed.

Despite cutbacks in state funding, Desetti said he is hopeful that the district's conservative budgeting will allow room for wage and benefit increases.

"This district isn't in terrible financial shape," Desetti said. "But we know they aren't as strong as they've been in the past either. Obviously, we want to get the best settlement for teachers as far as wages are concerned."

Wages, however, will most likely be the biggest problem facing both sides during negotiations.

"Our budget calls for no wage increases at the moment," said David Kanthak, assistant superintendent of business services for the district. "We have to see what funding we'll get from the state before we can make any salary adjustments."

The state budget proposed by Gov. Pete Wilson calls for no cost-of-living increases in education. Because of that, Kanthak said the district decided not to budget any wage increases.

Desetti said he is upset with Wilson's proposal because further financial burdens will be placed on teachers.

"Wilson's budget is horrid and terrible for schools," he said. "We want to keep him from balancing his budget on the backs of teachers and their students."

Desetti said the association is also asking for increased health benefits that include eye care, a better dental plan and retirement benefits.

Kanthak, however, said this demand may be unrealistic.

"We've only budgeted for a 5% increase in health benefits," he said. "And this amount may not even allow us to maintain our current level of benefits."

Among other changes being sought by teachers are reduced class sizes, flexible work hours and the elimination of combination classes where two grade levels are taught in one classroom. These are considered unlikely to be adopted because of financial conditions.

Two new areas of discussion during talks will focus on year-round schools and site-based decision-making--a program to establish a council of teachers and parents that would make school improvement recommendations to the district. In July, the district will go to a year-round system such as is already in effect in Los Angeles. The union has not taken a position on the change, but wants to protect its rights to be involved.

The district will respond to the union in the next four to six weeks, personnel administrator Charles Duncan said.

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