More than 200 demonstrators, most of them teachers, descended on this week's school board meeting in Cerritos to express anger over stalled contract negotiations. The ABC Unified School District and its 1,100 teachers have yet to agree on a contract for either last school year or the current one.
The teachers union is demanding that the school board improve its salary offer. District officials said they will not pay more until more state funding arrives.
After months of negotiations, the two sides are close to an agreement, but neither party speaks of compromise. Both sides agree that the dispute is the most protracted and bitter in the history of the district, which serves Cerritos, Artesia, Hawaiian Gardens and parts of Lakewood and Norwalk.
The district has offered a 1.66% pay raise and a onetime bonus of .84%. The teachers want all or nearly all of that bonus to be a permanent raise.
Teachers argue that the district can afford the increase because it has a larger percentage of money in reserve than surrounding school districts. The reserve for this year is more than three times the legal requirement.
The administration contends that the reserve will be needed to offset expected shortfalls in state school funding.