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Community News Focus

ORANGE : Teachers Vote on Pact Board May Torpedo

June 16, 1995|LESLEY WRIGHT

Teachers in the Orange Unified School District, who have been working without a contract for a year, are voting today on a pact that could fall apart by Monday.

Trustee Martin Jacobson said a wording change in the contract, accepted by union representatives last week, has upset some school board members.

The agreement initially stated that the district would contribute up to $5,410 a year per teacher to the health benefits trust. As it reads now, however, the words up to are left out.

The deletion hit a nerve with a majority of the seven-member board, Jacobson said, because community activists had alleged several months ago that the district was paying too much to the trust.

The proposed contract specifies that the district and the teachers union agree to a study of the trust by an independent analyst. It also would give teachers a 2% raise for the 1995-96 school year.

Jacobson said the board did not authorize the wording change regarding health benefits. "If we take out the contract language," he said, "we're making a big concession. . . . Let's see a substantial concession" from the teachers union.

If teachers ratify the contract but the school district trustees reject it at Monday's board meeting, a union official said, the union will file a complaint Tuesday morning with the Public Employees Relations Board.

"They are not bargaining in good faith," said David Reger, president of the Orange Unified Education Assn.

If the union files a complaint, Jacobson said, the board will counter with a complaint alleging unfair labor practices.

Board President Maureen Aschoff said Thursday that she is not happy with the contract but called for both sides to calm down.

"I think we need to make some changes in the contract language," she said. "It can be done if we stay rational and reasonable."

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