Nonteaching employees in the Inglewood Unified School District are contesting a school board decision to give teachers a raise that is twice the amount approved for support staff.
The district plans to give teachers a 6% raise next year while increasing the salaries of classified employees by 3%. Funds for the pay hike will come from the multimillion-dollar package allocated by Gov. Pete Wilson to reduce classes to 20 students.
Members of the classified employees union contend that the raises should be equal. The union has put in a "me too" request--a proposal that asks the district to pay out the same percentage of money across the board.
They are scheduled to go back to the bargaining table today.
"This is like having two kids," union spokesman Christopher Graeber said. "The district has given one of the kids a shiny new bicycle and the other kid a Tonka toy. The support staff has worked just as hard as the teachers and deserve the same raise."
Graeber said the reduced class sizes have forced the district to use more classrooms and as a result the 650 classified employees face more work. He said the union supports the class reduction program but it wants the district to treat employees equally.
District officials contend that they are not playing favorites. They say they have given the teachers a higher raise because Inglewood instructors have long been among the lowest paid in the county. Board member Thomasina Reed said classified employees salaries are closer to being on par with support staff in other districts.
Reed said teachers have been working without a contract over the last year while the support staff is in the middle of a three-year contract.
Reed also noted that teachers are in high demand because of the move to reduce class sizes and the district wanted to ensure that they were compensated fairly.
The board will finalize a vote on the salaries in January. Teachers will start receiving new compensation in the spring.