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Valley Focus | Calabasas

Teachers Seek Higher Summer School Pay

May 09, 1998|SYLVIA L. OLIANDE

The Las Virgenes Unified School District and the Las Virgenes Educators Assn. are in negotiations over summer school teachers' salaries, the first time the teachers union has ever represented the group.

Teachers said they have asked the district to consider implementing a contract agreement to pay them their regular salaries during the summer, rather than the often lower salary the district usually pays.

Sandra Pope, president of the union, said that it is an issue of fairness and pointed to neighboring Conejo Valley Unified School District as one that pays teachers their normal rate during the summer.

"They're doing the same job, teaching the same subject matter . . . and in an abbreviated amount of time," she said. "It's not like these teachers are doing any less than they would normally do."

But district officials said the wages are competitive with several surrounding school districts. They point out that the summer school rate includes a 10% cost of living increase this year, rather than the usual 3%.

Individual salaries vary based on the number of hours each teacher works and the level of experience, so district officials could not estimate how much of a difference an hourly rate would make for teachers.

The two sides are expected to meet with a state mediator Tuesday to try to resolve their differences. The 29-day summer session starts June 15. The district had planned to issue contracts by the beginning of June.

Deborah M. Coleman, assistant superintendent of personnel, said that classes will be held no matter the outcome.

"We have many applications and we've just been waiting to resolve this issue before we offer contracts," she said.

Pope said that the teachers who have applied to teach this summer have indicated that they will not work for less than their regular hourly rate.

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