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Capistrano Unified teachers protest proposed 10% pay cut

Hundreds rally near Mission Viejo Mall to highlight their dissatisfaction with contract talks. Union officials say the salary decrease would be dire but that furloughs would be considered.

December 06, 2009|By Ann M. Simmons

Teachers angry at the Capistrano Unified School District's proposal to cut their pay by 10% held a rally Saturday to protest the move.

The demonstration, which took place near the Mission Viejo Mall, drew more than 300 people, according to organizers of the event. It marked the latest in a series of actions highlighting teachers' dissatisfaction with contract negotiations and the school board.

Capistrano Unified needs to slash about $25 million from its 2010-11 budget, board officials have said. They have suggested cutting teachers' pay by 10% and making the decrease retroactive to July by deducting it from upcoming paychecks.

"These are difficult times for all institutions, not just school districts," said trustee Anna Bryson. "We have to work with the money that we have, and that keeps getting smaller."

Vicki Soderberg, president of the Capistrano Unified Education Assn., which represents some 2,200 teachers, said the proposed salary decrease would be dire.

"Asking for a 10% pay cut would throw a lot of our teachers out of their homes and onto the streets," she said.

Teachers would consider furloughs, Soderberg said.

Teachers and parents also are upset with the school board for trying to delay action on a parent-led initiative that would change voting for the seven trustees from the current at large elections to district balloting.

The initiative is scheduled to appear on a special June ballot that will cost the district almost $500,000. Its supporters say the expense could be saved if trustees used a state waiver to make the change.

But the trustees insist that postponing the vote until the scheduled November 2010 elections would be the best cost-cutting measure.

ann.simmons@latimes.com

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