Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Hundreds of Orange County teachers strike over pay and benefits cuts

Hundreds of Orange County teachers were walking picket lines Thursday, the first day of a strike protesting pay and benefits cuts in the Capistrano Unified School District.

Schools in the 51,000-student district remained open, but most after-school activities and sports events were canceled.

Scores of substitute teachers were hurriedly brought in to preside over classrooms with lesson plans that included enrichment activities in line with state education standards. But there were reports that some students were leaving campuses because there were too few substitutes.

The Capistrano Unified Teachers Assn., which represents the district’s 2,200 teachers, called the strike after negotiations over wage and benefits cuts broke down. The district last month imposed a 10% pay cut on teachers.

Both sides have agreed to meet in a closed-door session later Thursday to try to end the deadlock.

-- Carla Rivera

Photo: Teacher Kay Serafini is comforted by sixth-grader Nikki Sadriafter after the teacher was seen crying on the picket line at Carl Hankey K-8 School in Mission Viejo. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (109)

Waaaaah, they're taking my benefits away. Hey, maybe you're overpaid! Have you ever thought of that? Maybe you're a drain on the state. Don't go on strike and ask for sympathy. Do your work.

It never fails; San Juan Capistrano Teachers need to accept the 10% pay cut and be happy they have a job. There are so many other Teachers from other school Districts who have taken furlough days, pay cuts and many have been laid off completely and now these spoiled, selfish, inconsiderate and self centered idiots need to wake up and begin their personal financial adjustments just like all of us who were cut in some way by the bad economy have done. The Teachers at San Juan are so use to spending without consideration of the bad economy, but all that has changed and now they can experience what everyone else is experiencing throughout the USA.

I have no pity for them and If I was the Capistrano District I would let them walk and hire other teachers who have been laid off from other districts and are willing to work regardless of the 10% pay cut. Put the announcement out about hiring new Teachers and there will not be a shortage of applicants. Lay-Off all the Capistrano Teachers and go with the Teachers who truly want to teach.

Maybe if you would clear out the 'rubber rooms' you might uncover some hidden money.

I wish UTLA had the guts to do the same thing. Good teachers always work to become better teachers even during their vacation. Lessons are created or modified to make them better, professional development classes are taken, etc.
Most teachers earn their keep and don't get paid enough to entertain and put up w/ many of the self-absorbed, spoiled students who don't want to lift a finger to earn a passing grade.

Way to go Capistrano teachers!!!

If they don't like the pay, they can work elsewhere. They are VERY expendable.

This is great for the substitute teachers! They (substitute teachers) now have work. The OC teachers should try to find a job in the real world, then they will realize how lucky they are. Stop crying and get back to work! OMG!

Negotiate defined: intransitive verb To confer with another or others in order to come to terms or reach an agreement; transitive verb To arrange or settle by discussion and mutual agreement; intransitive verb To transact business; to carry on trade.

Teachers, don't be dead beats; be intrasitive and carry on with the trade you negoitated to perform: Teach. We have conferred and because you don't accept the conclusion somehow means that the tax payer did not negotiate. No definition of negotiate implies that the tax payer must cow to the union's or to the teacher's tantrums.

The Capistrano USD teachers are striking for much more than pay alone, and the root causes of this strike stab directly at the heart of public education as we have known it, and stabs with mortal intents in mind. The explanation that follows here, although complex, is the real reason a fever of teacher strikes will break out across our state in the months and years to come.

Teachers are striking because they are outraged at the clearly-fabricated, well-orchestrated, and media-driven smear campaign attempting to label teachers as the cause of declining tax-payer returns on public education. This smear campaign stinks all the way to Sacramento and the White house, and now it’s trickled into our own backyard. Corporate interests want to get their paws on the seismic amounts of money devoted to public education in our state (40% of the general fund by law), and have chosen teachers as the breach point to launch their takeover of public schools, and in choosing this strategy, now must smear and malign teachers as a tactic to generate public animosity toward these hardworking, underpaid, and highly-educated professionals in order to force the changes that will eventually line their pockets with our state’s dedicated education tax dollars. Any sensible person knows that it takes a village to raise a child, and teachers alone are not to blame for struggling schools, but teachers alone (and their unlikable unions) have been carefully chosen as the primary target in this fight. Don’t be fooled, people, these teachers are striking for much more than a few more dollars – these Orange County teachers are taking a hit for the whole state teacher team, and its my belief that other members of the team be joining them very soon. Teachers are the everyman foot soldiers that tend to our most precious resource everyday – our children – and in an unfortunate twist of reality, must now fight to defend themselves and their charges against a much more sinister enemy – calibrated corporate takeover. In this brave new world, a digital smart board flashes images as students enter the classroom, and just then the audio chimes in – “Welcome to Mr. Drake’s class. Brought to you by Microsoft and Taco Bell.”

Public Unions will bankrupt us before entitlement programs and wars do! ABOLISH THEM!

Yes, yes. Let's pay those lazy teachers less. We will get what we pay for. Nevermind that our students in k-12 score poorly and that our schools are paid less per student than 47 of the other states. In fact, let's abolish all unions because I trust the CEO's and banks of the world. Just like health care insurers, corporate America should be allowed to make decisions about how much they should be taxed and where our tax dollars should go. Me had gooood teachurs.

This article neglects to state that the real reason these teachers are striking is not because of the 10% pay cut, but the terms and conditions of it. The teachers have said that they agree to the cut as long as it is temporary, but it seems the board would rather make it permanent. This cut, especially if permanent, supposedly would make the CUSD teachers one of the lowest paid in the state. Its so ridiculous that highly educated professionals like teachers (many of them hold multiple master's degrees) could make such a low salary, and have to fight so hard to keep it from being further decreased. Why can't our society put more emphasis on the importance of education, because truly where would we all be without our teachers?


Give the teachers a choice, take the cut or get laid off like other people. Teachers can be replaced like everyone else! Everyone that is supporting the teachers, open your check books and donate to the school board to pay what the teachers want! I don't have kids going to their school and I don't have any more expendable money to give to them. The teachers work 9 months and make a minimum of 50,000.00! They say "but the cost of living is high here". I did not tell them to live or work there. I drive 50 miles each way to my job as I cannot afford a house where I work. I would need a lot more money then I have and get paid to live where I work. If I were to use the teachers way of thinking, everyone should pay an additional tax for a deserving person so he can live better-ME! Are the teachers better than the rest of us? They say they had to go to college many years to get their teaching certificates and deserve more money. Many people, including myself, have gone to college for many years. I hold a degree in airline maintenance but the jobs have dried up. Many mechanics had to find new occupations (maintenance certificates for airplane mechanics take 4 years, year round at 4 hours a night,3 to 5 nights a week to get. I know, they are not the almighty teachers so that is irrelevant ). There is only so much money that people can pay in taxes! Tell you what, we will not ask the teachers to pay any of the added taxes for schools, just take a 15% cut and work only 12 months a year like the rest of us. Let the teachers get on the TV and tell us where, specifically, the money is to come from to give them what they want. Let them tell the people who pay their salaries what they feel we can do with out to find the money to give them what they want and feel they deserve. Let them tell us who they think should be fired and which of the programs that the general public want, should be cut so that they can have more money. When things get bad, why do they think they should be treated differently then everyone else? Tell them that it was their decision to become a teacher. If they don't think it is what they want anymore, go find a new occupation, or shut up and live with it like the rest of us have had to! Be glad you still have a job!

Other workers are out of work and taking pay cuts, so that means it is right for everyone? When will workers unite? Do you think the administrators are taking cuts? Do you think the district/state administrators are taking cuts? Do you think the legislators are taking cuts? Or in the private sector where you all are suffering- are the executives taking cuts or getting bonuses? Stop tearing down other workers because they have the organization and the power to get their wages. You should look at your own situation and try to organize for better pay and security. And don't bring up the "fat-cat retirement" bugaboo. Teachers pay into their retirement plan and draw out their investment after 30 years. Again, the politicians have mis-spent the money given to them, and they are misleading you with fear/anger tactics to blame govt. workers. They are doing the same to Social Security. We give it to them for our retirement, it goes into the general fund, they spend it on everything but retirement and then blame us. Don't be misled people!!!!!!!!

What a loaded, dishonest picture that is.

I am sure they were both just standing like that, and it had nothing to do with the awareness of photographers nearby.

What a joke.

Did any of you read the article? Where did it say these teachers were refusing a pay cut? No where does it say they refused to take a cut. It says they wanted a guarentee that the money would be returned when there was money to spend. Why is this so hard to understand that. Lausd asked us to take a 10% cut in the 90's for the kids. We never saw it. When money became available, they refused to remember that we took the cut for the kids and instead told the media were a bunch of selfish teachers taking money from the kids. I back these teachers. I'm sorry parents this sucks. Your kids are being hurt. Send your messages to the district to make an agreement and end the strike.

The story does not present the facts accurately. The strike is not about the 10% paycut, it's about not having restorative language that all other districts have put into their agreements. The teachers are asking that if any extra unforeseen money comes into the district, that it be used to restore teacher salaries to previous levels. The union wants to control the money, and make the teachers reneogiate salaries at the end of the two year agreement.

Hey tony what an educated and rational post. You really impressed me with your mature response backed with fact. In case you don't get it I'm being sarcastic.

Fire the lot or at least ut all their benefits to zero. Put them on daily hire. Live the dream like the rest of us have for the last 20 years.

It's not like there's a shortage of unemployed teachers these days.

None of you understand what a teacher does.
A. 76k is not enough to live in CA.
B. It is a 10 month salary not a 9 month.
C. How can we afford a home in So. Cal if we don't get paid?
D. No matter how hard we work we don't get a bonus, like many of you corporate stiffs.
E. We have to go through so many "hoops" to be a teacher and we don't get the salary we deserve.
F. Don't b;lame us for having the foresight to pick a career in edu. And we would be fired if we didn't do our job, trust me. If your unemployed, sucks to be you,YOU! You obviously didn't do your job well or else you would have a desk at the moment.
SO many more reasons....
bell rang time to teach my kids about SOCIALISM!

Capistrano's average teacher salary is $76,384 in 2008-2009 compared to a state average of $66,995. The 10% cut still puts them above the average.

Average teacher salaries can be misleading, though, because they reflect a district's preference for experience levels of teachers, so let's look at the starting salaries. the state average is $40,421; Capistrano is $48,899. Again, a 10% cut still puts them $3,588 higher than the state average.

OK, Orange County may be more expensive to live in than the average California community, which perhaps justifies the higher-than-average salaries. So, let's compare them to all other districts in Orange County. The beginner's average is $44,149. So, the 10% cut then puts them at about the county average.

Data available at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ds/fd/cs/

The majority of commenters are missing the point. The issue is not taking pay and benefits cuts. The teachers' union has already agreed with 10.1% cuts - they acknowledge that times are tough and that it is good to have a job. The strike is about a board that unilaterally imposes *permanent* cuts, violates the Brown Act repeatedly (and has been cited), and refuses to negotiate. This autocratic behavior is the reason unions were created in the first place.

The mind trick that the Republican party has played on you folks over the past 30 years is unbelievable, and has lead the the obvious outcome that the rich and powerful want: a desire for union-busting. It is ridiculously short-sighted to blame public employee and teachers' unions for the fiscal irresponsibility of our state and county governments. And it is insane to call teachers "selfish" for fighting for their wages. Hey, if you took a 10% wage cut at your job, it is your own stupid fault for being anti-union. If there were more unions, we would still have a viable manufacturing base, higher wages, and less corporate greed. But instead, you anti-union types want cut your nose to spite your face. Just ask yourself, did the CEO of your corporation take a pay cut? Did the stock holders offer up anything? If you are a small business, did your corporate customers agree to executive pay cuts, or are they simply expecting to survive at your expense? It is time the fewer people listened to a couple of anti-union twits on the radio (who both belong to a union, and have not sued to leave it), and think about joining unions yourselves.

The unions have it backwards. In good times ask for more. In bad times make concessions to save jobs. And most of all, the rule of parasites is: never kill the host.

Expendable? Come to my class and teach 42 how to write a thesis. Not just first period but 2nd-6th. And build on that everyday...I would love to answer a phone or work on a spread sheet all day. Oh yeah, can't use the restroom till the bell rings...
I dare you...

« | 1 2 3 4 5 | »


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...


About L.A. Now
L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
Have a story tip for L.A. Now?
Please send to newstips@latimes.com
Can I call someone with news?
Yes. The city desk number is (213) 237-7847.


Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: