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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)

this is what happens when the right wing nuts are permitted to infiltrate the board and implode it.

the Republicans are holding up the CUSD as an example of how to take down public education systems.

Minority Leader Boehner literally held a conference last week on this very topic.

It is time for the parents in all of these communities to wise up and pay attention.

Again the unions never seem to get it? If you have no money to pay someone you have to make cuts. These Teachers I would bet would vote down a tax hike or property tax increase as many of the parents would as well. Where is the money going to come from?? You can complain all you want nobody wants to take a pay cut. But its better then losing your jobs! Maybe if you did not live pay check to pay check it might not hurt so bad these pay cuts??

When we are running out of money, we can either raise the tax revenues or reduce the spending or both. In any case people will have to suffer one way or the other. Teachers are not exempt from the pains caused by declining tax revenues. Pay cuts and services cuts have popped up in every pubic and private sector of California. Tears shed abundantly, misfortunes swell steadily..., and scant attentions were paid to those victims of economic downturn, but when teachers are on the verge of being made to live with less than abundance, they always make it to the headline news for they alone can hold our children and parents hostage by striking.

Those of you who are opposing unions need to live in a Third World country, because that is how your life would be if our unions had not paved the way for fair pay, standardized hours, and worker safety. Stop and think before you bash unions.

Read ARD's post...it is the truth. Teachers have become the scapegoat in education.

Big D- A 10% pay cut is a $5000-$8000 pay cut not a $600 pay cut that teachers would save for abolishing the Union and not having to pay dues. Those of you who say be glad it's not a bigger pay cut...you must work in private industry were they exploit you, cut your wages, etc., etc. If you were union, you'd still have a job.

ARD -- That is some of the silliest propaganda I've ever heard. Are you seriously suggesting that if these teachers got their money they wouldn't scurry back without another word? All they care about is money. Period.

At least you aren't presenting the "we're doing it for the children" lie that we've heard so many times before. Yeah, I've lived in the state for decades, I've got a memory. And we've all heard these striking teacher complaints from Cali unions for many years. It has nothing to do with your ludicrous conspiracy theory; it's the same old sob-story about how terrible and "underpaid" their job is, despite the fact that hordes of people are banging down the walls clawing at a chance for it, and teachers are being fired left-and-right. If there was an ounce of justice in this world, the death-grip of the teachers' unions on California would lift, and these teachers would be kicked out the door, to learn some solidarity with the rest of us.

PS, despite contrary rumors circulating amongst teachers, having a mediocre undergraduate degree does not render you "highly educated" and therefore entitled to a six figure salary, guaranteed life employment, and immunity from severe economic storms that devastate the rest of us.

Stop the whining teachers. Acknowledge the fact you still have a job. In Arizona and other states, time and time again have teachers been campaigning in front of the state capital due to job losses or reduced wages. What is it about teachers were they are so against the grain and deal with adversity like most other americans dealing with these harsh times. Most americans simply take it in stride.....

To gil canales-Oh yeah..teachers are VERY expendable? Only 16% of the population goes and gets a college degree, which is what you need to become one. You don't know what you're talking about, you have no clue as to what the requirements are needed to become one.

Teachers are worth every penny..teachers are very educated and go to school for 8 years + to become one. You say to go get another job? Sure...Why not start with yours?

It really bothers me that some of these people think that the teachers have a choice in this situation. BOTH of my parents are teachers and we are struggling during this time. The board is corrupt and the teachers are not just suddenly going on strike. They CARE SO MUCH about the students, but honestly they have no choice. I have never seen my mom cry so much or my dad so stressed out during this time. Thanks for whoever has supported this issue. Thanks for supporting my mom and dad. Thanks for supporting me.


Then advertise all of the openings in many other states that have pay and benefits far far lower then CA. I will bet you will have better teachers working here in no time all happy to accept even less then the 10% cut these teachers are whining about.

AND do the same for the fat cat administrators in all the CA school Districts.

MRoberts-Sure we want to get paid just like you. A teacher taught you how to read, write, and think so quit bashing them. We don't make six-figure incomes. Do some research before you open your mediocre mouth.

What a ridiculously pathetic propagandized picture - if that teacher cared about her student/s she would be in the classroom teaching and kissing the class room floor every hour, for the priviledge of actually having a job. Paycuts are permanent - get over it!

Ironic part is that its their union and unions like theirs that is bankrupting our state. I wish I could get paid like that to work 9 months a year, 2 weeks at Christmas, Easter, oops sorry Winter and Spring vacations, then have a nice big fat pension when I retire. I would put a big help wanted sign in the window at the school board office. Cry me a river teachers.

I have to agree, yes, it's a pay cut and is upsetting but not the end of the world, they still have jobs! What they need to do is suck it up, get back to work and do a better job and work harder. Tired of seeing employees taking advantage of their jobs and slacking off.

This is exactly what LAUSD educators needed to do in the face of adversity. I congratulate these teachers for doing what is right for students.

i have heard very different info on this theme. i heard the replacement teachers will receive 250$ a day while the current teachers receive 110$ a day... then i heard the current teachers receive 61k a year for the gig...nobody -(even the store manager of wal mart) deserves 61k a year. i only believe the teachers make 100$ a day to teach these (babysit) future rap stars...

EVERYBODY'S BENEFITS ARE CUT. And yet people are still working. This is not the position of TEACHERS to be striking...you paid union dues and yet nothing is happening. There's no purpose in union dues then! TEACHERS, get back to the classroom and TEACH! What kind of example are you teaching kids! By striking, you're showing the kids that you don't care about them - you would rather get more dental insurance than teaching kids.

Gee, since Gonzo has all the answers, why don't we elect him King, NOT!! I don't have kids so why are you picking my pocket??

Teachers, suck it up.
Everyone has taken a hit during this recession. No one is immune.

The District has plenty of money to purchase PARS buyouts for their administrators, though.

Gonzo - There's not a lot of >$250K people to tax in California. They're all running away! And, BTW, don't you think a lot of these over 250K people hire a lot of people like you? Rich people for the most part take the risks to own businesses and employ others, providing them a life. And of course, you want to repeal Prop 13, so taxes can come from people who worked hard to actually get a home and made the right choices all along their way! If you're poor - YOU CHOSE TO BE POOR. Work at it and you'll achieve something one day. That's what those "rich over the $250K" people did.

I've never been employed by a poor person. How about that thought?

You will not tax me more, and there is no more money.

Public employee unions pound sand...

If the teachers will not go back to work in a reasonable amount of time
fire them all. Higher the new teachers and move on.

The unions must be destroyed so California can survive.

The teachers are willing to take the pay cut, however the school board won't use the word temporary therefore they are right to strike. The whole for only 9 months is crap. Teachers do alot durring those 9 months to where it averages out. For the education required to be a teacher they should get paid more. Look at all those people in the South OC living in huge houses while most teachers could never afford homes like that on a teaching salary. Have princables, and superindendents been told they need to take a pay cut yet? I bet not.

I have an idea for anyone who thinks taxes are too low. The school district is willing to take your donation today - please stop by the district office and write out a check for any amount you like - for your entire bank balance if you choose and the district will be happy to accept it. For the rest of us, taxes are choking us. And more than 47% of those who live here pay ZERO, which means the other 53% have to carry their bucket of water. That's not fair. So until someone comes up with a system that is a little more equitable so that EVERYONE pays taxes, I don't want to hear much whining from public employees about how little they are paid. Quite frankly, compared to those in the private sector, those who are drawing public sector paychecks and benefits are doing pretty well, so be happy with what you have and be glad you have a job!

mike8223 You are wrong on all points - see how anyone can do that; it's all just opinion. I didnt have to be such a long-winded A-hole about it either.

Gonzo, YOU are correct.....in my opinion.

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