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New talks expected this weekend as O.C. teacher strike continues

Making their point

New negotiations are expected to occur Saturday after a two-day strike by Capistrano Unified School District teachers over pay and benefits failed to be resolved Friday.

Teachers vowed to continue the strike until their demands are met and said talks Friday didn't produce any breakthroughs.

Teachers are protesting the school board's decision to end negotiations and impose 10% pay cuts to help close a $34-million budget gap. The union wants the district to make the pay cuts temporary and to restore salaries, unpaid workdays and other benefits if "unforeseen funds" are received.

This is the latest dispute in a district beset by controversy in the last several years after the threatened closure of three elementary schools, two separate recalls of board members, and criticism of the decision to erect a $35-million administration building known derisively as the Taj Mahal.

More teachers joined the strike's second day Friday. Hundreds of teachers hoisted signs and chanted slogans, joined by students and parents.

About 200 teachers — 11% of the teachers — crossed picket lines to get to their rooms, down from 12% Thursday, said Julie Hatchel, district spokeswoman. Nearly 600 substitute teachers were hired to supervise classrooms.

Attendance in the 51,000-student district was down substantially Friday: Less than one-third of students attended classes, Hatchel said. High school attendance was 10%, down from 23% on Thursday; middle school attendance was 27%, down from 39%; and elementary school attendance was 45%, down from 48%.

--My-Thuan Tran

Photo: Striking Capistrano Valley High School teachers shout at one of the replacement teachers leaving the Mission Viejo campus. The teachers union wants the 10% pay cuts imposed by the Capistrano Unified School District to be made temporary. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

Comments () | Archives (11)

These teachers need a reality check. The taxpayers (mostly non-union workers) are getting sick and tired of their overly generous pay and benefit packages. On a related story here in the Times, an LAUSD teacher was finally fired after being suspended for 2-years. He still collected his $73,500.00 salary and benefits! $73,500 for part time work! Who says teachers are underpaid!!

It doesn't help their cause when these kinds of stories appear in the L.A. Times:

"Thomas Shelden got his $73,500 annual salary but had no duties while the district investigated . . . the Los Angeles city schoolteacher spent nearly two years outside the classroom with full pay and benefits while district officials investigated accusations against him . . ."

$73,500? Unbelievable.

I'm not sorry to say this, but these teachers should be happy to take a pay cut rather than a pink slip!! Down here in LAUSD many teachers lost there jobs, and are more likely still looking. While these people up there are complaining about a pay cut, yes it does suck but get over it! Be happy you still have a stable position and some kind of income comming in. But hey that's just my opinion :I

$34-million budget gap and who caused this problem our elected officials did .people its time to get rid of them from the governor down to the city council members they are the ones that have ruined California with their stupid decisions .our elected officials are responsible and it seems no matter who we vote for we get the same results idiots in office .we need a new system where the people should have the power and the right to vote on issues concerning our own cities and state.also all elected officials should be held accountable and to do so we need yearly performance elections to either keep them in or vote them out .enough is enough .

Management insisted on building a mew Central Office, at a cost of 35 million, and wants the teachers to pay for it through salary and benefits cuts. At the same time district lawyers are racking up billable hours up the yin-yang, while demonizing the classroom teachers in the press. The management culture in the United States, particularly in some school districts, is arrogant beyond repair. The people who do the actual work are not the enemy!

No we don't need a reality check- you do. Firefighters and police officers would never be treated that way.

The story about that one teacher is just that- one teacher who is in a different district. How are they responsible for that.

Did you forget the part about the 35 million dollar administration building? Americans don't support in general intellectual achievement. Why didn' t you point to the story about El Camino Real winning the academic decathlon- national for the whole United States and how so many teachers were responsible for that. Doesn't fit your teacher -bashing narrative does it?

We should be happy to take a pay cut? Why don't the prison guards take a pay cut? No you need to appreciate those readying the next generation for leadership. And we need to tax the oil companies here like other states do but all you can do is continue to advocate taking from the middle class. How stupid most Americans are.

The huge Capistrano district office was authorized and built by the former board of trustees, who were all pro-union. Former Capistrano school superintendent James Fleming, who was a union man, is now under criminal indictment for, among other things, using school district funds to keep a list of names of any parents and students who opposed him.

The median salary of Capistrano teachers is over $76,000 a year. For the first time in a long time, the school board is not in the union's pocket. The teachers are striking in the hope of causing enough chaos to make voters want to recall the board in November and replace it with a board the union can control again. The teachers want any pay cuts to expire in June of 2011 so that their hoped for pro-union board will give them the sweetheart contract to which they've grown accustomed.

I have children in the Capistrano district. They've had some great teachers, and some horrible teachers who can't be fired due to lifetime tenure. I think the union is much too strong and hurting our children.

Shame on you California. Your children are your future and good education is the key to success in our world. We in Massachusetts are appalled by the demands imposed by the school boards in OC.

What is wrong with you CA? A good education is a must for the children of our country. You are the richest county in the US and can not afford to pay for the schools? We in MA are appalled by the situation in your county. For shame!

CA has 500 billion dollars in unfunded government pension liability. Our unemployment rate is 14 percent, though some say it would be 23 percent if we included the people who gave up on finding a job in this bad economy.

The teacher's union is the biggest lobbiest in the state. Due to lifetime tenure it is nearly impossible to fire bad teachers unless they commit a crime such as rape or assault.

In the Capistrano school district, class sizes have been increased tremendously, the Gifted and Talented budget reduced to zero, the Academic Decathlon budget reduced to zero, five days shaved off the school year, and maintenance money reduced so drastically my children try to avoid the school bathrooms all day, with their stink from stopped up toilets and broken sinks.

Parents are given a supply list every September and expected to purchase about $100 of supplies per student. Kids who don't bring in the box of supplies get benched. We paid about $1,000 so our daughter could participate in a high school sport. Art and music programs are funded wholly by PTA parents. And every year, teachers' salaries have increased so that they now earn a median of $76,000 for less than nine months of work, plus incredible medical and pension benefits.

There is no money for teachers' salaries. It just isn't there. The teachers want any salary reductions to expire in June 2011, so they can negotiate all over again. They demand that 100 percent of any extra money coming in be given to teachers rather than to restore art, music, GATE and other programs decimated in the last few years. The union is spending a lot of time and money trying to recall the board of trustees in November so it can put in union cronies and get teacher pay increased. This strike is about creating chaos in the hope that uninformed voters will blame the board and recall them in November.

Your not a fire fighter or a police officer!come on how arrogant can you be!
people are strugling like hell to just find work, and your after more!


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