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Thousands of Orange County teachers threaten to strike Thursday

April 21, 2010 | 10:00 am

Thousands of Orange County teachers say they will strike Thursday to protest stalled salary negotiations with the Capistrano Unified School District.

The district on Wednesday said it is scurrying to assemble substitute teachers to fill in for the more than 2,200 teachers who plan to strike.

The 52,000-student district is the second largest in Orange County. The pay dispute has been simmering since June, when the district proposed a more than 10% pay cut on teachers to help offset budget problems.

The teachers' union has said it will accept the pay cuts only if the district agrees to make them temporary, according to Vicki Soderberg, president the Capistrano Unified Education Assn.

Soderberg said teachers also want the district to promise it will funnel to teachers' salaries any unforeseen state or federal funding that may come in. The union, a local chapter of the California Teachers Association, voted to call the strike last week, Soderberg said.

“Teachers don’t want to strike," she said. “But they’re being forced to do so.”

A statement posted on the school district’s website Wednesday said: “The district is arranging for substitute teachers and putting necessary plans in place to continue to keep schools open and provide a safe and operational educational program for our students and employees.”

-- Kate Linthicum