Santa Barbara Teachers Get A Deal

Union Reps and District Officals Agree on 3-year Contract

After 7 months of
contentious negotiations
, the Santa Barbara School District and
its teachers reached a tentative contract agreement late Thursday
night. Though the deal is far from official- it still must be
ratified by the teachers union, the
school board and the county education office- it saves the once
stalled negotiation process from enduring the a fact finding review
from a 3 member panel of the Public Employment Relations Board.
Speaking about the new deal, Superintendent Brian Sarvis commented,
“My gosh it took a long time to get to this point. And [for both
sides] it was a lot of give and take to get here. ”

For the duration of negotiations and 5 subsequent state mediated
sit downs, the district had held hard and fast to a 1.5% raise
while the teachers had been resolute in their call for a 6% bump up
in pay. The new contract- which would be retroactive to July 1st,
2006- finds the middle ground of the two sides, offering teachers a
3% increase through the 2008-09 school year. Crediting the
district’s Director of Personnel Kris Robertson and the union’s
representatives for hard work and determination, Sarvis reported
that the new deal will eventually translate to almost $80,000
annually for top salary earners. In addition to the basic salary
raise, starting in 2007-08 the contract will apply the 3% to
stipends, hourly rates and differentials and, in 2008-09, establish
a common school calendar start date for all schools in the
district. However, the deal maker- at least from the district’s
perspective- is language that creates larger class size limits for
grades 4-12. Starting next school year, grades 4-6 will be capped
at student teacher ratio of 30:1, grades 7-8 at 33:1 and Grades
9-12 at 35:1. In Sarvis’ estimation, “We couldn’t have had this
deal without the class size increases.” That being said, the cap
increase will most likely lead to the cutting of a few temporary
teacher positions come next fall. Though no date has been set for
the school board to vote on the agreement, the teachers are
scheduled to ratify their new contract in voting held from March


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