1090 pink slips rescinded as district and teachers union reach tentative labor agreement

The San Diego Unified School District and the union representing its teachers announced a tentative labor agreement June 19 that would preserve jobs slated for elimination in exchange for deferring $68 million in scheduled raises.

"These are tough times and this was a very tough decision,'' Bill Freeman, president of the San Diego Education Association, the union representing the district's teachers, said at an evening news conference at the district's headquarters. "The teachers ave once again stepped up to the plate."

The agreement means that 1,090 district employees who had been scheduled to be laid off will be recalled by June 30. The remaining 280 will be brought back by Sept. 30, the district's Linda Zintz said.

The district will spent $1.5 million on a health care trust fund to maintain benefits of workers whose recall will be delayed, Zintz said.

The key provisions of the tentative agreement include: -- salary increases called for in the current contract would be deferred until funding is available; -- teachers would take five furlough days in each of the next two academic years, a number that could increase to 14 if Gov. Jerry Brown's proposal to raise taxes fail at the ballot box; and -- the district would offer a substantial retirement incentive.

"This agreement will allow us to keep reasonable class sizes in our schools, to keep programs such as music and international baccalaureate, keep counselors and nurses on staff to help our students," Board of Education President John Lee Evans said.

"One thing I really want to say today is we really owe a deep debt of gratitude to all of the teachers, counselors and nurses, all the staff who have sacrificed so that we can get to this point."

A ratification vote on the agreement will be taken Sunday through next Tuesday. The union's Board of Directors voted overwhelmingly to recommend ratification, Freeman said.

More than 1,500 district employees, including teachers, were slated for layoffs to help close a budget deficit of about $120 million in the coming fiscal year.

--City News Service

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