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Escondido teachers rally for better pay as district warns of financial trouble

escondido teachers
Posted at 11:17 PM, May 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-10 07:25:56-04

ESCONDIDO, Calif. (KGTV) - Hundreds of teachers showed up Thursday night at the Escondido Union School board meeting, demanding better pay and benefits.

The teachers are in the middle of a prolonged contract negotiation with the district.

According to the superintendent, Luis Rankins-Ibarra, the district has offered a 3.37% retroactive raise for last year, when the teachers were working without a contract.

Teachers have agreed to that, but are not satisfied with the 2.41% raise offered for the coming school year.

“The surrounding districts have much better salary and benefits packages than ours,” said Romero Maratea, a middle school teacher and the president of the teacher’s union.

The union is seeking a 2.7% cost of living adjustment (COLA) for next year. They are also asking for clarification on the district’s proposed 0.5% increase to their benefits, saying they do not know the underlying number it applies to.

One of the teacher negotiators addressed the board on this topic.

“Count the variables. So half a percent of an unknown quantity added to another undefined amount is what you are offering.”

Another frustrated teacher commented, “are you trying to hide something? it sure seems like it.”

A spokesperson for the district declined access to interview district officials.

In a prepared statement from Superintendent Rankins-Ibarra, he wrote, “we are confident that we are close to a fair agreement.”

He continued, “the district’s latest contract proposal is one that we can afford while still maintaining the minimum reserve requirement and remain fiscally sound three years out. Our budget presentation tonight confirms that while we can afford this offer, going beyond that would jeopardize the district’s fiscal solvency.”