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Sweetwater Teachers Protest Stalled Contract Talks

— Sweetwater Union High School teachers staged a rally in Chula Vista yesterday protesting stalled contract negotiations with the district.

The Sweetwater Union High School District and the Sweetwater Education Association don't agree on a number of issues, but one of the main sticking points is larger class sizes.

The district wants teachers to have up to 30 kids. Right now there are about 28 kids on average. Sweetwater's Lillian Leopold blames the increase on the state's money problems.

“If we had our choice we wouldn't be doing these things, but we really don't have a choice,” Leopold said.

But Sweetwater Education Association president Alex Anguiano says this contractual obligation binds teachers to a bigger class sizes even if the state's money problems improve. He says the proposal opens the floodgates for even more severe overcrowding.

“The end result, you have some classes that are in the 40s and some classes in the high 30s. It's very hurtful to children,” Anguiano said.

Both sides have filed unfair labor charges over the way negotiations are being handled. They're waiting on an independent fact-finding report to move forward.

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Avatar for user 'swteacher'

swteacher | August 18, 2009 at 6:31 p.m. ― 7 years, 7 months ago

It is incorrect to say the district wants teachers to have 30 students in the classroom and we currently have 28 on average. Our current contractual agreement stipulates a 28/1 student/teacher ratio, not to exceed 176 students per teacher. Generally, teachers have five classes and one preperation period. That math brings the possible average per class much higher. In reality, many teachers already had 38 -sometimes even over 40 - students in a classroom. That was last year. Now the district has already implemented a 30/1 staffing ratio despite our contractual agreement, and the numbers have gotten higher.

If we had 28, or yes, even 30 students in our classes, teachers would certainly not be complaining. In fact, I would rejoice. Please do the homework and report classroom conditions as they really are.

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Avatar for user 'Roberto63'

Roberto63 | August 21, 2009 at 10 p.m. ― 7 years, 7 months ago

It's a complete misrepresentation that the district wants teachers to have 30 kids. As a matter of fact if that's the deal they want, I'll sign on, and I'm sure there are a couple of thousand teachers that might come along as well. But the reality is that this is about a staffing ratio. By increasing the staffing ratio, a high school with 2,300 would lose about 5 teachers. That's 25 classes that disappear, but the students don't. They now have to be placed in classes that are left.

I'd suggest Ms. Tintocalis visit some classrooms in the Sweetwater district and see the impact first hand.

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Avatar for user 'RevaLution'

RevaLution | August 22, 2009 at 8:37 a.m. ― 7 years, 7 months ago

oh Ana. you're usually so thorough. please call a teacher to learn about what ratio really means. certificated staff also includes nurses, librarians and teachers on special assignment. the ratio doesn't take into account that these people are not in classrooms, so more students are packed into fewer classes. I have 3 classes that are at 40 and the room is so uncomfortable--more for the students than me. I WISH classes were 28 to 30 students!!

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