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S.D. Teachers Union Refuses Pay Cut, Offers Alternative

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Aired 2/5/10

San Diego's teachers union says its members will not accept an 8 percent pay cut to balance San Diego Unified School District's budget.

— San Diego's teachers union says its members will not accept an 8 percent pay cut to balance San Diego Unified School District's budget.

The district presented the San Diego Education Association with the 8 percent pay cut proposal last week. Union leaders call the pay cut ridiculous and indefensible. In fact, they say the district's proposal has negatively affected the recent good will between the union and the school board.

Instead, union leaders say their members will take three furlough days annually if the district agrees to a list of concessions. Those concessions include placing caps on class sizes and preserving nursing and counselor positions.

Union president Camille Zombro says the money that funds those positions is being used on other things.

“We have schools that will replace their counselor with a copy machine, or literally basic supplies and materials,” Zombro said. “What we're trying to do in this proposal is to require that money be spent on nurses and on counselors.”

Other union concessions include increasing the number of sick days for teachers so that they can use them as personal days. It also gives principals more flexibility to evaluate veteran teachers less frequently.

Zombro says their counterproposal will save the district about $10 million. Possible cuts to teacher health care benefits may result in an additional $10 million.

District officials were hoping to save $50 million through the pay cut. San Diego district officials say they have no comment. San Diego Unified is facing a $93 million budget deficit for next school year.

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