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Sweetwater School District Officials To Give Update On Union Negotiations

Above: People with Sweetwater Education Association hold signs and rally in Chula Vista on March 21, 2014.

Officials with Sweetwater Union High School District, the second-largest school district in San Diego County with 42,000 students enrolled, say progress is being made in union bargaining negotiations with its teachers union, but no settlement has been reached.

Board President Jim Cartmill and Superintendent Edward Brand are planning a news conference Thursday morning to provide an update.

In a letter dated March 25 to school community members, Brand wrote,

“During last Friday’s session, the District proposed a multi-year contract term, with salary increases for unit employees in each of those years, 2 percent 2013-2014 and 3 percent 2014-2015. The District also proposed to increase its maximum contribution to employees’ health and welfare costs from $8,996 to $12,068 for the 2014 plan. The $12,068 amount represents 68 percent of the current cost of the family rate for Kaiser 10/10 Safeguard, Vision and Life insurance. For subsequent plan years, the District proposed that the parties negotiate any increase to the District’s contribution during reopener negotiations. The District also proposed to decrease the class-size to 30:1 in the second year of the contract (2014-2015).

Teachers with the Sweetwater Education Association, which represents nearly 2,000 educators, recently approved a strike if an agreement isn’t reached.

The main bargaining sticking point has been over health plan contributions.

"Where the district is contributing about $5,500 less per member than what we had agreed to," Roberto Rodriguez, Sweetwater Education Association president recently told KPBS.

Teachers are also requesting a 3 percent raise and a reduction of class sizes by 10 students per class.

Negotiations have been at an impasse since December.

The next negotiation session with the state mediator is scheduled to take place on April 8.

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