No deal for district, teachers as classes soon begin

The continued failure of negotiations means that the very dramatic and very public feud between San Mateo and Foster City teachers and the district will not be over before the end of summer vacation, just a week away for some schools.

Before being sent into “fact-finding” after negotiations broke down on July 13, representatives from the San Mateo-Foster City School District and the San Mateo Elementary Teachers Association both said they hoped to reach a salary agreement before students returned to school.

But with year-round classes beginning this week and traditional classes beginning at the end of August, that possibility is gone.

“With everyone on vacation, and the district inundated with new hires, it probably won’t be right away,” said SMETA President Carole Delgado. “It’s just what we’ve been saying, teachers are leaving, but it doesn’t seem to matter.”

Assistant Superintendent Joan Rosas said the district hired 71 new teachers for the next school year, 34 for year-round schools and 37 for traditional schedules.

In the fact-finding process, both sides will present their cases to a three-member panel made up of members appointed by the state, the district and the teachers’ association. The panel will investigate the claims and make a nonbinding recommendation.

Rosas said she does not expect fact-finding to end before September or October.

The union has asked for a 15.3 percent increase to salaries, plus increases in 2008 and 2009, which Delgado says would help retain teachers in a district that has lost 175 in two years.

The school district has offered a 5 percent increase retroactive to July 1 of last year, an additional 1.5 percent increase in 2007-08 and a 1.25 percent increase to certain salary levels to make them more competitive.

jgoldman@examiner.com

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