Teachers to rally, picket, visit board

Teachers from the Belmont-Redwood Shores School District will rally this afternoon to elicit support as they prepare for a May 8 mediation over a contract negotiation impasse, union officials said Wednesday.

“It’s an informational picket, so to speak,” said George Metropulos, a third-grade teacher at Central Elementary School and a former member of the Belmont City Council.

The teachers are lobbying for increased pay and benefits and some changes to their working conditions, including smaller class sizes in grades 4 though 8 and basing school-to-school transfer requests on seniority rather than principal discretion, Metropulos said. The Belmont-Redwood Shores Teacher Faculty Association’s contract expired in June 2004, and they agreed to extend it through June 2005 with a 3 percent raise going into effect November 2005.

District Superintendent John McIntosh said the district already provided $75,000 extra toward health and welfare benefits this year and absorbed an additional $80,000 in increased benefit costs.

He said he opposes the transfer-request change because principals can best determine which candidates meet an individual school’s culture.

The rally takes place from 4:30 to 6 p.m. today at El Camino Real and Ralston Avenue and at Alameda de las Pulgas and Ralston Avenue.

The teachers will then go to the regular board of trustees meeting that night.

kwilliamson@examiner.com

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