2005-06 school year begins.
In accordance with the state's Sunshine Law, both sides will
reveal negotiation proposals for public comment at tonight's school
"It's required by law that we have a public hearing," school board
President Ron Dietel said, though he doubts anyone will comment.
There are roughly 180 employees in La Canada Flintridge's schools
that hold nonteaching, or classified positions, said Donna Shepherd,
co-president of the district's California Schools Employees Assn.
Their contract with the district ends June 30.
Some of the topics that will be on the negotiating table are jury
duty, vacations, layoffs and reemployment, contract lengths, hours of
employment, working conditions and disciplining, among other items,
Supt. Sue Leabo said.
The district's negotiating team will have its hands full, as it
already is involved in protracted contract talks with the teachers
union. Teachers have been working without a new contract since the
beginning of the school year, and there is no end in sight to the
negotiations, Leabo said.
At issue are health coverage and pay increases.
Administrators are hopeful that they will reach a quicker
agreement with classified employees than they have with teachers.
"They are very different groups, and I don't see the negotiations
as being very difficult," Leabo said.
Developments at the state level are partly to blame for the lack
of a quick agreement with teachers, making it uncertain what district
officials can offer teachers, Dietel said.
"We have had many unknown factors from Sacramento," Dietel said.
"We don't know what health costs will be, and what makes negotiations
even more difficult is that we don't know when we will have an
approved state budget."
District officials are also waiting to see how several
education-reform measures proposed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger play
out, he added.
Negotiating teams for teachers and the district are scheduled to
meet again April 18, Leabo said.
"We should have better information to negotiate with regarding
next year's budget and changes in insurance premiums," Leabo said.
* ROBERT CHACON covers
La Canada Flintridge and La Crescenta. He may be
reached at (818) 637-3239 or by e-mail at robert.chacon