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Teacher paychecks may be tardy

Union must vote on contract that, if ratified, would lead to ‘paperwork nightmare’ for district officials.

May 13, 2010|By Max Zimbert

GLENDALE — Teachers may get paid late if their union does not vote this month on their tentative contract with Glendale Unified School District, officials said.

If ratified, the contract requires teachers to take one furlough day this school year, which forces the school district to create a new payroll database — a paperwork nightmare for district officials, Deputy Supt. Dick Sheehan said.

“Unfortunately, the technology is not a simple, ‘put something in the system and it’s calculated,’” he said. “It all has to be done by hand in our accounting system. That’s why it takes forever, because of the nuances.”

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The Glendale Teachers Assn. has scheduled the vote May 24 through 26, expecting to know the results before the May 27 deadline to avoid a pay delay. But union President Tami Carlson said she repeatedly told district officials that the current scenario was inevitable.

“I told them that if we didn’t do it the week of May 4, 5 and 6 that we’d have to . . . delay for two weeks,” she said. “I tried to get it done earlier, but because the district did not call me back . . . we could not get the materials ready in time for our planned vote.”

Carlson said the circumstances mirror last August, when school board members terminated the contract in a symbolic action that they said was meant to add urgency to negotiations.

“They are doing what they always do, they are trying to turn it around and blame it on me,” Carlson said.

On April 16, both sides reached a deal requiring teachers to take one furlough day this year, and 15 during the life of the three-year contract. It also calls on teachers to make additional contributions to their health-care benefits.

The tentative contract generates about $12 million in savings toward the district’s $18.5-million deficit by 2011-12. State law requires school districts keep balanced budgets every year for three consecutive years.

“I’m not aware of a tentative agreement not being ratified, however, I have never seen this much anti-ratification grassroots fever, so to speak, from our membership either,” Carlson said. “Is it a good deal? Each and every teacher is losing a few hundred dollars out of their paycheck every month on this.”

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