Teachers voice salary woes before board meeting 

Concerned that their district is going to use tonight’s board meeting to present their side of a salary debate, San Mateo Elementary Teachers Association members used Wednesday’s open house to voice their side of the issue.

More than 100 teachers, students and district parents lined up along Chess Drive and Foster City Boulevard Wednesday afternoon for a short "informational picket," regarding the negotiations impasse declared on April 2.

"Despite all the parents and teachers talking at the meetings, we don’t feel that they’ve heard us," said Laurel Elementary School teacher Rebekah Lubrano.

The San Mateo-Foster City School District and the union have not had a contract since the previous one expired almost one year ago. The two sides have not been able to reconcile their demands and elected to bring in a state mediator to aide the discussion.

The union is asking for a 15 percent raise to cover increased health benefits and cost of living, while the district proposes a 7 percent increase this year and ongoing increases of 4 percent after that.

An increase of the size the union requests would require $6 million in cuts this year and $9 million each following year, said Assistant Superintendent for Student Services Joan Rosas.

Tonight, the district will discuss the impact of each proposed increase on the overall budget, something union president Carole Delgado says comes dangerously close to the public negotiations both sides have agreed to avoid.

"There’s no intention to get involved in the actual negotiations," Rosas said. "It’s going to be more like Budget 101 for schools."

The union maintains that the district has enough money for the increase, but is being overly cautious in using its approximately $7 million in surplus reserve money.

Lubrano said the pay for the district is so low that she has had to live with her parents for the past five years since she graduated from college. According to the California Teachers Association, starting district teachers make just under $40,000 annually.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. tonight, in district offices at 1170 Chess Drive, Foster City.

jgoldman@examiner.com

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