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Staffers, teachers haggle for wages

September 09, 2006|By Ani Amirkhanian

BURBANK — The board of education on Thursday gave the go-ahead for school district staffers to begin contract negotiations with the Burbank Teachers Assn. for the 2006-07 school year.

The Burbank Teachers Assn. is seeking higher wages and better health benefits, said Kim Allender, co-president of the Burbank Teachers Assn.

"For the past two years, we have made the case that teachers salaries should be no less than the medium of county school districts," said Kim Allender, co-president of the Burbank Teachers Assn. "Board members must not forget to correct teachers salaries."

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Allender reminded board members that money is available to bolster teacher compensation thanks to an 8.65% increase in state education funding. Trustee Larry Applebaum agreed that a new contract should reflect the state increases.

"This is the best education budget that has presented itself in California for a long time," Applebaum said.

The Burbank Teachers Assn. also requested an increase in the district's contribution toward medical insurance premiums.

But the priority item for the teachers' association is salaries.

"To ensure that the district will continue to attract and retain teachers, we need to increase the salaries," Allender said.

For the 2006-07 school year, district staff proposed to discuss wages, including appropriate levels of compensation, health benefits and hours of employment with the association.

"I think for the most part, our school district and our teacher's association have had good discussions that are based on both sides genuinely trying to find common ground," Allender said.

By law, the two sides have to renegotiate a contract each year, board President Ted Bunch said.

There is no deadline on when a contract must be renewed, Bunch said, adding that the district and the association want to start soon because it's a process that could take several months.

Negotiations could start as early as next week, Bunch said.

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