Class size and teacher pay among negotiation topics |

Class size and teacher pay among negotiation topics

William Ferchland

Lake Tahoe Unified School District and its two employee unions might be in for long negotiations after details of what the three sides want for next school year were made public last week.

Called “sunshining,” the issues are part of the normal negotiation process and detail what the sides “will be sitting down and discussing,” said Superintendent Jim Tarwater.

The teachers union, South Tahoe Educators Association, has seven items it wants addressed. They include more time for classroom preparation, a say on how the school year calendar is structured, class size reduction and a boost in pay and health benefits.

The other union, California School Employees Association, representing support staff such as secretaries and custodians, listed 18 issues – from evaluation procedures to vacations – it wants addressed.

Representatives with the two labor groups could not be reached for comment.

The district has the fewest issues, but the list includes the extensively discussed proposition of all-day kindergarten, a program administrators believe will help lure children into the district, boosting revenue. The program would also require more teachers, thus rehiring those who received a dismissal notice earlier this month as a result of financial cutbacks.

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The other two articles the district intends on negotiating involve teacher preparation time and pay and benefits for both labor unions. The district doesn’t intend to alter pay and compensation levels.

Tarwater expects a lengthy negotiating process to last into summer. Talks are made between the labor unions and district twice a month.

Parent David Norton was the lone audience member to speak on the issue at last week’s school board meeting when the items were made public.

Norton requested more information on the teachers union proposals and the expected impact of the issues on the school district’s budget.

Others with concerns on the proposals can e-mail the district’s board of education at