Mediator named for teachers negotiations |

Mediator named for teachers negotiations

Mary Thompson

Contract negotiations between teachers and the Lake Tahoe Unified School District soon will be moving forward.

Mediator Shirley Campbell has been assigned by the Public Employment Relations Board to referee negotiations, which have been at a standstill since the South Tahoe Educators’ Association filed for impasse in May.

“We’re at the point where we can’t trust what they tell us,” said Mike Patterson, president of the Educators’ Association, the union that represents the 296 teachers in LTUSD.

While the district and the teachers don’t seem to agree about contract issues, they agree that calling in a mediator is a necessary step in getting negotiations rolling.

“It’s a good thing,” said LeAnne Kankel, LTUSD human resource director. “We’re very interested in getting this settled.”

Patterson also said he is anxious to get negotiations underway.

“July 1 marks an entire year that the teachers have been working without a contract so we want to get this thing wrapped up this summer,” he said.

Kankel said meetings with the state-appointed mediator will likely begin in late July, but no dates have been confirmed.

“I thought we had a date settled – July 22,” Patterson said. “We’re really disappointed that we’re not meeting then.”

The Educators’ Association is seeking salary raises for the teachers. According to a study issued by School Services of California, the teachers in LTUSD rank second to last in beginning and top salary rates when compared to 20 other school districts of similar size and state funding received. Salaries for LTUSD teachers start at $25,945 per year and top out at $51,043 per year for a teacher with a master’s degree and 21 years of experience in the district.

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