School board approves teachers union contract

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Kevin Moretti, president of Chico Unified Teachers Association, said the union is happy with the pay-scale adjustment but that cuts in other areas still pose problems. Photo credit: Michael Arias

After a contentious year of negotiations, Chico Unified School District and the Chico Unified Teachers Association have agreed on an upgraded salary schedule for the rest of this year as well as the next school year.

After asking for an 8 percent salary increase, Kevin Moretti, president of the teachers union, and the rest of its members agreed to see a 9 percent salary increase over the next year, avoiding a strike.

The agreement consists of a 3 percent increase retroactive from July and a 6 percent increase that will take effect on Jan. 1.

The school district and the union have been at an impasse since April and have been through three mediation meetings as well as a stage of what is called “fact finding” where a three person panel is chose by people of both sides to help make an agreement.

The long road to the agreement finally came to an end on April 2, when the tentative agreement was signed by both parties.

Bob Feaster, assistant superintendent of the district, said that even though the process was contentious, they are happy with the outcome.

“We think that it is a good compensation increase,” he said.

The union is happy with the amount but doesn’t agree with some of the price cuts they had to take in other areas the district imposed, Moretti said.

“The money was generous,” he said. “But the cuts they are saving money on are not worth the aggravation it is causing.”

Moretti said that although the teachers salaries are being increased, new coaches and after-school assignments are losing a lot of money. The district has taken an interest in extending the kindergarten program for more hours, which would increase the kindergarten teachers workday even longer.

“Maybe now is a good starting point where we can start working together instead of against,” Moretti said.

Michael Arias can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.