District, union reach agreement

Newport-Mesa Unified teachers will have no pay raises but also no salary reductions.

October 13, 2010|By Tom Ragan,

COSTA MESA — The Newport-Mesa Unified school board on Tuesday night approved a one-year contract with the teachers union but also outlined issues with the state budget expected to impact the district.

The Newport-Mesa Federation of Teachers Local 1794 reached an agreement with district in September and overwhelmingly ratified a one-year contract in which teachers would see no pay raises but no salary reductions.

Both Kimberly Claytor, the president of the union, and the district's negotiator, John Caldecott, director of human resources, were commended by the seven-member school board and Supt. Jeffrey Hubbard for their hard work and long hours of negotiations.


Hubbard, in recounting how the tentative pact played out in September, said that he couldn't sleep one particular night. He recalled that he got up to check his e-mail and he noticed he received a positive update on the contract negotiations from Caldecott as late as midnight.

Then another one came in at 3:30 in the morning, then another at 6:30 a.m. — with both teams pulling "an all-nighter."

"I'm proud of the perseverance and the willingness to come together at the table," Hubbard said.

Caldecott said he endured the "full range of emotions," from joy to exhaustion.

Teachers, however, will see a 10-percent increase in their compensation and benefits plan, according to the contract. The hike in monthly premiums is the direct result of an increase in the insurance company premiums.

But the district is not out of the financial woods.

While 74 teachers have been hired back so far from the 124 initially laid off over the summer to plug a $13.5-million hole in the Newport Mesa Unified School District's 2010-11 budget, it now looks like special education could take a $2-million hit due to the state budget crisis, district administrators said.

When Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger deleted $133 million from the budget's County Mental Health Services, "that singular act" left counties across California in a sort of "limbo," Paul Reed, chief business official for the district, said in an e-mail.

Although the mental health services are "not educational in nature," Reed wrote, there are individual education plans for students.

All school districts are required under federal law to meet the needs of special education students, which

means districts across the state are "arguably mandated," Reed wrote, "to pay and provide for the services themselves."

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