Teachers, New Haven School District meet for second day in attempt to restart negotiations

UNION CITY, Calif. (KGO) -- Day four of the New Haven Unified School District teachers strike comes on the second day of unofficial meetings between the teachers association and the school district. The district covers Union City and parts of Hayward.

"I think the difference from Sunday (the last day of negotiations) to now, is the fact that there is an agreement, places to look at. It's no longer about positioning. It's about getting a resolution to the contract," says Joe Ku'e Angeles, president of the New Haven Teachers Association.

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Angeles was part of Wednesday's meeting with the district, initiated by Alameda County Supervisor Richard Valle. It's an attempt to restart official negotiations. A second meeting was scheduled for Thursday morning.

He says a neutral fact-finding report was discussed on Wednesday, which suggests the district has money for up to a six percent raise. Teachers are asking for 10 percent - Five percent this year and five percent next year.

The district's current proposal is a one percent increase next year, with a possible three percent bonus. Angeles says the report provides "common ground" for both groups going forward.

"So, at least that's a place we can start talking about where we need to get to. And that's a real different understanding from the small 1% percent (district offer)," he says.

Parent Jessica McCaffery has two children in the New Haven School District. She spoke at Wednesday night's school board meeting, where some board members walked out.

She says she understands the district's position that declining enrollment means less money for schools. But she believes the district can do better.

"I would agree with that, and see where they are coming from, except they are giving themselves raises," says McCaffery. "These teachers are supplying classrooms with school supplies out of their own pocket. (The district doesn't) want to pay them the amount of money they deserve."

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Jason Lowe teaches 4th-grade math at Guy Emanuele Elementary School in Union City. He says without a living wage, the district will lose its best teachers.

"Understanding that the (district revenue) may be less, but still, when we talk about trying to retain good teachers, trying to retain these young teachers in the Bay Area, it's impossible to do a zero percent (pay increase)," says Lowe.

John Mattos, a spokesperson for the school district, described Wednesday's meeting as "positive and productive." He went on to say that if Thursday's meeting goes as well as on Wednesday, he has "high hopes going forward."
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