SAN RAMON (CBS SF) – The San Ramon Valley Unified School district and the union representing nearly 1,700 teachers and school employees appeared to make progress on a new contract during negotiations Wednesday.
According to officials, the district and unions have signed 11 different tentative agreements, but have still not yet reached a deal.
“This constitutes tremendous progress,” the district said in a statement. “We had an outstanding day and look forward to returning to the table as soon as possible to reach agreement on the remaining few issues.”
San Ramon Valley’s 1,700 teachers have already voted 98 percent to authorize a strike.
While the two sides have come to an agreement on pay, there’s an impasse in class-size negotiations. Teachers say the district wants a contingency clause that would allow officials to withdraw any improvements after three years.
“That is unacceptable to SRVEA members. They want to have something firm on class-size talks,” said Cynthia Menzel with the California Teachers Association.
The union said if a strike occurs, it would likely happen in April. On Thursday, district spokesperson Elizabeth Graswich said she is confident that can be avoided.
“At this point in time, we’re still concentrating on negotiations. So we haven’t started that planning process,” said Graswich. “Should we go longer and not be able to come to an agreement, we’ll begin that.”
At this point, no new negotiations are scheduled, though both sides expect to be back at the table soon.
“Their line in the sand — their hill, if you will — is going to be class size and getting the resources and making the opportunities students need to succeed,” said Menzel.
If and when an agreement is reached, the union leadership will present it to its membership for a vote. The teachers union is planning a rally for Tuesday evening outside the district office.
Last week, a strike authorization vote was held in which nearly 98 percent of teachers voted in favor.
The teachers, whose contract expires at the end of June, are asking for a five percent raise and class size reductions, among other things.
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