December 8, 2010 | 1:40pm
Ninety-two percent of the La Habra school teachers honored the strike plan by the La Habra Education Association, and were out on the picket lines this morning.
As for the nine schools affected, well, "They're open and we have credentialed substitute teachers in the classrooms and a curriculum is in place," Superintendent Susan Belenardo said. "We're going about our business, which is educating children."
After the two sides were unable to come to a last-minute agreement yesterday afternoon, the decision to strike was upheld. Teachers are upset about the pending cuts to their salary and benefits, but Belenardo says they need to face the "financial reality" of the La Habra City School District.
While the school district has remained relatively mum, LHEA and its president, Danette Brown, have not held back in pointing out the shortcomings of LHCSD. LHEA has accused the school district of holding out on using $8.4 million in reserve funds and in reneging on an agreement to honor a neutral fact finding report.
Belenardo, however, made it clear that both points are not entirely accurate.
Union President Danette Brown has been making the rounds to all the schools and has been the voice of the teachers.
Bill Guy/CTA Communications Consultant
"The school board never said it would 'honor' the fact finding report, it just said it was awaiting results before moving forward with a decision," the superintendent said. She said that when the report came back, some of its findings and recommendations didn't work with the school district's budget limitations.
As for the reserve funds? According to Belenardo, they are not allowed to be used toward salaries or benefits. Besides, by this time next year, that $8.4 million will be closer to $200,000 after deficit spending.
Belenardo said there is no clear timeline or gameplan for getting the teachers back in the classroom.
Until some sort of agreement is met, Brown says teachers will stay out of the classroom. In the meantime, "[The teachers] are feeling very united, very strong," she said. "They feel very adamant about standing up to what we feel is unjustified, unfair, and extreme."