December 7, 2010 | 6:00pm
As of 7:30 a.m. tomorrow (Wednesday) morning, La Habra school teachers will be on strike, according to Bill Guy, with the La Habra Education Association.
LHEA and the district's bargaining team finally met at the negotiating table today, but an agreement could not be reached. According to the press release received this evening:
When the two teams met today at 3:30 p.m., LHEA's team offered a comprehensive proposal, but the district responded with a flat "No." Rejecting the fact finder's recommendations and continuing to insist on permanent cuts in salaries and benefits, the district offered no room for compromise beyond their imposition. "It was like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic," said Brown. "It was soon obvious that instead of intending to bargain, they were only attempting to provide political cover by making it appear that they had responded to the teachers' legitimate offer to negotiate."
Teachers from the nine school sites will be on the picket lines bright and early.
LHEA had reached out to Superintendent Susan Belenardo on multiple occasions, beginning in mid-November, trying to handle the matter, but never got a response until LHEA submitted the official strike notice at 9:00 a.m. today.
"A strike is the last thing La Habra's teachers want," said LHEA President Danette Brown in a press release received this afternoon, "but the average La Habra teacher will lose $14,000 as a result of the district's imposition, and some could lose as much as $20,000. And because the district's cuts are permanent - unlike those in any other district in Orange County - the career impact for La Habra teachers is staggering."
As of last Friday
, Brown and LHEA were hopeful that a settlement could be reached to prevent having to pull teachers out of the classroom.
The impending strike stems from a Nov. 18 school board unanimous vote to impose permanent salary and benefit cuts on teachers.
The Weekly tried to contact members of the school board, but calls were not answered and messages not returned.
You can follow updates of the La Habra teachers on their twitter account, @LaHabraTeachers
We will update as more information becomes available. Check back tomorrow morning for comments from striking teachers, parents of affected students and LHCSD. We'll also have photos.