teacher contract negotiations

Video by Donna Eyestone.

Scores of teachers and their supporters stormed City Hall on Tuesday night to demand a new contract from Alameda school district leaders, following all-night settlement talks that ended without a deal being reached.

A state board has declared an impasse in negotiations between Alameda’s teachers’ union and school district leaders over pay.

The state Public Employment Relations Board declared an impasse over pay negotiations on Thursday, at the request of the Alameda Education Association. A state mediator will now be brought in to try to broker a deal between the union and schools administrators, and if that fails, a three-person factfinding body will examine each side’s case and make recommendations.

Teachers and parents crowded into council chambers Tuesday night to urge a swift resolution to negotiations toward a contract for Alameda’s teachers and an end to the rancorous public airing of bargaining details.

Alameda Unified’s top human resources official offered the district’s version of negotiations over next year’s school calendar on Tuesday night, one of the most hotly contested and closely watched items the district is negotiating with its teachers.

Human Resources Director Tom Rust told the Board of Education that district officials and the teachers union agree on a calendar, though union leaders want an agreement on teacher work hours before signing off on it. Rust said he’ll ask the board to sign off on a calendar for the first three months of school if an agreement isn’t reached by June.

Teachers brought last week’s pre-school picket to the school board on Tuesday, with dozens of sign-waving teachers packed into the back of council chambers as parents spoke on their behalf.

Parents said they moved to Alameda for high-quality schools and that they have come to love their teachers, and they want district leaders to offer them more support in the classroom and at the bargaining table, where the union and district administrators are expected to meet Friday.

Carolyn Cover-Griffith leafs through a pile of old paycheck stubs to offer a sense of how her health care costs have increased over the past few years. In 2009, she was paying $790 a month for healthcare coverage for her family. This year, her payment for her family’s Blue Shield plan is nearly $1,200 a month.

Despite the cost, which the Alameda High School AP Environmental Science teacher said has eroded her take-home pay by more than $70 a month over the past three years, Cover-Griffith said she is staying on the district’s health care plan. She’s been battling cancer since 2006, and fears she could lose her doctors – or her coverage – if she opts for another plan.