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Beverly Hills Weekly
Beverly Hills, California
October 5, 2000     Beverly Hills Weekly
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October 5, 2000

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t 10.9% this year. And Palos Verdes teachers will be enjoying increases on the order of 9% to 14 %, with the most senior teachers receiving the 14% increases. Even LAUSD has offered double digit increases ranging from 10.8% to 15.8% for this year. On September 25th bargaining teams for BHUSD and the teachers union met to discuss financial issues and exchange wage proposals for the 2000-01 school year. The teachers union proposed an 11% increase, and the district proposed a 4% increase with the possibility of another raise in the Spring. In an interview with the LA Times, BHUSD Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources John Tennant explained, "We had a lot of debts left over from last year that we had to pay off." He said that even with the extra funding, the district has a $200,000 deficit. BHUSD Superintendent Gwen Gross added, "We're doing an intensive review of the budget right now. We're looking to give strong salary increases while maintaining the fiscal integrity of the district. It's a challenge." For now the parties are still working towards a suitable compromise. "I'm confident that when all is said and done, everyone will feel comfortable with the end result. Both sides are determined to make it work," said Board of Education member Barry Brucker. He added, "Everyone is going into it with a good. positive attitude, and that gets you three quarters of the way." - Steve Ta)lor is also confident that a solution will be found. "The district is looking at creatixe va) s to solve the perceived problem," he said. As for BHEA's relationship with the school board, Taylor is optimistic. "They've done a great job in hiring Dr. Gross [as Superintendent]. She's intelli- gent, and she's empathetic toward teachers. It sends a positive message to BHEA," he stud. IN SEARCH OF SOLUTIONS Even before the State allocated $1.8 billion to public schools, some school dis- tricts managed to pay their teachers relatively well. Lennox School District, for example, is known for its exceptionally high teachers' salaries. (Compare Lennox's highest teaching salary of $70,023 to Beverly Hills' $60,586) This may come its a shock to some, since Lennox, located under the flight path to LAX International Airport, is not the most wealthy of neighborhoods. Lennox Superintendent Dr. Bruce McDaniei offers a number of reasons for their impres- sive teacher' alaries. "We spend les.,, money on administration, have fewer projects that we contract out, have a younger teaching staff, and we are aggressive in obtaining outside funding, such as grants." he said. And contrary to common belief, the Lennox School District doe, not receive ongoing funding from LAX. There was once a lavsuit settlement between Lennox School District and LAX which allowed schools to sound-proof their classrooms, but it 'as a one time agreement. It is also xorth noting that Lennox School District and the other districts men- tioned earlier hae much higher student to teacher ratios than Beverly Hills Unified. Could larger class sizes and fewer emplo2,ees allow BHUSD to pay teachers more? Phil Harris thinks it's a viable option. "It's more important to have quality teachers than :mall classes," said Harris. Steve Taylor, ho'ever, disagrees with that approach. "La classes lead to less education It takes a',ay from our ability to teach... It is essentialhya water- ing don of education, and BHEA is not for that," he said, Ultimately, the issue of the proper pay may depend on the district's priorities. Renee Roberts. president of the Palos Verdes Peninsula teachers union, admit- ted, "We have a great relationship vdth our school board... Raisingsalaries was one of their top priorities this year." Dr. McDanicl of Lennox made a similar statement: "It is a priority [of ours] to pay employees well. it helps with recruiting, retention, and it rewards people who work hard." For now Beverly Hills teachers are waiting until the next negotiation meeting, which will be held October 13th. According to Taylor, their objective remains the same: "BHEA is looking for comparable compensation, and respect for the job well done." see salary  graphs on p. 13 DO YOU THINK TEACHERS DESERVE A RAISE? Send us an e-mail at Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine Center Dr. Lynn Zou Dr. Lynn Zou, O.M.D., L.Ac00 Ucensed Chinese Acupuncturist (M.D. in China) 1355 Westwood Blvd. Suite 12 Los Angeles, CA 90024 Tel: (310) 477-6835 Purity ......... ....................... You Can Trust. When your family's health is foremost, you can rely on YOSEMITE WATERS to provide quality drinking water. Enjoy good tasting water that is completely free of chemicals, unfriendly bacteria like cryptosproridium and unwanted matter such as lead, which is found in most household plumbing systems. YOSEMITE WATERS... Convenient, Reliable & Affordable. We're the purity you can trust/ October 5-11,2000 ,, 11