Teacher Negotiations Sour in Lemon Grove

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LEMON GROVE- District officials in Lemon Grove School District (LGSD) have prioritized cash over kids, deciding to keep excess reserves well beyond state requirements, instead of preparing to hire the next generation of professional educators for the Lemon Grove community.

The association’s president, teacher Piere-Lynn Finney, is concerned about the change in tone and tactic of LGSD. In the past, Lemon Grove Teachers Association (LGTA) prided itself on good labor relations with the district. Longstanding members could not recall a time in the last twenty-five years in which bargaining resulted in such contention and division in Lemon Grove.

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Lemon Grove teachers rally at negotiations session in May

 

When an agreement was not reached after a recent twelve-hour session, LGTA negotiators were surprised to learn the district did not want to schedule additional dates.

Without any substantive discussions of health benefits and salary, impasse procedures seemed premature.

LGSD’s current position is to require “trigger language” that, if instituted, prevents members from negotiating their contract in the 2018-2019 school year, when new revenue could be available. This is unacceptable to LGTA.

Under different district leadership, teachers had been able to reach tentative agreements without fanfare or issue.

LGTA still remains hopeful a May mediation session will bring a tentative agreement that will help restore and maintain a collaborative relationship with LGSD school board trustees and cabinet.

Most importantly, they believe this will have a positive impact on Lemon Grove students.