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Negotiations Stall, Pickets Continue in New Haven Teachers Strike

New Haven Teachers Association says members will take shifts picketing over the Memorial Day Weekend and continue until an agreement is reached

New Haven Unified School District teachers and administrators left a 10-hour bargaining session Sunday night with no settlement agreement in sight, according to both camps.

This would suggest that the teachers' strike that began May 20 appears headed to continue. Classes are scheduled to resume Tuesday, after the Memorial Day holiday.

"We're probably going to be back on strike next week, but that's not what we want to do," said New Haven Teachers Association president Joe Ku'e Angeles said in a video posted Sunday night on the union's Facebook page.

The district administration's news release Sunday night made no mention as to when negotiations might pick up again. A district spokesman could not be reached immediately Sunday night for further comment.

In the teachers association video, Ku'e Angeles said board members - before they "walked out abruptly" Sunday night - said they would be back at the bargaining table at 9 a.m. Monday.

Ku'e Angeles said he wasn't so sure the talks will resume so soon.

"The conversation has not moved" over the weekend, he said.

The school district's "last, best, and final offer" is for a 1 percent raise for 2019-2020, as part of the teachers' salary schedule, and a one-time 3 percent payment. A new amendment to that added a 0.5 percent on-the-schedule pay raise for teachers for every additional $1 million in state funding for 2019/20, up to an additional 1 percent raise applied to the salary schedule.

The New Haven Teachers Association, meanwhile, are seeking a 10 percent raise over the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school years. The teachers say the district has plenty of money for the raises they seek, contending the district has a multi-million-dollar budget surplus. They also say district managers are set to receive pay hikes of up to 6 percent.

District officials assert that their current offer would cost the district about $5 million over three years, and would keep New Haven teachers as the highest paid teachers in Alameda County.

District administrators contend that declining enrollment and budgetary deficits will preclude the district from collecting the estimated $20 million over three years needed to meet the teachers' demands.

District administrators Sunday night released a list of potential cuts that could be made if "any increase beyond the district's last, best and final offer" is adopted. The cuts, ranging from eliminating 25 classified positions, trimming an undetermined number of teachers, eliminating some or all district assistant principals and closing a school, could cost as much as $7.8 million.

Ku'e Angeles had seen those numbers, he said in the video, and called them "a scare tactic note to the community."

He said it might be time to ask the current board members to resign, to recall them or call for a vote of "no confidence."

"You can't bring this thing to an end?" Ku'e Angeles said of district officials. "Something is very much wrong."

The New Haven Unified School district employs approximately 585 teachers at its 11 schools in Union City and Hayward. Approximately 11,000 students attend those schools.

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