A standing-room-only crowd of school teachers and classified school employees expressed their disapproval with the course of not-yet-concluded contract negotiations between their unions and the Morongo Unified School District last night. Reporter Dan Stork was there to witness the show of solidarity, and tells what else happened at the Board of Education meeting…


The audience of about 200 teachers and other MUSD employees, all clad in MTA (Morongo Teachers Association) T-shirts, turn their backs on Superintendent Cecelia English during her report to the Board of Education.

While MUSD Superintendent Cecelia English gave her report shortly after the start of the meeting of the Board of Education, the audience of approximately 200, all clad in Morongo Teachers Association T-shirts, stood with their backs to her, many holding up signs protesting how District employees are being treated financially. During public comment time, a succession of teachers and classified employees told of long uncompensated hours, salary scales lower than nearby school districts, years with little or no raises, and expectations heightened by Gov. Brown’s reforms and the improved economy. Teacher union representative Jason Bolt used his report to list the salary increases received by assistant superintendents in the District in the past 5 years, and to note the $20,000 increase in base salary from the previous Superintendent to the current one. Classified School Employee Association representative Maria Brunetti said that the District has not been responsive to CSEA concerns during contract negotiations. Following the meeting, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Douglas Weller told us that the Morongo Teachers Association has filed a Notice of Impasse with the state Public Employees Relations Board, which is expected to result in the appointment of a mediator for current contract negotiations. The news that teacher addition at Landers Elementary has eliminated the need for a combined 2nd and 3rd grade class was universally welcomed. When the Board turned to its agenda, Board member Karalee Hargrove pulled from the consent agenda an item that would have approved several new classified positions and employees, saying that she didn’t want to hire new employees before compensating existing ones adequately. Following a motion by member Ed Will, that item was tabled until a future meeting. Daily pay for permitted and credentialed substitute teachers was raised respectively from $86.70 and $91.70 to $100 and $110. In her legislative status report, Karalee Hargrove noted that the effort to overturn AB 1266, on Transgender Student Participation Based on Gender Identity, has failed to qualify for the November ballot.

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