Ceres Teachers and District Continue Faceoff

In local news…

Modbee.com : The Ceres Unified School District is on the offensive in negotiations with its teachers’ union after months of stalled bargaining and a slate of educator grievances against new policies.

The district this month filed two unfair practice charges with the state’s Public Employment Relations Board, which administers collective bargaining laws.

Among other things, the district criticizes Ceres Unified Teachers’ Association leaders for withholding bargaining information and says union leaders spiked a proposal that would have required its members to get training to instruct students with limited English abilities.

Teacher contracts expired in July. The parties declared an impasse last month and are awaiting a meeting with a state mediator in November, Ceres Unified Superintendent Walt Hanline said.

Hanline said the association is negotiating in bad faith.

“This is a time we should be celebrating,” Hanline said, referring to the district’s unveiling of a new high school and two elementary schools this fall. “But we have a union leadership that is into demeaning and undermining all the work we have done.”

Doug Watchous, the union’s lead negotiator, called the charges an attempt to “be confrontational, to divide the teachers from a good working relationship with the district.”

The association has filed 17 grievances against the district this school year. It has also complained about Hanline’s leadership since last spring, when 328 of 520 teachers said they had no confidence in the superintendent.

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