Negotiations between teacher’s union, district remain stagnant

Rhett Acosta, Staff writer

As teachers strike all across the nation, Lincoln Unified Teachers Association marches towards a possible strike as well. Late last year LUTA and the district reached an impasse in contract negotiations. This impasse meant that there was no progress in the negotiations and a third party mediator was brought in to help. Since then, the teachers have made some progress, but there are still a few sticking points. To name a few, the teachers disagree with the district on an extended day Kindergarten, which is more class time for kindergarten, and healthcare.

Kellen Thompson, a teacher at Lincoln High School explains that kindergarten teachers don’t have an issue with extended day kindergarten, but the district has not offered a detailed plan on how they will go about increasing class time. “The district wants to extend the kindergarten day without providing a detailed plan. Kindergarten teachers are concerned what might happen in terms of the learning environment for the kids and for their own working environment as teachers” Thompson states.

Teachers also want to see an increase in the healthcare cap, how much money the district will pay for healthcare. Currently the district pays $717 dollars a month. The disitect has offered to increase it to $900 a month by the 2019-2020 school year. LUTA wants that time frame moved up.

There are a few more steps before teachers strike. Legally, a strike is the last resort. However, Richard Vargas, a teacher here at Lincoln High School said that a strike is more possible than ever. “I haven’t seen teachers this angry since I started teaching” Vargas said. “[A strike is]… possible. I wouldn’t rule that out. It’s getting closer.”  “In my 8 years here at LHS, this is as frustrated as we have been. We are going on our second year of not having a contract. We want a fair contract now” Thompson said.

If there was a strike, the district may have to cancel school, forcing parents to find sitters for the elementary students. Or they might try and keep schools open, gathering as may substitutes and any other abled bodied administrators in the classes.

At presstime, the district did not return Lincolnians request for comment.