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Shawn Raymundo, Dana Point Times

Contract negotiations between the teachers union and the Capistrano Unified School District (CUSD) for the 2019-2020 school year are slated to begin in the coming weeks.

The CUSD Board of Trustees on Thursday, April 25, voted to adopt the Capistrano Unified Education Association’s (CUEA) initial proposal, which outlines the areas of a collective bargaining agreement the union wishes to amend and address during the negotiations.

“One of the principal driving themes this year is to provide our teachers, our nurses, our counselors, our speech pathologists and psychologists with enough staffing and resources to carry out their important duties,” Greg Young, CUEA marketing chair and a San Clemente High science teacher, told the trustees.

Among the amendments the CUEA is requesting to add to the agreement is one for compensation increases to “offer competitive wages” and another to increase health and welfare benefit compensation.

According to CUEA’s initial proposal submitted to the district on March 29, the union is also looking to address the agreement’s section on Hours of Employments, specifically asking CUSD to “provide more time in (the) workday to prepare” for such things as curricula, grading, parent-teacher conferences and report cards.

In the section of the agreement on class size, CUEA is proposing that CUSD “provide additional assistance (and) support to members for students with disruptive/violent behaviors,” as well as to “decrease class size (and) caseloads.”

On March 29, the district also submitted an initial proposal to CUEA, stating that it, too, would like to address the Wages and the Health and Welfare Benefits sections of the agreement.

CUSD also said it wanted to address the Hours of Employment section to “provide greater impact of time in relation to student achievement,” in addition to the section on Evaluations to “reflect current school calendar dates in relation to evaluation timelines.”

“The District looks forward to constructive and collaborative negotiations with the Association,” stated CUSD’s initial proposal, which was signed by Associate Superintendent of Human Resource Services Tim Brooks.

Young also told the trustees that members of CUEA and a team from CUSD recently met to determine a set of dates for negotiations, two of which will be before the end of the current school year and two more during the summer.

“I think it shows that we also feel, as you do, that we’d like to reach a reasonable conclusion quite quickly,” Young said.

According to the CUEA, the first two negotiation days are scheduled for May 16 and May 31. The summer dates have not yet been determined.

“While both the CUEA and the district have a number of issues to discuss, our team is optimistic that we should be able to reach a mutual agreement in a reasonable amount of time,” Young said.

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