Del Mar Union School District approves teacher agreement

By Karen Billing

The Del Mar Union School District and the Del Mar California Teaches Association (DMCTA) were able to reach a tentative collective bargaining agreement, which maintains all that is in the current memorandum of understanding (MOU) that was agreed to last year. The agreement also includes a 2 percent increase to the salary schedule and was approved by the board at its April 23 meeting.

In April 2013, the teachers reached the one-year MOU that resulted in $1 million in budget solutions that included increasing class sizes from 20:1 to 22:1 in grades kindergarten through third, with the flexibility to go up to the state’s maximum of 24 in K-3 and 29 in grades 4-6.

The tentative agreement identifies class sizes of 22 in kindergarten through third grade and 27 in fourth through sixth grades, which saves the district almost $1 million. It also eliminates compensatory days, conference days and stipends for oversize classes.

“The district is committed to low class sizes of 22 and 27 but needed to maintain a class size of 22 in K-3 to continue to realize the $1 million annual savings,” said district superintendent Holly McClurg. “We have very few classes this year over 22 and only one class at 29 students, and we have no intention of increasing class sizes beyond what we have done this year with the MOU.”

As reported at the March board meeting, since the MOU was approved last year, 108 kindergarten through third grade classes in the district remained at 17-22 students a class, with eight at 23 students and one class with 24 students.

At the fourth through sixth grade level, there are 56 classes at 19-27 students, 17 at 28:1 and one class with 29 students.

Gina Vargus, co-president of the DMCTA, said they are thrilled that the tentative agreement was reached and that the majority of teachers supported it.

At the meeting, the board approved the $632,362 increase in costs associated with the collective bargaining agreement — they are required by Assembly Bill 1200 to bring any changes to the budget before the board for approval

The total reflects an increase of $436,000 to certificated salaries; a $124,800 increase to classified salaries; and a $71,962 increase to labor cost.

Parent Jen Charat expressed her support for the agreement, noting she believes it’s the right thing to do for teachers, students and the district as a whole.

“I think other parents support it,” said Charat, who was the only speaker on the item.