Fortuna Teachers Protest
Fortuna Union School District teachers demonstrated in front of Fortuna Middle School this morning, frustrated at the progress of ongoing negotiations with the school district.
Newchannel 3’s Cameron Cramer has more…
A Fortuna student walks by teachers; curious as to why they're out on the street, not in the classroom. The teachers are demonstrating after two years of failed negotiating with the district came to a head.
"We have note been able to come to an agreement with them over this issue." Said teacher Laurel Milan
That issue hinges on health and welfare benefits, along with early retirement incentives, which the teachers had in previous contracts...
"What we're trying to do is give them the opportunity to retire and still get some benefit, we've looked back in our contracts for 25 years." Said teacher Jack West
The problem, the district says, is that times are tougher now then they've been in the past 25 years.
"We offered a one time ten thousand dollar last year-- that was rejected. And right now with the budget the way it is, there is no money. Said Fortuna School District Superintendent Patti Hafner.
But after two years of negotiating, the teachers thought it was time to make their case public...
"We just want a fair negotiation, and we need parent support to help us with that." Said Milan
But the district says that the latest proposals would impact the budget severely...
“The last offer was fifteen thousand for one year and for the district to pay health and welfare. That comes to about 49 thousand dollars, which is basically a teacher’s salary.” Said Hafner
Both parties agree that the negotiations shouldn't impact the students.
"We have a great group of people, we have great kids, and we want to work together to come up with a solution." Said West
“We still have music, we still have computers, we still have libraries, we still have relatively low class sizes...but it all comes down to the bottom dollar.” Said Hafner.