California teachers' strike continues for second day

10:53, April 24, 2010      

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Teachers from 56 schools in Orange County, Southern California continued their strike for a second day on Friday to protest a 10.1 percent pay cut.

The strike led to a less than 50 percent reduction of attendance across elementary, middle and high schools in the Capistrano Unified School District, authorities said.

However, all schools remained open and about 600 substitute teachers were hired to fill the vacancies.

Twelve percent of the district's teachers crossed picket lines, district spokeswoman Julie Hatchel said.

The Capistrano Unified Education Association, which organized the strike, has about 2,200 teachers as members. It has agreed to the pay cuts -- but only if their pay is restored on June 30, 2011.

School board members last month cut off negotiations and unilaterally implemented the salary cuts.

Union and district negotiators talked last afternoon and night, but no progress was reported, and the two sides are to meet again later Friday.

The district instituted the pay cut to save about 19.9 million dollars, but the move did not close a 34-million-dollar budget gap.

School administrators took a 10 percent pay cut last year, but because that affects only about 150 people, more cuts need to be made to balance the budget, school board President Anna Bryson said.

Reduced revenue from the state and poor financial planning left the school board with little choice but to impose the salary reductions, he said.

The strike is the first by educators in Orange County in a decade. Teachers in the district last struck in 1974, the Orange County Register reported.

Source: Xinhua


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