SANTA MARIA, Calif. - The California Teachers Union represents about 350 teachers that interact with more than 7,000 students at four Santa Maria Joint Union High School District campuses.
The teachers have been seeking a new two year employment agreement since last year.
A spokesperson for the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District says the current offer on the table includes a 4% "ongoing" pay raise, a one-time-only bonus of 3%, one-time bonus, a District pledge to reduce class sizes, hire 15-20 new teachers, accommodate year round teaching and bonuses for teaching extra periods
The consultant hired to represent the District at the contract talks tells Central Coast News he's been instructed to get a deal as soon as possible.
The District spokesperson says the current contract offer puts Santa Maria High School teachers on par or above several neighboring high school districts in terms of overall pay and benefits.
A teachers union spokesperson told Central Coast News Wednesday night a key sticking point remains increasing premiums for medical benefits and having to pay out of pocket for supplies and other teaching aids.
"Every year since 2007 we've taken a pay cut because of the increase cost of the medical premiums and the out of pocket expenses", high school teacher Carol Moir said, "the district has contributed no new money to that."
The Teachers Union says the contract dispute has cast a pall over what the Union says was a harmonious relationship with the District and the District Board.
Future contract talks between both sides have been scheduled.