Teachers Face off in Ugly Pay Dispute

Some call it ugly, others prefer to call it spirited.  A discussion over a proposal to have teachers take a pay cut  in order to save their colleagues'  jobs has a lot of people talking.

Under the proposal, teachers would lose 2.7 percent in pay, saving $3.2 million that would help save more than 100 of the 245 positions in jeopardy. Teachers would lose five staff development days, which they would not work and for which they would not be paid.

"Staff development is something you can do without in a crisis for a few years, not good, but of the other choices, I think it's the best one, " President of the Poway Federation, Marc Houle said.

The idea has resulted in a series of e-mails from frustrated teachers who could lose their jobs and teachers who don't think accepting a pay cut is a good idea for any teacher.

We were not able to talk to teachers who voted no, but we were told they believe accepting the cut sends the wrong message to the state, that public education does not have to be funded.  They also worry they won't get the pay back when the economy turns around.

Veteran teacher Michele Wilson-Manos says she voted yes "because I believe it's the best thing for the district at this time."  She added she looks at people in her community, many of whom are losing their jobs, and says " I know I'm going to have a job next year, and I'm willing to sacrifice to earn a little less money because I believe that's where we're at in our economy right now."

The Poway federation hopes to have the vote certified Wednesday.

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