SANTA MARIA - More than 300 teachers, faculty and staff in the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District are negotiating through their California Teachers Association union with the school district for a new two year contract.
"The goal is to come out with a collective bargaining agreement that is acceptable to the District, the Trustees and to the district employees", says Carl Lange, contract negotiator for the SMJUHSD.
The faculty union says one of the key sticking points in the new contract talks is the district's request to dissolve a long held practice of keeping the student-teacher ratio in the classroom at 28-1.
"A class of 28-30, may come into a class with 33 or 35, the negative there would be the teacher would not be able to spend as much time with the student", says faculty union spokesperson Mark Goodman, "the call back times to folks and parents would be less, grading papers would be a little bit more difficult, that small personal touch would start to diminish.
The faculty union says its also seeking a wage increase for its members for the first time in more than five years.
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