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Teacher Salaries A Hot Issue At School Board Meeting

Contract negotiations is one controversial subject on the minds of hundreds of teachers in the Beverly Hills Unified School District, who are said to be working with out a pay increase for two years, according to Chris Bushee, president of Beverly Hills Education Association.
At Tuesday’s school board meeting, Bushee urged board members to reach an agreement on a new salary and benefits package as quickly as possible.
He demanded the attention of the board by having them look at his thumb and index finger, with minimal space between the two.
“We are this close. We are this close to an agreement,” said Bushee.
“Happy people make better employees. The more you have to worry about making your mortgage payment, the less focused you will be on your job,” said Bushee. He added that some teachers are working part-time jobs to cover their expenses, while other teachers are leaving the district in search of better salaries and more affordable neighborhoods.
Bushee, who mentioned that salaries in some California school districts top the $100,000 mark, said, “Our top end barely breaks $80,000.”
During the open communication portion of the meeting, Board President Dr. Myra Demeter responded to Bushee’s statements, disagreeing with what he said about teachers making the same salary since July 2006.
“Teachers work on step and column (salary), unless they are tenured. They enter into a new salary system every year,” said Demeter.
Bushee said, “Teachers deserve to work an environment where the primary focus can be on innovative, ever-expanding teaching techniques and not on how to make ends meet for their families.”
In a phone interview Thurs-day, Assistant Superintendent Sal Gumina told The Courier that a tentative agreement for a total compensation package was reached with BHEA certificated and OTBS (Office, Technical and Business Service) units. Once details are worked out, Gumina said it will be presented to the board for approval as early as Sept. 9.
Generous Gift
A wonderful way to start the school year is by receiving a check for more than half a million dollars.  The Beverly Hills Educa-tion Foundation handed over a $600,000 donation during the board meeting. 
“We provide groundwork for our shared vision to ensure every classroom in this district has digital technology for teachers and students, which they need and require so desperately,” said BHEF CEO Dev Henkin. BHEF raised the money during their annual Apple Ball charity event.

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