OC teachers, school reach tentative agreement

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, Calif. The Capistrano Unified School District and California Unified Education Association came to terms about 11:30 p.m. Monday after more than 32 hours of closed-door negotiations over the past five days.

"We are really, really happy for our teachers and our schools, to have our family back together again," school board President Anna Bryson told the Orange County Register. "It's a really wonderful feeling to know our kids will have their teachers."

The tentative agreement restores salary and furlough days as revenues increase and reopens bargaining in the 2011-2012 school year, said Bill Guy, a spokesman for the parent union California Teachers Association.

"It is the courage and determination of CUEA members on the picket lines and the thousands of supportive district parents and community members that resulted in the tentative contract agreement with the CUSD Board of Education," said California Unified Education Association president Vicki Soderberg.

More than 2,000 teachers walked off the job Thursday after the district slashed salaries to help close a $34 million budget shortfall.

Negotiations continued over how long a 10.1 percent pay cut will last.

Teachers said they did not oppose the pay cut but wanted it to expire by June 30, 2011.

About a third of the district's 52,000 students attended classes - compared to the usual 96 percent - Monday, district officials said. Classes at its 56 schools were largely staffed by 600 substitute teachers.

The strike could cause the district to lose some state funding based on student attendance, but the amount has not been calculated, schools spokeswoman Julie Hatchel said.

CUEA members will meet Tuesday afternoon to learn the details of the tentative agreement and to vote on recommending it to the CUEA's Rep Council. The council will vote Wednesday on sending it to the general membership for a possible ratification vote.

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