San Juan Capistrano - Mission Viejo

Teacher’s Union Stalls Negotiations, Attempts to 
Buy Candidates in School Board Race

By Ellen Addonizio and Jim Reardon

The Capistrano Unified School District (CUSD) started this school year without a teacher’s union contract, and no negotiations are underway. Meanwhile, the union has paid for the election campaigns of three candidates who, if elected, will secure a school board majority favorable to the union. We believe the refusal to negotiate and the election spending are connected.

The school board opened negotiations with the union on March 12 of this year. The union formally responded on April 23. Since that time, there has been no negotiation and none is planned. The schools have been operating since July 1 without a contract with the teachers.

Salaries and benefits are 90 percent of the cost to operate schools. Three unions and a management association represent CUSD employees. The teacher’s union is by far the largest group, comprised of 2,100 classroom teachers and others. With 63 campuses, CUSD is the largest employer in south Orange County.

We believe the teacher’s union does not want a contract before the school board election on November 4, in order to advance a political agenda. Instead of negotiating as they committed to do in April, the union has stalled and amassed a political war chest of about $150,000 that is being spent to finance three school board candidates. The union, Capistrano Unified Education Association (CUEA), and its affiliated Political Action Committee, CUEA “HOPE”, are spending heavily to support the candidacy of Lynn Hatton in Mission Viejo, along with newcomers Gila Jones in San Juan Capistrano, and Martha McNicholas in Laguna Niguel.

Presumably, all this political spending is intended to secure favorable terms at the bargaining table. How else can you explain the silence from the union at a time when teachers are working with no contract?

Ellen Addonizio was first elected to serve on the CUSD Board of Trustees in 2006, was re-elected in 2010 and is running for re-election in 2014. She serves Area 6, which covers portions of Mission Viejo, Laguna Niguel and San Juan Capistrano.

Jim Reardon was elected to the CUSD Board of Trustees in 2012, and serves Area 2 which covers portions of San Juan Capistrano, Mission Viejo, Ladera Ranch and Las Flores.

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