La Habra Superintendent Refuses to Move Forward, Shattering Hope of Ending Teachers’ Strike Sunday

Picketing will continue at all nine school sites into fourth day 

LA HABRA – Any hope of ending the strike by La Habra’s teachers on Sunday was shattered when La Habra School Superintendent Susan Belenardo refused to move forward on a settlement recommended by experts advising the board’s and the union’s negotiators and agreeable to the LHEA bargaining team. La Habra teachers will hit the picket lines again Monday morning, beginning at 7:30 a.m., the fourth day of the strike.

La Habra Strike - Day 1

This marks the second time in three months that the district has failed to follow advice from outside experts requested by the district. Since October, the school board has failed to implement the recommendations contained in a report from a neutral fact-finder assigned by the state to help the parties reach a contract settlement, after making repeated public promises to do so.

“La Habra’s students will not receive a quality standards-based education for yet a fourth day,” said LHEA President Danette Brown. “The teachers will be on picket lines bright and early Monday morning after the La Habra City School District administration spent Sunday engaged in stalling tactics rather than negotiating. While the LHEA bargaining team met at the teachers’ association office to consider recommendations from financial experts representing both sides, the school district’s negotiators remained unavailable Sunday afternoon and evening.

At the December 9th school board meeting last Thursday, newly-seated board member Sandi Baltes asked that both sides in the dispute bring in outside experts representing both sides t0 find common ground for a settlement. Financial and negotiations analysts representing the California School Services Administration and the California Teachers Association met Friday and continued discussions over the weekend in order to achieve a fiscally responsible settlement that also addressed the teacher’s issues.

“LHEA’s team found the experts’ solution acceptable, so we’re disappointed and frustrated that once again, the district has balked at accepting the recommendations of a process they set in motion,” said Brown. “The teachers want to return to the classroom, but we’re hitting the picket lines instead, determined to achieve a fair contract settlement.”

“The school board members elected to represent the La Habra community have the responsibility and the authority to direct Superintendent Belenardo to reach a reasonable and responsible agreement based on the experts’ recommended settlement,” said Brown.  Parents can call school board members at the following numbers: Susan Hango, 562-697-4890;   Sharon Brown, 714-272-7456; Sandi Baltes,  310-560-5271;  Paul Rodriguez, 562-244-0583; and Linda Navarro Edwards, 562-694-2542. “Tell them to end the strike and settle with the teachers immediately, using the recommendations from the experts they requested.”

The 225 members of the La Habra Education Association are affiliated with the 325,000-member California Teachers Association and the 3.2 million-member National Education Association.