District refuses to negotiate, La Habra teachers will litigate and return to classrooms Thursday

LA HABRA – Negotiations between the La Habra Education Association and the La Habra school district that began Tuesday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. broke down Tuesday night after the district rejected the framework recommended by financial experts representing both parties, instead offering punitive proposals unacceptable to the teachers. “The district has demonstrated without question that despite promises and pronouncements, they will not negotiate fairly with La Habra’s teachers,” said LHEA President Danette Brown. “But in doing so, they have committed numerous grievances LHEA can litigate, and we are already in the process of doing so.”

“It was soon apparent after this afternoon’s meeting started, that the district’s team had no intention of settling a contract based on the framework recommended by the financial experts,” said Brown. “Even so, LHEA’s bargaining team endured an almost eight-hour charade of repeated rejections and insulting, callous counter-proposals from the district before talks broke off.”

La Habra Strike - Day 1

Instead of accepting the experts’ recommendation of standard, acceptable restoration language, common in negotiated agreements throughout the state, the district continued to insist on punitive language that would result in additional, permanent cuts for the teachers. “The district’s bad faith bargaining today is yet one more breach of public trust, after leading teachers, parents and the community to believe they would honor the recommendations of the financial experts they had suggested to help craft a mutual compromise.”

The four-day strike is over and teachers will return to their classrooms on Thursday. Even though they reported for duty Tuesday and are willing to work Wednesday, the district has instead chosen to waste an additional $50,000 in unnecessary substitute pay – adding yet one more fallacy to the spurious claim that their actions against La Habra’s teachers are substantiated by fiscal necessity.

LHEA called off their strike and reported for duty in their classrooms Tuesday in a gesture of good faith, believing the district would reciprocate. Instead, the district  “slammed the door” in teachers’ faces – first, by locking them out of their classrooms all day Tuesday, and then by presenting proposals in today’s marathon bargaining session not even close to the framework their financial analyst had recommended last night as one he believed the district would accept today as the basis for a settlement.

La Habra’s teachers return to their classrooms knowing that they took the high ground, maintaining their integrity and dignity throughout the protracted, difficult ordeal. In addition, they do so confident that LHEA is already in the process of seeking relief in court by every possible legal strategy for numerous grievances against the district. “We had hoped to succeed by negotiation, but now we will seek redress through litigation,” said Brown.