By Maureen Robertson
A fact-finding report many had hoped would resolve differences between Ramona teachers and the school district hasn’t.
The report, scheduled to be released to the public at the trustees’ meeting Tuesday, April 16, has been on the Ramona Teachers Association website since last week. Also on the RTA website at ramonateachers.com is a dissenting report from the California Teachers Association member representing RTA on the fact-finding panel.
Teachers planned to rally in front of district offices before the Tuesday school board meeting after negotiations on Monday failed.
“The chairperson of the fact finding panel looking into the financial condition of the Ramona Unified School District has reported the district’s ability to continue to pay salaries, health and welfare benefits of teachers and other district employees is ‘not sustainable,’” Superintendent Robert Graeff said.
The district and teachers union participated in a fact-finding hearing overseen by the state Public Employment Relations Board in late February after about 18 months of negotiations failed. Salaries and benefits are at the heart of the controversy.
Both sides presented their positions to the three-member panel comprised of a district representative, an RTA representative, and an impartial chair. After reviewing the information, the chair, Bonnie Castrey, wrote the report.
In her report, Castrey states, “the chair concludes that the district meets its heavy burden of proof and does have an inability to continue to pay personnel costs including salaries and benefits at the current levels.”