Parlier teachers may go on strike if negotiations fail


Parlier school teachers say they've been trying to negotiate a new contract with the school district since June of last year. They may soon resort to more drastic methods, but both sides say if they don't compromise students will suffer.

In about four weeks, more than 150 teachers in the Parlier Unified School District could leave their classroom and walk the picket lines.

"We put a negotiation point on the table and they say no, they are not willing to counter any offer. We are just hearing no, no," said Alex Balmanno with Parlier High School.

Balmanno teaches world history at Parlier High School. He may soon go on strike over what he calls failed negotiations with the school district.

Parlier teachers say they have not had a raise since 2008. And now the school board is asking them to take five furlough days a year which faculty members say could hurt their paychecks and the grades of students in program improvement.

"Currently we have two schools which are in P.I., which is Program Improvement, because they are seen in the state as not improving fast enough," said Balmanno.

But School Board President Rick Maldonado says the district is facing a million dollar budget deficit. "Right now everybody is throwing furlough days whether it be schools cities or county. And that's just an option. I cannot comment on that because that is something that has to go through the process of negotiations."

If both sides can't agree teachers say they plan to strike in about a month. "We need to send a message to the district that we are serious about the students needs and unfortunately sometimes the action is not what you would prefer but they need to understand we are serious," said Balmanno.

School board members say if teachers do go on strike, substitute teachers will be called in until a compromise is met. A board meeting is scheduled on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at the Parlier School District Office. The public is invited to attend.

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