CONCORD -- Hundreds of teachers rallied before the Mt. Diablo school board meeting Wednesday, seeking raises and increased benefits contributions.

During the meeting, several pleaded for a 7 percent pay hike and full payment of Kaiser medical benefits at the single rate. The district and teachers' union declared an impasse after the district offered a 3 percent raise and smaller benefits contribution.

But Deb Cooksey, an attorney for the district, said she later made a formal offer that upped the district's offer to include a 2 percent one-time payment that would include 1.4 percent cash and 0.6 percent that would be distributed to boost benefits for the 811 teachers who currently receive about $330 a month toward medical plans.

Cooksey said the union turned down that offer, without putting it to its membership for a vote.

"This is the first time in years that the district has money to actually give, and the question is how they're going to prioritize it," Cooksey said.

She stressed that employees in other unions are also hurting. Later, however, some teachers considered these discussions off the record.

The board approved a contract with the clerical, secretarial and technical union that included a 3 percent raise plus a one-time 2 percent bonus. But representative Debbie Hickey said her union would also like to restore hours to employees that were previously cut.

Also during the meeting, Superintendent Nellie Meyer announced that she has appointed Cindy Matteoni as principal of Woodside Elementary. The board unanimously appointed Brent Brinkerhoff as principal of Mountain View Elementary, where Matteoni previously worked as principal. The board also appointed Erin Fairholm as a program specialist at Rio Vista Elementary and Sankaran Iyer as a program specialist at Bel Air Elementary.

In addition, the board unanimously approved a controversial aquatic center at Northgate High in Walnut Creek that will include a 25-yard-by-40-meter swimming pool, a sports medicine classroom and lab and restroom building, to be funded largely with voter-approved construction bond funds. Trustee Linda Mayo asked that the board be updated in the future about whether the Northgate Pride Foundation, which was a strong advocate for the aquatic center, would assume some of the cost for the facility.

Trustees also discussed policies regarding social media and email but decided to postpone a vote on revisions until December after questions were raised about privacy and how long the district retains electronic documents.

Theresa Harrington covers education. Contact her at 925-945-4764. Follow her at Twitter.com/tunedtotheresa.

MORE INFORMATION
Additional details about the meeting are available by calling 925-682-8000 or by visiting http://esbpublic.mdusd.k12.ca.us. Click on Nov. 13.
To see a slideshow of photos from the rally, video clips from the meeting and a database comparing the district and teachers' union contract proposals, visit www.contracostatimes.com/education.