ALAMEDA -- Teachers and representatives of the Alameda Unified School District will return to the bargaining table Friday, just two weeks after teachers announced an impasse in the talks.
The talks stalled after district officials said they had offered teachers an ongoing 2 percent raise and the Alameda Education Association said it countered with a proposal for a 4.5 percent raise over two years.
"We are ready to go back to the table and bargain back and forth," Superintendent Kirsten Vital said.
Laura Davis, a senior regional attorney with the Public Employee Relations Board, notified the district in a Monday letter that the association was withdrawing its request for an impasse determination. The letter offered no other details, and a union representative was not immediately available for comment.
Along with an ongoing 2 percent raise, district officials said they offered a proposal that would financially reward teachers who participate in a pilot program aimed at boosting student achievement.
The voluntary program, which would work to close the achievement gap among white students and some minority students, is called "Professional Learning Communities." It would feature teachers, administrators and others working together to determine what brings the best results in the classroom.
The teachers' union said the $1.1 million cost to "incentive" the program would roughly equal the amount of the 2.2 percent raise it
The association represents 524 teachers who have been without a contract since June. District officials say they are facing a potential one-time loss of up to $13.6 million in the event that opponents of Measure H -- the parcel tax that voters passed in 2008 to benefit local schools -- are successful in their legal challenge to invalidate the tax. They also note their contract proposal was made against a backdrop of ongoing uncertainty in state funding for public schools.
But the union points to California voters passing Proposition 30 in November, which is projected to raise an average of $6 billion annually for the state's general fund and to help prevent cuts to education. The proposition raises the state's sales tax for four years and increases income taxes for people who make at least $250,000 for seven years.
Reach Peter Hegarty at 510-748-1654 or follow him on Twitter.com/Peter_Hegarty.