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Teacher strike looming in San Miguel?

San Miguel teachers could strike in the fall after negotiations Friday with the San Miguel Joint Union School District’s board resulted in five furlough days in the 2011-12 school year.

“The law provides that this is the teachers’ last recourse, and that remains open,” said Terry Welborn, a San Miguel teachers union consultant with the California Teachers Association.

The union on Wednesday rejected a tentative agreement with the district proposing the furloughs and other cuts.

In a statement dated Thursday, Superintendent Curt Dubost said he was disappointed the teachers didn’t ratify the tentative agreement.

The school board then met Friday to determine its next steps.

“The district takes no joy in seeking to implement unpaid furlough days,” Dubost wrote. “We believe, however, that these steps are needed to preserve the viability of the district now and into the future.”

One issue is the district’s state designation as an underperforming school for the fourth straight year.

That requires the district to “embark on costly reform including adding minutes for intervention to the student school day within the teacher contractual school day,” he wrote.

For a teacher, that means replacing workday time that would be used to grade papers and plan lessons with added student-teacher interaction time.

The district had earlier eliminated three professional development days for the 2010-11 academic year, cutting about $1,000 in compensation.

“Our teachers have, we agree, been asked to work more and are being paid less,” Dubost wrote, noting those teachers deserve more money after the fiscal crisis is over and the district is out of underperformance.

The district is facing a roughly $200,000 deficit in its proposed $4.7 million general fund budget for the 2011-12 school year.

That’s on top of about $1.1 million in cuts over the past three years, according to the district. It currently has 32.5 full-time teaching positions, which translates into about 35 people.

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