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Teachers in Calif. District Strike for 2nd Time in Year

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Less than a year after teachers in the Hayward, Calif., schools staged a two-day strike, union members again are walking the picket lines over a longstanding dispute involving pay, class size, and layoffs.

Teachers in the San Francisco Bay-area district walked out last week as classes were scheduled to begin. The district hired replacement workers but reported that fewer than half of its 20,000 students attended school for most of the week.

The strike was the only one last week in a large school system. Teachers in the suburban districts of Ann Arbor, Mich., and Federal Way, Wash.--which enroll 15,000 to 20,000 students--ended their walkouts. (See Education Week, Sept. 14, 1994.)

But teachers in some Roman Catholic schools in New Jersey began picketing last week.

About 200 members of a South Jersey group representing Catholic-school teachers went on strike at eight high schools run by the Camden diocese.

The teachers' organization, made up largely of lay people, was angered over church officials' attempts to adopt a contract requiring teachers to adhere to some unspecified policies of the diocese without appeal, according to Bill Blumenstein, the president of the Catholic teachers' group.

Elsewhere, walkouts were continuing for a second and third week in four districts in Pennsylvania and Washington State. Earlier strikes in Michigan, Ohio, and Illinois were settled last week, according to the National Education Association, which monitors strikes.

Hayward Cites Budget Woes

Dayton Crummey, the president of the Hayward Education Association, said the union rank and file in the California district was striking over layoffs and overcrowding in elementary schools--issues that have lingered since the 1992-93 school year and caused the strike last year. The union is also pushing for salary hikes, in part because of the area's high cost of living.

The district, however, has urged caution after its financial woes.

"There's been a lot of budget problems here," said Larry Lepore, the director of maintenance and operations for the district. "And everyone has obviously been hurt."

He said school officials were waiting to resume meetings with a state-appointed mediator to discuss a three-year contract with teachers.

Meanwhile, the district's attendance level hovered near 40 percent at the middle of last week.

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