PICO RIVERA – The El Rancho Unified School District is now the second local public school district to declare an impasse in contract talks with its teachers, officials said Thursday. Teachers say the district has refused to present a counter-offer to their proposed new three-year contract. The proposal would guarantee that teachers receive cost-of-living (COLA) raises in each of its three years. Superintendent Norbert Genis said the district cannot support any proposal that includes guaranteed raises for three consecutive years; its financial outlook is too uncertain for that. “Our position is that we cannot guarantee anything for three years,” he said. “Yes, there are publicized COLAs scheduled for the next several years. But at this point, we don’t know if they will be deficited or changed from year to year. For that reason, we can’t really commit to that for three years.” Marsha Hall, president of the El Rancho Federation of Teachers, which represents 550 of the district’s teachers, said management so far has “refused to bargain.” “We never got a counter-proposal for the three-year COLA guarantee. We were willing to go off of that and maybe come up with something else,” she said. “But they’re very hostile and arrogant. We’re basically bargaining with ourselves.” Genis said district officials continue to await the governor’s May budget revision for the 2007-08 fiscal year, which will give them a better idea where the district stands, financially. “Our trigger is the May revise,” he said. “We want to see exactly what we can expect to receive from the state, so we can look at how to augment our salaries.” He said the district’s goal is to give teachers cost-of-living raises this year, then offer them more in subsequent years, if possible. “But we’re at the point with teachers where we can no longer reach agreement because we cannot guarantee the COLA for three years,” he added. Hall said the teachers’ union will file for impasse with the Public Employee Relations Board soon. The district plans to do so today. That move will mean a state-appointed mediator will be assigned to help spur along the contract talks. In the meantime, Hall said, “we’ll keep pummeling them.” “We’ll be at board meetings and handing out leaflets at schools’ open houses and parent conferences,” she added. “They’ve made a big mistake. This has angered so many people.” [email protected] (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3051 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!