The McKinleyville Teacher's Association and the McKinleyville Union School District signed documents Friday to officially declare an impasse in their 2013-2014 contract negotiations.

”We came to a point where we were disagreeing with each other; there wasn't any movement any longer,” association President Mike Meng said.

The association began negotiating with the district in February on a contract that expired July 1.

”We just have not been able to resolve this difference in what's been brought to the table, as far as our proposals,” Superintendent Michael Davies-Hughes said.

The association will hold an informational picket on Central Avenue in front of McKinleyville Middle School on Tuesday.

Teachers are asking for one of two options: a 5 percent salary increase to the 2013-2014 salary schedule that's retroactive to July 1, or a 3 percent raise if the health and welfare contribution cap increases from $11,000 to $12,750. The association also is asking for two more discretionary days off.

”The rationale is we haven't received any cost of living raise in five years; we're into the sixth year now,” Meng said. “There were a lot of budget cuts to the state. We tried to be considerate to the district because we knew they had their budget cut by the state, so we didn't ask for anything for five years. Now that funding has returned to the district, we're asking for a raise.”

Meng added that the association looked at inflation during that period, which was a little over 9 percent, and believed 5 percent was a reasonable request.

At the end of last year, the district had a $200,000 carryover, plus an additional $387,000 of ongoing revenue from California's new school funding formula, business director Jeff Brock said. The district's total budget is about $9 million.

But with the opportunity class for students struggling in traditional middle school programs being restored this year, and additional staffing and operating expenditures, the district is still operating with a deficit, Brock added.

”Without any negotiation settlement at all, this year we're spending $42,000 more than we're receiving,” he said. “The next couple of years, we're budgeting for it to go up to $100,000. That's without any salary increases.”

The district is proposing two different options.

The first is a 2 percent increase on the 2013-2014 salary schedule that's retroactive to July 1, and an additional 0.5 percent one-time raise that's also retroactive to the beginning of the fiscal year. The district would also fully cover the increase in health care costs from the 2012-2013 rate.

The second option is a 2 percent increase to the salary schedule, and an additional 1.5 percent one-time increase for 2013-2014. Both would be retroactive to July 1.

”We have the funds for many things, but we don't have the funds for everything, and we have to be responsible with the funds that we have,” Davies-Hughes said.

Now that impasse has been declared, a public relations board will assign a third-party mediator to come in to try to bring both sides closer together.

”We're hoping we get some movement from the district, that they decide to break impasse and come back with another offer,” Meng said.

If an agreement is not reached through mediation, the association and district will enter a fact-finding stage. Under this stage, a different third party will look at the district's budget and expenditures and make recommendations, which the district is not obligated to carry out, Davies-Hughes said.

At that point, the district or association can look at changing their standpoint, or the district can give its last best and final offer.

The association would then have the ability to strike.

”I'm certainly hoping that we can work toward an agreement, and that is certainly our desire,” Davies-Hughes said.

The two groups hope to meet again in January or February. 

If you go:

What: McKinleyville Teacher's Association informational picket

When: 3:30 p.m., Tuesday

Where: McKinleyville Middle School, located at 2285 Central Ave.

Lorna Rodriguez can be reached at 441-0506 or lrodriguez@times-standard.com. Follow her on Twitter @LornaARodriguez.