I’m still trying to clear up the conflicting accounts of what the teachers union proposed on the golden handshake. Several sources and a November bargaining update from the school district suggested that the teachers union wanted the bonus to be for teachers only — a suggestion that the teachers union fervently denies.

“We never said not to do a [golden handshake] for other people,” said union President Camille Zombro, who said the November update was misleading.

I have a document to go on now. (We reporters love documents.) Unfortunately it doesn’t clear up the confusion much. The written proposal provided by the San Diego Education Association asks for a golden handshake just like the last one, “except that it is limited to the SDEA bargaining unit.” Check out this copy complete with Zombro’s note.

“Limited” sure sounds like “just for teachers,” but Zombro said again that the proposal had been misinterpreted and that no matter what the written proposal said, the union had made it clear that it wasn’t elbowing other unions out of a golden handshake — it had merely asked for a study to be done specifically on the potential savings for teachers.

“It probably wasn’t as well written as it could have been,” she said, “but the notes were very clear” at the bargaining table.

School board member John de Beck, who originally described the plan as teachers only, stands by his statement based on secondhand information and didn’t name his sources. Superintendent Terry Grier declined to comment on anything that had occurred during bargaining. Which leaves me pretty much back where I started: de Beck and Zombro disagreeing with each other and San Diego Unified staying mum — mostly — on the union talks.


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