Orange County schools lose out on $30M after union, district can't come to terms

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Orange County public school students are losing out on $30 million worth of educational support.

Channel 9's Lori Brown learned the district missed a chance to get millions in federal grant money because of a fight with the teachers union.

The president of the Orange County Classroom Teachers Association said she refused to put her signature on a document necessary to receive the grant money because the grant would have required more work for teachers, without guaranteeing more pay. The district said that's not the case.

Orange County public schools officials prepared an application to get the $30 million federal grant in a program called Race to the Top.

According to school system officials, the funds would have gone to provide science summer camp for middle school students, student devices and additional Exceptional Student Education coordinators and behavior specialists.

But Race to the Top officials never opened the district's application because one of three required signatures was missing -- that of Diana Moore, president of the Classroom Teachers Association.

"Part of the program was that teachers were going to have to take some professional development outside their day," said Moore. "We simply asked if that's the case, we'd like to talk about having teachers be paid for that professional development."

In exchange for her signature, Moore said she wanted the district's signature on a document of her own, a memorandum guaranteeing teachers be paid $25 and $30 an hour for professional development.

An Orange County Public Schools negotiator said the district could not sign a document like that until it knew how much it would be awarded from Race to the Top.

This isn't the only issue the district and teacher's union can't agree on.

Thirteen-thousand teachers are still waiting for their raises the state funded this year. The district and union remain at an impasse over tying teacher raises to performance.