Pastrano said that in the 15 years he has been working for the district, he has never seen this quick of a settlement. “We have a new superintendent and he’s taking the district in a new direction. Settling on money issues early is a big plus for all employees,” Pastrano said. Gillentine said his desire “was not to have the back-and- forth, if I could help it.” Officials say they would like to send union representatives, administrators and board members to training in so-called “interest-based” bargaining, which is less adversarial than the current negotiating process. “I don’t know if we can get much smoother than this year, but it seems to be a better process than in the past, and there are a number of districts that are doing it very successfully,” Pigott said. [email protected] (562) 698-0955 Ext. 3051160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESurfer attacked by shark near Channel Islands calls rescue a ‘Christmas miracle’East Whittier Education Association President Madeline Shapiro said teachers’ medical benefits remained the same, and teachers also received another “longevity step” on the salary schedule for those who have worked longer than 30 years. Ivan Pastrano, president of the Classified School Employees Association Chapter 87, said the district also agreed to pick up the increased cost of medical benefits for full-time classified workers. “We’re thrilled, of course,” school board President Alison Pigott said. “I think we’ve come to a place in our history where everyone is trying to be as clear and open as we can. And it’s working.” Representatives for the EWEA and the CSEA say the speedy negotiations were due in large part to the communicative skills of new Superintendent Joe Gillentine. “To me, it seems like he has a lot of integrity and is very straightforward about things,” Shapiro said. “He came to the bargaining session himself. He said, `This is what I’ve got.’ It was very fair on both sides. All the posturing that used to be a part of the process was gone.” EAST WHITTIER – After past years of labor strife in East Whittier City School District, administrators and two employee unions have reached contract agreements in record time – just one month after the start of the school year. For teachers, also known as certificated employees, it took only one two-hour bargaining session to reach agreement with administrators on salary and benefits issues. It took just a bit longer for classified employees – who include office clerks and maintenance workers – to reach a contract. That group met twice with district officials before coming to an agreement. The new contracts call for a 5percent pay increase for both employee groups this year.