By Mike Myslinski
Burlingame teachers win better evaluations, salary increase
Burlingame Education Association members ratified a three-year contract agreement that provides a retroactive 2 percent salary increase, a 1 percent one-time payment and improvements in what the district will pay for medical benefits. Teachers have had no raises for a number of years.
The agreement also includes a new teacher evaluation system for educators in the Burlingame Elementary School District. It was created by a joint group of teachers and administrators and updates an antiquated process.
BEA President Mike Giusti called the agreement reasonable. Read a news story about the Burlingame agreement here.
Superintendent fired, Denair teachers want cuts away from classrooms
Just as tensions began escalating over a threat by the superintendent to impose a 3.5 percent salary cut on the Denair Unified Teachers Association in Stanislaus County, the district’s school board abruptly fired the administrator in mid-March, creating a whole new ball game for the bargaining team.
The 75-member San Joaquin Valley chapter had been at odds with the superintendent, whose financial mismanagement they say resulted in a negative state certification for the district.
While acknowledging the difficult financial situation, Denair teachers are adamant that any cuts be made as far away from the classroom as possible, or at least that there be an agreement to repay teachers later.
Lodi educators restore some instructional days
As Lodi Education Association President Jeff Johnston predicted in November, the passage of Prop. 30 helped restore five instructional days to teachers. There are still 2½ non-instructional days and a 2 percent salary cut LEA bargainers hope to restore when the contract is reopened. In the meantime, Johnston says, “We are all waiting to see what will happen with the governor’s budget proposal,” since Lodi is a district that will benefit from the proposed new funding formula, which will provide additional monies to schools of need.
San Mateo County educators approve strike option
Fed up after five years of no raises, teachers who do challenging classroom work for the San Mateo County Office of Education voted March 18 to allow their CTA chapter leaders to call a strike if necessary to settle their difficult negotiations.
The strike authorization vote came after a March 6 county school board meeting in Redwood City, where San Mateo County Educators Association members addressed the board and staged a rally. Teachers are upset by the indifference they get from the school board and County Superintendent of Schools Anne Campbell in contract talks, says Dan Deasy, president of the 150-member chapter.
“This school board is clearly not respecting the difficult work we do,” Deasy says.
Educators with the San Mateo County Office of Education work in special education programs for students with severe disabilities, court and community schools for 2,000 at-risk students, and teach Regional Occupational Program (ROP) career technical courses for 5,000 high school students and adults.
Read news coverage of the strike vote here.
Ocean View Teachers Association settlement still includes furlough
The Ocean View Teachers Association’s tentative agreement with Ocean View School District, located in Huntington Beach, is a result of OVTA’s ongoing rallies at the district office and other organizing efforts, including a flashlight vigil. The district, which has had five different superintendents in the last nine months, realized the bargaining team had strong support from OVTA members, parents, and community members.
OVTA’s bargaining team was able to reach a compromise settlement of two furlough days scheduled to be taken May 24 and 28.
“I think it's the very best settlement that we can get under the circumstances at this time,” says OVTA President Marcy Drum. Members are expected to ratify the agreement. Bargaining resumes in May for the 2013-14 contract year.
Fremont educators want smaller class size
“Our students are tired of trying to learn in overcrowded classrooms, and teachers are fed up with making financial sacrifices for a district that does not respect our dedication,” says Brannin Dorsey, president of the 1,600-member Fremont Unified District Teachers Association (FUDTA). “Enough is enough. Students and educators deserve better treatment than this — especially from a district with reserves like they have.”
With that statement, the teachers union declared a bargaining impasse and mobilized for a lively March 13 protest at the school board meeting.
One year of negotiations has gone nowhere in this financially sound district, which is hoarding money at a level about five times the reserves required by the state.
FUDTA members are seeking a class size maximum of 24 students for grades K-3 and a staffing ratio of 27:1 for grades 7-12. The district is offering maximums of 29 in kindergarten classes and 30 for grades 1-3, and no relief for all other grades. In Fremont, class sizes are now capped at 30 for K-6 classrooms, but for middle and high schools the cap is actually only a “goal” of 30, on average. The goal is 12 for special education students, but the district wants to raise that. High school classes routinely reach 35 students or more. Teachers have filed scores of grievances to lower class sizes.
The 32,000-student Fremont Unified has about $30 million in reserves. Educators have taken 12 unpaid furlough days since 2009 — a pay cut of about $7.2 million. In contract talks, FUDTA is seeking a 2 percent raise on the salary schedule and a one-time 1 percent payment, and some relief for the cost of dental benefits. The district is offering a 1 percent salary increase and a one-time bonus payment of 1.75 percent, and no relief for the escalating cost of health care. Read news coverage of the March 13 Fremont protest here.
Read more Local Bargaining news here.