After months of negotiations, the Tracy Educators Association and the Tracy Unified School District in San Joaquin County reached a tentative agreement while some 130 educators rallied in support of the teachers’ bargaining team during a fact-finding hearing.
Teachers have been pressing district officials to invest Prop. 30 funds in classroom instruction, including hiring and retaining high-quality, experienced teachers. “Students are our priority, so it was time for the district to make teachers a priority,” says TEA President Joe Raco. “We hope this contract will help recruit and retain our quality teachers.”
The agreement provides a 7.5 percent increase for the 2015-16 school year. The ratification vote will occur when teachers return to school this month. TEA received a raise last year but prior to that had not seen an increase for more than six years.
Collaboration time is key
To improve student learning and teacher training about the new California standards, Fremont Unified educators (Alameda County) negotiated 16 hours of collaboration time in new contract language ratified in June by members of the Fremont Unified District Teachers Association (FUDTA).
In addition to a 5 percent salary increase and improving transfer language, the union won collaboration time that will be paid at a teacher’s (higher) per diem rate for doing 16 hours of work with grade level or department colleagues over the course of the coming school year.
Collaboration must be done in one of these areas: Professional Learning Communities, informing instruction, working on common lessons or assessments, aligning Common Core standards to curriculum resources, sharing best practices, or improving student engagement, says Sherea Westra, president of 1,600-member association.
“We are very excited that the work our members currently do together in collaboration for student success is being valued by the district,” Westra says. “Creating time for teachers to work together to develop and grow as a team will only lead to greater strides in student achievement. The potential of what colleagues can do with this time is endless.”
Read the innovative collaboration contract language at fudta.org.
Willing to strike for students
A fight for additional preparation and instructional time for students took Desert Sands Teachers Association members in Palm Desert to the brink of a strike. Community organizing efforts and mass attendance at school board meetings helped achieve a tentative agreement in late July after nine months of bargaining.
The two-year deal includes increased professional preparation time from 30 to 120 weekly minutes, 10 additional instructional minutes, two paid professional development days, improved health care, an 11.4 percent salary increase, and a 1.5 percent special education stipend.
DSTA educators had been advocating for years for the prep and instructional time for students.
“Don’t offer me a raise and tell me I have to work more hours,” DSTA member Patricia Schoenfeld told school board members. “I already work more hours. I’m doing my part. I want you to do your part and be fair.”
More updates from around the state
Unfair evaluations were removed from four members’ personnel files, thanks to the
Ontario-Montclair Teachers Association (San Bernardino County). The chapter filed a grievance for four members from the same work site, and it was settled at level 2.
When Oakland Education Association members and parents at Westlake Middle School (Alameda County) were told that a charter high school was to be colocated at their site, they took immediate action. Advocating to “move the adults, not the kids,” OEA successfully rallied teachers, parents and the community to push the district to locate the charter elsewhere. In the same county, after the district declared an impasse in negotiations, the San Leandro Teachers Association settled for increased prep time, 5 percent salary increase, and other benefits.
The Sacramento City Teachers Association worked with understaffed school counselors in advocating for students; this resulted in the district agreeing to add 10 counselors districtwide. Advocacy efforts throughout the LCAP consultation process by the Anaheim Elementary Education Association resulted in the district increasing the number of school nurses by 12, psychologists by two, and counselors by seven. Similar efforts by the Anaheim Secondary Teachers Association resulted in reducing the student-teacher ratio by 5.
Oak Grove Educators Association in San Jose reinstated Peer Assistance and Review (PAR) and received a 4.5 percent salary increase. PAR programs are cooperative efforts by local unions and school districts in which teachers provide collegial support, assistance, and review to help other teachers improve instruction and student performance.
In Los Angeles County, Certified Hourly Instructors at Long Beach City College won a grievance providing a 2.7 percent salary increase retroactive to Nov. 1, 2014. The grievance alleged that LBCC failed to meet the “me too” requirement specified in a 2014 memorandum of understanding that linked part-time faculty percentage increase to that negotiated by full-time faculty.
The 2014-15 Covina Unified Education Association contract increased all high school and middle school athletic stipends and all elementary athletic and academic stipends by 20 percent retroactive to July 1. The 2015-16 contract allocates up to 80 athletic/academic activity stipend positions.
The Association of Colton Educators approved a 2015-16 agreement that includes a 6.26 percent increase in the salary schedule, 15 additional release days, and an increase to coaching, activity program and extra time stipends. Also in Riverside County, the Menifee Teachers Association, despite an impasse declared by the district at the beginning of June, won a 5 percent raise retroactive to January 2015. The Temecula Valley Educators Association accepted a 3 percent salary increase effective July 1, with additional stipends for special education teachers.
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