Teachers demonstrate during lengthy negotiations
The Capitol: Fighting for fair dismissal rights
CTA members are working to persuade legislators to kill SB 1530 (Padilla), which has cleared the California Senate and, at press time, is scheduled for a hearing before the Assembly Education Committee.
SB 1530 stems from the failure of Los Angeles Unified School District officials to report alleged misconduct to the state licensing agency, the Commission on Teacher Credentialing. LAUSD claims the current law prevented the reporting. In fact, current law requires the district to make the reports and holds the superintendent personally liable for failing to comply.
SB 1530 would make radical changes to the current teacher dismissal law and undermine a teacher’s right to a fair hearing. It does nothing to add new penalties for administrators or districts that fail to comply with reporting laws.
Alameda: Modest settlement on class size, work load
The Alameda Education Association settlement includes a K-3 class size maximum of 25 students until a new three-year contract is settled. No change in salaries, but that will be discussed in the future. “We need to see positive results in the November election so that AUSD can make teachers a priority and put resources in the classrooms,” says Gray Harris, AEA president.
Calexico: Settlement after 23-hour session
After a lengthy contract stalemate, Associated Calexico Teachers reached a tentative agreement with Calexico Unified School District that includes concessions on health care. Potential furlough days can be eliminated if the governor’s tax initiative passes in November. “Claiming any victory in these troubled times is difficult, but we did surpass all our internal bargaining goals with this settlement,” says ACT bargaining chair Chad Cooper.
Inglewood: Fighting for smaller class sizes
The Inglewood Teachers Association is fighting district efforts to have unrestricted class size maximums and to cut the instructional year by up to 25 days. “Class size matters,” says ITA president Peter Somberg. “The students, parents, and teachers of Inglewood have already sacrificed far too much because of terrible district financial decisions. We’re not going to see our students and their futures thrown away by a board that seems more concerned about holding on to their own positions than in doing what’s right for kids.”
La Quinta: Teachers protest furloughs
Teachers showed up en masse to the Desert Sands Unified school board meeting in La Quinta to oppose the district’s proposed five furlough days. The Desert Sands Teachers Association will have 15 furlough days if the governor’s tax initiative does not pass in November. “Furlough days mean one less instruction day for students,” says DSTA President Mona Davidson.
Mill Valley: Teachers ask voters to do their part
Mill Valley School District teachers have done their part. Now, they say, it’s up to the citizens of Mill Valley to do theirs. Under a two-year agreement approved recently, some teachers will be taking between $4,000 and $5,000 in pay cuts to help close a $1.4 million budget deficit.
“The teachers really stepped up to the plate,” says Superintendent Paul Johnson. “We really owe a lot to them. They love the school district, and they’ve made sacrifices to hold on to what we have.”
Under a “shared solutions” strategy, the district’s teachers and administrators hope their sacrifices persuade Mill Valley voters to do their part and approve a $196 “Save Our Schools” parcel tax on the November ballot.
Says Kim Kirley, Mill Valley Teachers Association bargaining chair, “It’s important that all facets of our community come forward to preserve the quality of education that students of Mill Valley deserve.”
Rio: Teachers bearing too much of the financial burden
Rio Education Association members have been teaching without a contract since June 30, 2011. Negotiations are now headed to fact-finding. Major sticking points include salary and benefits. Both sides say a lot depends upon the passage of the governor’s tax initative in November.
Student enrollment has grown, and the amount spent on administrative positions has increased in recent years, while the money spent on teachers and other employees has dropped, says REA President Rebecca Barbetti. The amount of the deficit the district is facing also is in dispute.
“We’re willing to take concessions, but the burden of concessions needs to be equitably distributed,” Barbetti says.
Sacramento: Concessions, furlough days
Sacramento City Teachers Association members OK’d a tentative agreement that includes health benefit concessions and two furlough days. That number will increase to 10 if Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax initiative fails in November.
Sacramento City Unified approved $28 million in cuts earlier this year from its $421 million budget. If the November tax measure doesn’t pass, the district anticipates having to slash another $15 million. The district will continue to pay the full cost of health insurance for SCTA employees and their families.
“In light of the way the school district has managed its money, it is as good as we can do,” says SCTA Vice President Erik Knudson. “The district is happy with it enough, and we are happy with it enough. Education — it’s grim out there right now.”
Related Tags: Volume 16 Issue 9, Take A Stand, Inside Educator, Educator, Advocacy, Bargaining, Benefits, Class size reduction, Collective bargaining, Health care, Labor Issues, Legislation, Locals, Salary,