The governor’s proposed 2013-14 budget eliminates almost all categorical programs. That means line items (categoricals) for specific programs outlined in California’s Education Code are being consolidated and collapsed into one funding formula.
If the proposal is approved, the negotiations process becomes more important because classroom experts — teachers, certificated personnel and education support professionals — will have more to discuss at the bargaining table.
There is potential for high drama and for gratifying success because of the sheer volume of the changes proposed. It’s a whole new world when it comes to negotiating professional teaching and learning conditions.
In your classroom
As money flows into the education system with fewer restrictions, school districts will have wider latitude on how they spend money on staff and programs. CTA believes all spending decisions should be done appropriately with input from the experts in the school — that means you.
As your local leaders and negotiators look at new approaches to bargaining, they'll be looking to you to share your expertise and knowledge. This is your opportunity to get the resources and supports you need for your students. For example, which programs are most important for student achievement?
Without specific categorical funds, schools may be unable or unwilling to support programs that provide access to various programs — music or arts education, perhaps. And requirements remain. For example, the Beginning Teachers Support and Assessment program (BTSA) is needed to get a clear credential. Local districts are to support and pay for new teachers to go through a BTSA program. Already there are cases where school districts take the money and use it “with flexibility,” which means new teachers pay out of pocket and the district spends the money elsewhere. Induction programs are important to teacher success. Do you want them funded?
Think about the impact and costs associated with the implementation of Common Core on professional development, assessments and testing. Or how evaluations and data are used. Many of these items can and should be funded through the collective bargaining process.
What does it mean for you and your local bargaining team?
“Everything is on the table,” says CTA State Council Negotiations Committee Chair Pat Sabo. “It has to be.” Her initial advice for local leaders is this:
• Bargain based on fact, not fear. Final financial numbers won’t be certain until this summer.
• Do not hurry. The “bargain now or you’ll lose it” message by some districts is not true.
• Work with CTA. You’re not alone in this. There’s CTA assistance, support and resources from primary contact staff.
Sabo, an eighth-grade algebra teacher and a Healdsburg Area Teachers Association member, suggests taking a completely new approach to bargaining.
“For starters, we can go into bargaining in a positive, proactive way, instead of being defensive. The money’s there. We can envision a school community that would be the ideal,” she says. “Let’s take the opportunity to ask our members and our communities what's important. Ask ‘What should my classroom and my school look like?’ and bargain from there. Anything’s possible.”
This is all possible because of CTA’s good work to pass Proposition 30.
Related Tags: Volume 17 Issue 7, Take A Stand, Inside Educator, Educator, Bargaining, Collective bargaining, Financial, Funding, Law, Reform,