Alpine Teachers Association members on strike
“After class size increases, pay freezes, program cuts and furlough days experienced by students and educators, it’s good to see some money is coming back to the classroom to turn the tide,” says CTA President Dean E. Vogel. Across California, local chapters and school districts are working to approve contracts to improve learning and teaching conditions and help implement the Common Core State Standards.
These improvements are happening because of increased funding, thanks to CTA members’ work in passing Prop. 30, which is bringing $47 billion to schools, colleges and local public services over seven years. The new funding is repaying $20 billion in cuts schools endured. This year, there will be $10 billion more for schools and colleges in the state budget, which includes the repayment of all the budget deferrals to local schools.
Gov. Jerry Brown’s Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) is an epic shift in the way our school funds are spent. Ushering in a new era of local control, the LCFF gives educators in every community in California more of a say in how to reach and teach all their students than ever before.
Rather than dollars coming from the state that can only be used for specific categorical purposes, LCFF supports local decision making that targets local priorities created by teachers, parents and the education community. This shift recognizes that some students need extra resources to succeed and allows local stakeholders to decide the best way to help their students.
The new budget includes a funding increase of $244 million for the UC and CSU systems, which holds tuition at existing levels. State funding for community colleges includes an 11 percent increase in 2014-15. And while greater funding is still needed to restore our higher education system, this is moving in the right direction.
CTA provided your bargaining teams with training and resources to prepare for the paradigm shift to bargaining proactively, and to push back on district bargaining delays. And thanks to the lessons we’ve learned from CTA’s Quality Education Investment Act, local chapters are considering best practices to consider when thinking about where to focus those dollars in ways that improve instruction and support educators.
There have been impressive settlements in all corners of the state, and some teachers are seeing their first raise in years. United Teachers of Santa Clara, Montebello Teachers Association, Pierce Joint Unified Educators Association (Colusa County), and Hartnell College Faculty Association all negotiated 5 percent salary increases. El Dorado Union High School Faculty Association and Roseville Secondary Education Association earned a 5.25 percent increase retroactive to 2013, along with health care increases. Associated Teachers of Placer, Rosemead Teachers Association (Los Angeles County), and Sierra-Plumas Teachers Association negotiated raises of 6, 6.3 and 6.5 percent, respectively.
There have been some bad actor districts, but on average, contract settlements are coming in with about 3.5 percent salary increases to help retain teachers. For more settlements, go to cta.org/bargainingupdates.
We want what’s right, not what’s left
Some local chapters struggled to reach agreements. As always, good relationships and resources within the district and community are factors in a good bargain.