The start of the new school year brings the opportunity to establish new practices and routines. Beginning this year, the Human Resources Department will publish a regular newsletter highlighting the status of bargaining with both Associations. All newsletters will be distributed via email and will be posted to the District website. This first newsletter will serve to recap the bargaining actions of the past year.
In January 2016, we began limited reopener bargaining sessions with the Teachers Association for the 2016-17 year. The teams quickly reached agreement on an Early Tell Incentive. This incentive led to 21 signed retirement letters before the February 19, 2016, deadline. In addition, the teams agreed to accept an applicant’s total years of teaching and clinical experience for placement on the salary schedule. Both of these agreements have helped tremendously with recruitment. As of today, we have hired over 40 certificated employees for the 2016-17 school year!
The following is a list of additional items the teams have tentatively agreed to:
- Language related to suspension from class (A form was also developed.)
- A MOU to address student physical assaults of staff
- Clerical support for SDC staff
- Compensation for IEPs exceeding the workday
- Collaborative Practices updates (Article 20)
- Professional Learning Communities (Article 21)
- A MOU that gives teachers options for professional development in lieu of the December 23 date right before winter break
- Revised definitions of different types of classrooms (i.e., self-contained, departmentalized)
- Updated language for our specialty schools
- Language for Pyramid Response to Intervention
- PE class size reduction – a two-year pilot to reduce PE class size to an average of 45 with no class over 50
Salary Negotiations Continue
As we discussed salary, we shared the following five principles that represent the District’s interests:
- Recruit qualified new teachers to LMSV Schools
- Retain our current mid-career staff
- Reward our loyal and veteran staff
- Keep the District on par with comparison districts on daily rate
- Maintain fiscal stability
We also shared with the Teachers Association team the following key points related to salary for 2016-17:
- The 2016-17 State budget does not contain a COLA.
- Health and dental insurance costs are increasing by approximately 6%.
- This year, the District’s contribution to employee retirement benefits (STRS and PERS) will increase by approximately $1.3 million.
Both teams have exchanged several salary and benefits proposals. Among the District team’s proposal was a new salary schedule that would:
- Exceed and align with the top three comparable districts (as proposed by the Teachers Association: Cajon Valley, Santee, Vista)
- Establish a custom savings plan for employees impacted by the sunsetting of OPEB (retirement health benefits)
- Expand maternity leave benefits to provide paid leave of six to eight weeks with no deduction to the employee’s sick leave account
However, the teams have not reached agreement on salary for the 2016-17 year. The Teachers Association has declined the offer to move forward to ratify and implement all other tentative agreements (see above).
Teachers Association Declares Impasse
On July 13, 2016, the Teachers Association filed for impasse with the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB). Either or both parties may file for impasse with PERB when one or both parties believe that future meetings would be futile. The District does not agree that impasse has been reached or that “future meetings would be futile.” In past years, and even through the recession, we were always able to work collaboratively to find solutions without the need for state intervention. Nonetheless, PERB has granted the Teachers Association request for impasse and has appointed a state mediator.
The first mediation session is scheduled to begin on September 13, 2016. We remain committed to negotiating a fair and fiscally responsible agreement.