Certificated Bargaining UpdatePosted by Tina Sardina on 11/27/2017
Certificated Bargaining Update - November 27, 2017
I hope everyone had a wonderful and restful Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends.
Just before the break, we learned the Tentative Agreement (TA) between the Teachers Association (Association) and the District did not ratify. I would like to use this update to keep everyone well informed in light of the TA not being ratified.
What is a Tentative Agreement? State Law establishes the parameters and legal rights related to collective bargaining. At the table both parties are equals and protected by Education Code, Labor Code and Federal Law. When a mutually agreed upon settlement is reached in collective bargaining with the employer (the District) and the exclusive representative for a group of employees (the Association), it is called a tentative agreement. The agreement is tentative because it is not binding until it is ratified by the Association membership and approved by the District’s Board of Education. By its very nature, a mutually agreed upon settlement indicates both parties support and are satisfied with the agreement. If this were not the case, the parties would continue to bargain.
Once a tentative agreement is reached, both teams are legally obligated to take the agreement to their respective parties (the Association’s membership and the District’s Board) in a good faith effort to secure ratification. Neither team may undermine the bargained agreement as this would be an unfair labor practice and indicate the bargaining was not done in good faith.
This was the first time in the history of the District a tentative agreement was not ratified by the Association membership. Similarly, last year was the first time impasse was declared by the Association.
The District fully respects the membership’s right to ratify or reject a tentative agreement. We are disappointed because both teams spent considerable time developing a settlement using the Interest Based Bargaining (IBB) process and seemed committed to, and supportive of, the agreement.
How does the budget play into this equation? The State of California consistently funds education at a lower level than most other states. In fact, the State is still in the process of restoring education funding to pre-recession levels. This isn’t the message coming out of Sacramento. The Governor prefers to say he is increasing, rather than restoring funding for public schools. Technically, school districts receive more money than they did last year, but only because revenues were cut so drastically during the recession. Most school districts receive less funding today than they did in 2007 (adjusted for inflation). And even at pre-recession levels, the State was 46th in the nation in per pupil funding.
For most districts in California, costs have increased at a greater rate than revenues. Over the past five years, our fixed costs (staffing, health benefits, salary settlements, STRS/PERS, maintenance of our facilities, etc.) have increased by $38 million while our revenues have only increased by $35 million. This has eaten away at our reserves. Last year our District carried the lowest reserve level in San Diego County. Yet, the District has consciously taken financial risks to stand out as an employer of choice among our comparison districts. This is evidenced by the fact our salary settlements have been well above the average of our comparison districts for the past three years, and teachers’ salaries continue to rank in the top third.
The District’s reserve level was the greatest challenge we faced in negotiating salary this year, yet the negotiating teams worked together to design an agreement that would have creatively increased salaries by 3.6% over the next two years while keeping reserves just above the minimum level required by law (3%).
What did the Tentative Agreement include? The agreement would have provided a 1% increase on January 1, 2018, a 1% increase on January 1, 2019 and a 1.6% increase by adding two professional learning days in 2018-19 and one day in 2019-20. This would have resulted in a total increase to salary of 3.6% over the next two years.
There may have been some confusion about purpose and effect (on the salary) of three additional days. Adding professional learning days was a result of thinking creatively to increase the salary offer, allowing us to use restricted funds specifically targeted for professional development. Both parties expressed the conviction that we are doing the right work – continuing as a Professional Learning Community that shares a common vision, mission and belief that each and every student can learn at high levels; identifying essential standards; developing an understanding of what the standards look and sound like when students achieve them; constructing learning targets; writing common formative assessments to measure our students’ progress; and planning a learning path for students to maximize their success. This is hard work that affects all of us and requires dedicated time. Adding to the struggles of finding this time, is the challenge of having sufficient substitutes. Having dedicated professional learning days allows staff to dive into this work and receive per diem pay. It also allows flexibility to work together to identify, and respond, to the learning needs of the adults in our system. We are all committed to the kinds of professional learning that has meaning for teachers and makes a difference to student outcomes. These additional days would have increased salary by 1.6%.
Next steps? We will return to the bargaining table in January and will continue to bargain in good faith. We hope to reach an overall agreement that will allow us to remain focused on our most important work – learning and the success of students.
As always, I am available to answer questions or concerns. Please feel free to contact me via email or phone at extension 6373.
Until next time,
LMSVTA and District Teams Reach Two Year Agreement That Includes Salary IncreasesPosted by Tina Sardina on 11/9/2017
The District and the Teachers Association reached agreement on salary and other important negotiable issues.
The tentative agreement includes a 1% salary schedule increase effective January 1, 2018, and another 1% salary schedule increase effective January 1, 2019.
In addition, two mandatory professional development days will be added to the work year (from 184 to 186 days), beginning in 2018-2019. A third mandatory professional development day will be added beginning with the 2019-2020 regular work year (from 186 to 187 days). Per Diem compensation for each additional day will be included on the salary schedules.
This agreement concludes negotiations for 2017-2018 on Salary, Benefits, and Hours of Employment, and for 2018-2019 on Salary and Hours of Employment.
This tentative agreement will soon be presented to the Teachers Association membership for ratification, and then to the Governing Board for approval.
Negotiations will continue on other issues.
Thanks to both bargaining teams for their efforts and professionalism during these negotiations.
June 1 Bargaining UpdatePosted by Tina Sardina on 6/1/2017
This has been another rigorous and successful school year for our students, employees and community! So much has been happening, including recent meetings between the District’s and Teachers Association’s bargaining teams. During two recent sessions (on May 19 and 31), the teams addressed some key issues and began preliminary planning for 2017-2018 negotiations.
PLC/RtI. The teams discussed important progress made and positive challenges ahead for Professional Learning Communities (PLC) and Response to Instruction (RtI).
Budget Adoptions and 2017-2018 Reopener Negotiations. District representatives shared that the State Budget and the District’s Budget are both expected to be approved later this summer. As set forth in the current collective bargaining agreement, 2017-2018 negotiations will be limited to Class Size, Hours, Total Compensation and two additional articles per team. The teams agreed to begin these negotiations in August 2017.
Specialized Academic Instruction (SAI). The teams negotiated a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) regarding SAI for the 2017-2018 school year. Several years ago, the District began to transition its instructional delivery model for students with disabilities to an SAI delivery model. SAI began at one school in the 2014-2015 school year and has grown to nine schools by the end of the 2016-2017 school year. The SAI delivery model will be implemented District-wide during the 2017-2018 school year. The MOU clarifies the applicability of existing collective bargaining agreement provisions to SAI teachers (e.g., additional preparation time, time to complete assessments and clerical assistance time). The MOU also clarifies the applicability of District-Initiated Reassignments language (Article 9.5), caseloads for SAI teachers and additional support options to be considered in the event that SAI teacher caseloads reach certain levels. The MOU also provides that SAI will be addressed during the parties’ 2017-2018 negotiations. A copy of the MOU is available here.
Amended Job Description. Lastly, the teams agreed to an amended job description for the Assessment Resource Teacher position.
Have a wonderful summer!
Salary SettlementPosted by Tina Sardina on 11/7/2016
As mentioned in my last update, impasse mediation was held on Friday, November 4, 2016. I am happy to report the District and the Teachers Association came to agreement on a salary settlement. The tentative agreement includes a 2% salary increase retroactively applied on July 1, 2016 and a 1.5% salary increase applied on January 1, 2017, for a total salary increase of 3.5%.
This salary agreement concludes all open bargaining items for the 2016-17 year. In the near future, I will send out a final update covering all of the work our bargaining teams accomplished.
October UpdatePosted by Tina Sardina on 10/25/2016 8:30:00 AM
As promised in the August edition of the bargaining update newsletter, I am providing regular updates to highlight the status of bargaining with the Teachers Association. As I shared in my last newsletter, the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) granted the Teachers Association’s request for impasse. Unfortunately, there was a miscommunication when scheduling our first impasse session with the state mediator and the bargaining teams did not meet on September 13. Impasse mediation is now scheduled to begin on November 4.
Other than the date change, there hasn't been any bargaining activity to report since my last update.
New School YearPosted by Tina Sardina on 8/23/2016 1:00:00 PM
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.