Now, More Than Ever, A Reasonable School Board Is Needed
The SJTA Political Action Team and the SJTA Executive Board will be recommending to Greg Paulo and Paula Villescaz for the two open seats on the San Juan School Board on November 4.
Greg, a former San Juan teacher and SJTA Executive Board member, was previously endorsed by SJTA. Over the past eight years he has been a fair and thoughtful advocate for employees and students.
Paula Villescaz, a child health care advocate and graduate from Mira Loma’s IB program is an emerging leader in the area and has voiced her belief in respect for teachers and strong public schools.
The SJTA Political Action Committee For Education began the process of calling for and interviewing possible candidates to endorse in late spring. The early endorsement process allows SJTA to launch successful School Board campaigns. The above recommendation will be brought to the Rep Council for endorsement on Wednesday September 17. Members will be asked to volunteer their time leafleting and phone banking to ensure our candidates’ success.
SJTA Tells District To Bring More $ To The Table
September 12, 2014
After an all-day bargaining session this past week, SJTA and the District are no closer to an agreement. Management continues to outline worries over declining enrollment and rising health care costs as reasons to support their meager 2.38% salary schedule increase. SJTA, on the other hand, provided the district with ample budgetary evidence that a 5% increase is reasonable and fair.
The SJTA bargaining team has spent hours pouring over the district’s budget pointing out rapidly increasing revenues, growing fund balances, enormous increases in areas unrelated to direct services to students. This includes items such as 100% increase in books and materials and a 63% increase in professional consultants and services over last year.
SJTA believes that raising salaries and restoring staffing to pre-recession times is absolutely critical to recruiting and retaining employees and delivering quality services directly to students. SJTA is calling for a hard reset on many of these budgetary items as the district continues to roll over increases in non-critical areas while ignoring employee salaries. A hard reset means zero-basing these non-employee areas and only allowing the minimum required expenses.
SJTA has informed the district that “impasse” will be declared If no progress is made next week, and the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) will be notified. Impasse is the point in negotiations when differences in the parties positions are so substantial and well held that further negotiations is futile. In other words, there is no common ground to build an agreement. At this point PERB will assign a state mediator to commence a mediated form of negotiations between the parties.
The SJTA Crisis Team will be organizing all members to begin preparing for actions that will make our bargaining goals a reality. Actions such as writing letters to school board members, informational picketing, and “work to the rule” are just a few unifying activities that will be needed if no agreement is reached soon.
SJTA Rejects District’s Proposal of 2.38% Salary Offer
September 4, 2014
After 5 months of bargaining and more than 100 hours, there is still no agreement on several key issues. Despite the largest single year increase in revenue in decades, the district continues to employ budget practices that may drive negotiations to impasse. Such practices as setting financial targets without regard to employee compensation, and building up unnecessarily large ending balances reduce transparency and creates mistrust. Although there are several serious and complex issues that have been ignored for years, nothing is more critical than a substantial increase in pay for all our members. This was clearly articulated the first day of negotiations.
The district's proposal to SJTA on September 3, with critical issues outlined below, not only ignores the employee sacrifices that were made over the past 6 years to help maintain fiscal solvency, but attempts to squeeze more out of our members during and beyond their workday, and actually asks the union to be complicit stockpiling unnecessarily large financial reserves.
District's proposal regarding salary, class size and hours:
- A 2.38% raise and additional .70% contingent upon SJTA agreeing to a school board policy of a “minimum fund balance of 8%” (the law requires a 2% reserve)
- The 2.38% and the .70% above are dependent upon SJTA agreeing to a class size reduction proposal of 27 to 1 delineated as follows: a roll out over the next 8 years resulting in class size averages of 27 to 1 TK- 6 and 7th and 8th grade classes housed on K-8 sites
- Increase non-instructional duties from 6 to 8 per year and increase the number of preps that teacher must relinquish from 3 to 4 per year
SJTA's proposal addresses issues that have been building up for years and for some, decades of neglect.
SJTA Proposal regarding salary/stipends, class size and hours
- A 5% increase on all salary and stipend schedules effective July 1, 2014
- Begin implementing new class size reduction at an average of 26 to 1 beginning TK-2 in 2015-16 and rolling out subsequent grade level annually through grade 6 completed by 2019. New maximums will need to be negotiated as well.
- Replace the Extra Assignment Schedule of $24 per hour with a new structure for Professional Activities according to experience at a rate of $36 for years 1-5; $46 for years 6-10; and $56 for years 11 plus.
- Compensating our members (SpEd, Speech Pathologist, School Nurses) with legal and medical responsibility related to IEPs and medical assessments at the new professional activities rate
- Appropriately resourcing K- 8 with class size reduction and adequate prep time
Investing in the classroom and those who directly serve our students is still not a priority with management. It is not our members' salaries that are causing an undo strain on the financial situation. The district is choosing instead to invest in elaborate administrative and bureaucratic structures and external curriculum consultants at the costs of millions of dollars.
As evidenced by the two proposals above, the parties are not close to an agreement. Therefore, it is likely to become necessary to file for “impasse” with PERB if no substantial progress is made in the next two weeks. Impasse means that a state mediator will be assigned to our negotiations. Shannan Brown, SJTA President, will appoint a crisis team next week to begin organizing our members in actions that will lead to a successful conclusion.
Please continue to check the SJTA website for future updates. Bargaining is scheduled to continue next week. A full updated report will be presented at the first Rep Council September 17.
It’s Time To Change the District’s Priorities
August 6, 2014
To: All SJTA Members
From: The SJTA Bargaining Team
Last April when the SJTA and the District began bargaining for a successor contract, Shannan Brown, SJTA President, declared that providing a well deserved pay increase and restoring losses in many areas of student support would be essential to this agreement.
As both parties are aware of the long history of protracted battles over fair and reasonable salary increases, the district agreed to a joint budget review team to prepare for negotiations. The Budget Review Committee’s purpose is to consider budget modifications as the district’s financial health worsens or improves. Discussions of expenditure patterns, fund balances, and multi-year projections to maintain fiscal solvency were carefully reviewed.
After considerable review of the district’s financial condition, our analysis reveals that the San Juan is receiving the largest single year increase in Prop 98 funding in decades. Combined with growing reserves and positive projections for the next three years, the district’s financial status has improved dramatically.
The bargaining teams have been in negotiations since late April and pushed pause while the School Board recessed for the month of July. Prior to the break, the parties reached an accord on several issues that required action before the school year. Specifically, we have codified for the first time an involuntary transfer process for our ECE members, established an MOU for the professional growth system prototypes, and an increase in elementary prep time.
While we continue to work with the District on many innovative fronts, it appears old habits die hard when it comes to giving pay increases. The reality, as it appears at this time, is that the District did not plan for much of a salary increase, if any. This is disturbing on many levels, not the least being that our members have made real and significant sacrifices to keep the district afloat during the recession. More importantly, this is not about a lack of funding. The money for substantial salary increases is there — it’s just located in different line items of the district budget. To put it simply, the district has not made salaries a top priority.
Over the last few years, many issues affecting our members have been ignored or set aside as the state funding dried up. As a result, many key proposals have been presented to the district. In addition to a fair and reasonable salary increase for all members, other key proposals include additional compensation for our members who have significant legal responsibilities with IEPs, class size reduction K-5/6, caseload improvements for nurses, speech pathologists, and counselors, more definitive language to ensure teacher prep time and lunch for teacher librarians, additional resources for K-8s, and restoring the hearing aid benefit in our health care plans. We are expecting the district’s response in early August.
One final note: Adding to the disappointment that there was little consideration for a pay increase, several million dollars of new “supplemental” funds outlined in the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP), which are intended for direct student services, are actually being spent on bureaucratic infrastructure, new central office administrative positions, and external curriculum consultants. The result is a top down, fragmented approach that is ineffective. SJTA took a strong position advising that the vast majority of these funds should be spent on providing direct service to the most challenging and vulnerable of our students. This includes more certificated help to address the barriers to student learning, which includes a safe place on campus for students with serious behavioral issues and skilled teachers that focus on specialized and intensive services to re-engage such students in the classroom academically and behaviorally. We will be working with School Board members to amend the current LCAP, which is allowed by law.
Bargaining dates have been set throughout August and we will be providing updates on our website and to your home. Please make sure your address and personal email is current with our office. Call Lucia at 916 487-7582 to update your address to ensure timely information.
Salary Increase Tops List In Negotiations
April 28, 2014
SJTA and the District began negotiations for a successor contract last Friday, April 25. At the top of SJTA’s list is a fair and reasonable salary increase for all members by beginning of the next school year. Also high on the list is class size reduction and reasonable caseloads for all of our student-support members such as nurses, counselors and speech pathologists.
"The recession had a devastating effect on our members real income as well undercutting the critical services to our students," said Shannan Brown, SJTA President. "Providing a well deserved pay increase and restoring losses in many areas of student support is essential to this agreement."
The last increase to the salary schedule was 2008, which marked the beginning of the "great recession". Six years later, the financial health of the district is improving significantly and according to economic forecasts, will continue to improve over the next three years. But just how much the district will be receiving in new revenues is still uncertain.
On May 15, the Governor is required to provide a revised budget proposal to legislature for consideration. This proposal will likely be modified to reflect an additional $1.5-2 billion on income tax revenue over his original projection last January. However, it is still uncertain whether any of the additional revenue will be allocated to education as social programs, debt reduction, and pension solutions may take precedence.
As desirable as an early agreement may be, it is unlikely that it will occur before the summer break due to the timeline of the Governor’s negotiations with the legislature regarding the education portion of the budget.
"Our goal is have a tentative agreement to our members by September," said Ed Burgess, SJTA bargaining chair. "But we won’t compromise what we feel is fair just to satisfy an early agreement".
SJTA will provide updates to this website through the end of the school year as well as a full report at the May Rep Council. Bargaining updates will be sent to all members’ homes during the summer.