Article in Bee Decries Excessive Spending on Administration, but Figures for San Juan Teachers Incomplete
By Edward Burgess, Associate Executive Director
March 30, 2017
An article appeared in the Sacramento Bee on Monday, March 27 titled, "The Public Eye: School administrator pay grows faster than teacher pay." In the article, Bee reporter Phillip Reese called out the excessive amount of money being spend on administrators in and around the Sacramento region.
I spoke with Mr. Reese earlier this week regarding his article and the sources he used to calculate the percentages.
While Mr. Reese's article correctly calls out some of the absurdities in our neighboring districts, it is important to clarify and provide context for some of the information contained in the chart that appeared within the article.
This chart, titled "Comparing administrator and teacher pay increases" is unintentionally misleading in a couple of areas.
- The tremendous percentage growth reflected in the teacher pay increases does not account for salary cuts and furlough days that teachers in those districts agreed to during the Great Recession. For example, the chart shows Natomas Unified had 31% increase in teacher pay between 2010-11 and 2015-16, but fails to take into consideration that in 2010-11 Natomas teachers took both salary reductions and furlough days. A significant amount of the listed 31% increase was actually returning the employees to their full salaries.
- During the recession, SJTA successfully negotiated the spending down of district reserves. While surrounding districts delivered upwards of 20+ furlough days and double-digit salary slashes; SJTA members took a total of two furlough days and a one-year freeze on the Step and Column (which was made whole the following year). This resulted in the overall stated increase from 2010-2016 appearing as less in San Juan than in other district, since we did not experience the same significant salary losses during the recession.
- The chart is titled "Comparing administrator and teacher pay increases," but the title is not accurate. According to Mr. Reese, he used single budget line items to derive his numbers. It is more accurate to say that the chart addresses the concept of total spending difference since the recession ended. In all cases, this represents restoration of cuts, pay increases, and staffing increases.
- Since the end of the recession, in SJUSD we have negotiated increases in our salaries (9.75% + 2% bonus) as well as an increase in the number of certificated members who work directly with students (including: Social Workers, Counselors, and Elementary Teachers with the grade span adjustment). Many of these positions were not reflected in the 3% figure presented in the chart. Had these positions and our current agreement been included, the chart would have shown an increase approaching 15%.
Although the focus of the article was not comparative salary schedules, examining the surrounding districts' current salary schedules, it is clear that SJTA members are squarely in the mix. While some of the surrounding districts have a higher top salary, many of those salary schedules only reach peak levels after 25-30 years of service. Lifetime earnings still put SJTA members near the top of all districts in the region.
The SJTA Budget Review Team and the Bargaining Team continues to regularly monitor the district's spending on management and central office personnel and question every budgetary decision that does not go to direct services for our students - including attracting and retaining quality practitioners with competitive salaries and reasonable working conditions.
District and Association Reach Agreement in Principle on Two-Year Deal
March 12, 2017
After 10 months of negotiations, we are proud to announce that we have reached an agreement in principle with the District and anticipate signing a tentative agreement on Monday, March 13, 2017. The agreement includes a 2% salary increase (retro active to July 1, 2016) and a 2% one-time bonus for each member (calculation based on the member's salary in the 2016-17 school year). The agreement also includes contingency language anticipating a variety of potential scenarios that may arise following the adoption of the California State Budget for 2017-18.
"The national election and the Governor's overly conservative budget made this agreement extremely complex," stated bargaining chair, Desa Bushnell. "The contingency language was the only way we could get a deal done and ensure our members get their fair share if there are any changes."
In addition to the salary increase, the agreement provides 2 years of calendars. Included in these calendars is a two-year pilot of an additional non-instructional workday placed at the end of the school year for employees working 185 days or less, increasing their contractual work year by one day. This will increase each 185-day members' salary by .56% in both the 2017-18 & 2018-19 school years.
The District and SJTA also agreed to continue to offer an optional PD day in each year in the new calendars. These days will be paid at the member's daily rate of pay for those that attend. In this agreement, we made many gains to improve the working conditions for our members and the learning conditions for our students. Some of the gains in this contract include the following areas:
- Established caseload maximums for Speech and Language Pathologists and Inclusion Specialists,
- Contractualized 195 day work year for High School counselors,
- Reduced class size maximums in Special Ed ILS classes,
- Increased parental leave opportunities,
- Strengthened FMLA language,
- Carry-over opportunity for Continuing Ed hours,
- Established access to Continuing Ed hours for ECE,
- Improved voluntary transfer language,
- Increased involuntary transfer options,
- Moved Home/Hospital to K-12 salary schedule,
As mentioned, we anticipate signing the Tentative Agreement by the end of the day Monday and are making efforts to get the entire agreement out to all members by end of day on Tuesday. The agreement itself will contain all the details.
We encourage members to attend one of the informational meetings to get a comprehensive overview of the agreement. The informational meetings will be held at SJTA on the following dates and times:
Wednesday March 15, 2017 @ 5:15pm (immediately after Rep Council)Thursday March 16, 2017 @ 4:30pm & 6:30pm
Friday March 17, 2017 @ 3:30 pm
Contract Ratification (voting) will take place at sites between March 16 and March 22.
District and SJTA Exchange Proposals on Salary
February 15, 2017
On Friday, February 10, the District brought its first written proposal on salary. The proposal included the following elements in regards to salary:
- 1.5% salary schedule
- 1.5% off-schedule bonus
- Add 1 PD day (2017-18 & 2018-19)
- Add 1 Non-Instructional Work Day to the end of the calendar year (2017-18 & 2018-19)
The offer included the District's commitment to continue paying 100% of employee benefits and maintain their 75% contribution to the coverage of dependents.
SJTA's counter proposal included the following:
- All salary and stipend schedules increased 3.0% (retroactive effective July 1, 2016)
- A one-time off schedule payment equal to 2.5% of each member's salary
- 1 Non-Instructional Work Day added to the end of the calendar year (on-going)
- Add 1 PD day (optional 2017-18 & 2018-19)
- A systematic roll out (3-5 yrs) bringing Special Education class sizes and caseloads into alignment with current industry standards
While the two-sides are close on the financial parameters of a settlement, the gap is proving challenging to close. The District continues to maintain that the Governor's Budget Proposal has negatively influenced what they are able to offer in compensation. SJTA continues to maintain that regardless of the Governor's proposed budget, the district must re-examine the millions of dollars in increased expenditures made away from the classroom.
Despite the struggles around the financial aspects of this deal, the bargaining teams have continued to make strides in other areas of the contract. Areas of possible agreement include:
- An Association Advisory Committee (LCAP)
- Expanded Voluntary Transfer Language for 12-month employees
- Expanded Transfer Window for Secondary Teachers (Semester)
- Increased access to extended paid parental leave (12 weeks at differential)
- Codify all High School Counselors work 195 Day Calendar
- Expanded Access to Pre-Retirement
- Expanded Carry-Over of CEU (300 hours every 10 years)
- Define and create access to CEU for ECE Members
- Expanded Definition of Immediate Family (add "Step")
- Remove all language regarding alternative pay for Independent Study Teachers
- Move all Home/Hospital Instructors to TK-12 Salary Schedule
- Improved Return Rights for TOSA's
- Extended Weekend in October and potentially Spring
- Calendars (2017-18, 2018-19, & 2019-20)
- System of Professional Growth revisions
Both teams remain committed to reaching a settlement if possible. Negotiations will resume Monday and Wednesday following the break to see if an agreement can be reached. "There is still the opportunity to avoid impasse," said SJTA President Shannan Brown, "But if a fair and reasonable solution can't be found, we have no other option than impasse."
Governor's Budget Released
January 17, 2017
After several years of increasing state revenues, the state budget is beginning to see revenues lagging behind expectations. For 2017-18 the state is facing a budget deficit of nearly $2 billion. However, the Governor has expressed a desire to protect the steady growth in education. To that end, the 2017-18 proposed K-12 education budget provides approximately $331 per pupil more in funding than it did in 2016-17.
While Governor Brown's proposed budget was more conservative than the independent Legislative Analyst Office indicated was necessary, he has proposed to increase funding by $744 million over 2016-17. Additionally, Governor Brown's proposal contains a one-time distribution of funds in the amount of approximately $45 per ADA. At this time, these factors seem to put San Juan just below what was anticipated in their budget projections.
Next week, the SJTA Bargaining team and SJTA President Shannan Brown will attend School Services Budget Workshop on the implications of the Governor's proposal for our district.
The District and SJTA have continued to make progress on multiple issues including: transfer rights, parental leave, FMLA leave, middle school sports stipends, special education, home and hospital, high school counselors work year, early childhood education, and the System of Professional Growth.
We will provide a detailed explanation of what these financial variables mean to San Juan Unified at the January Rep Council.
Progress remains slow on economic discussions as Prop 55 looms
October 20, 2016
Despite progress on a myriad of issues (including: FMLA, parental leave, elementary GSA, health care, calendar, etc.) the bargaining teams are struggling to build scenarios around the uncertain budget outlook.
The district's Unaudited Actuals, published in on September 13, 2016, revealed that revenues were nearly $5 million under projections in the 2015-16 school year. However, projected expenses had dropped by $14 million, resulting in a $9 million increase to the district's reserves – which now have reached near record levels at $83 million.
Initial excitement at these numbers is being tempered by several mitigating factors.
- Funding projections tied to the passage or failure of Proposition 55
- Overly conservative State Budget projections
- Increase in expenditures for additional personnel including, additional counselors, social workers, etc.
- The Legislature's emerging pattern of allotting one-time monies to districts in lieu of providing on-going funding
Additionally, the District multi-year budget projections indicate they will be deficit spending as of next year. The District estimated revenues for the 2016-17 year are fairly equal to what was received in the 2015-16 school year. However, they are projecting their expenses to climb approximately $50 million over last year, which would cause the district to spend down approximately $18 million of their reserves. Several questions have risen to the surface as the bargaining teams attempt to unpack the budget: How much of the current reserves were created from one-time money? How much comes from Supplemental funds? What assumptions are causing the dramatic increase in projected expenses?
The joint SJTA and District Budget Review Committee will meet on October 27, 2016 in an attempt to answer these and other financial questions.
Both sides are hopeful that Prop 55 will provide some relief to the out years and stem what appears to be imminent deficit spending.
Be sure to vote ‘Yes' on 55!
Bargaining Progress Continues
Uncertainty of Prop 55 in the November Election Compels Patience
August 17, 2016
After a brief break during the month of July, the bargaining teams have resumed meeting. Progress has been made on a variety of issues, however, salary discussions have been temporarily deferred because of the uncertainty around the passage of Prop 55 (the extension of Prop 30 funds).
If approved by voters, Prop 55 could yield an approximate $6 - $15 million to the San Juan budget beginning in the 2017-18 school year. If Prop 55 doesn't pass, the loss of revenue to the state will be significant and Governor Jerry Brown has said that the state will be forced to make cuts.
The Bargaining teams will now begin a deep dive into the various economic scenarios that could play out as a result of the November elections including the passage and failure of Prop 55. The SJTA bargaining team will prepare for these scenarios by completing a review of the district budget including analyzing total revenues, expenditure patterns, and reserve trends.
Even though the salary discussion has been delayed, considerable work has been done at the table to clean-up outdated language in the contract and to strengthen member rights in the areas of parental leave, pre-retirement, and enhancements to FLMA. Discussions also continue in a variety of other areas including the calendar and Special Education.
Additionally, SJTA's on-going work with the District has allowed for continued acceleration of class size reduction where possible and yielded an expansion of new supports to school sites in the form of Learning Supports Centers. These Centers will provide more personnel to help support students with the greatest academic and social-emotional needs.
Members can expect another bargaining up-date around mid-September.
Bargaining Progresses Slowly Amid Economic Uncertainty
July 1, 2016
Given the pattern of economic projections and spending that have emerged under this governor, the SJTA and District bargaining teams have been taking a vigilant approach to the financial issues in bargaining.
Recently, both teams have waited for the June budget act to be signed to have solid numbers to begin negotiations on the financial issues. Unfortunately, this year's adoption of the Governor's Budget failed to provide clarity to the economic picture facing education in California due to two main factors: the overly conservative budget that was recently signed and the uncertainty of the extension of Prop 30 funds (the California Tax Extension to Fund Education and Healthcare Initiative will be on the ballot in November and extends the income tax portion of Prop 30, but not the sales tax). While economic forecasts continue to be strong, the loss of the Prop 30 funds would likely result in devastating cuts to public education.
Desa Bushnell, SJTA Bargaining Chair shared her insights, "The lack of certainty around an extension of Prop 30-like funds is likely the obstacle to getting an early agreement. While we are continuing to make progress on several fronts, no final deal gets made unless it includes a fair and reasonable salary increase for our members."
While the details of the bargaining process remains confidential, some progress has been made in the four initial meetings. This progress includes two side letters of agreement: finalizing the language allowing people to earn up to 20 hours of Continuing Education credit for participating in the System of Professional Growth activities and agreeing to a calendar for high school counselors that includes 10 additional days for those previously on the 185 calendar. Other items from the SJTA bargaining proposal have been discussed, but there is not yet substantial progress to report.
While the Bargaining Team will continue to work diligently on behalf of the membership, it appears at this time that an early settlement is unlikely. "The State and SJUSD are basing their economic projections on the loss of Prop 30 funding because it is set to expire. If we were to use the numbers in the District budget at this time, it would potentially short-change our members - we would never agree to that. These circumstance require us to be patience, as we know greater clarity and certainty will come," stated Shannan Brown, SJTA President.
There are no scheduled dates for July, but already the teams have committed to three days in August. SJTA members should expect an update by mid August.
Tentative Agreement reached on the System of Professional Growth
March 17, 2016
We are proud to announce that a Tentative Agreement has been reached on the System of Professional Growth
System of Professional Growth Videos
March 5, 2016
Transformation of Evaluation System to System of Professional Growth
January 8, 2016
SJTA & SJUSD Reach Tentative Agreement
Negotiation teams for the San Juan Teachers Association and district are pleased to announce that they have signed a tentative agreement covering the 2015-16 school year. A copy of the proposed agreement is attached and will be put to a vote of SJTA membership on October 21-26 followed by a vote of the Board of Education anticipated on Nov. 10.
Highlights of the agreement include:
- A 3.25 increase to salaries and stipends schedules (except Ex. D6 Additional Assignment rate) retroactive to July 1
- Paychecks would be adjusted by Nov. 30
- Retro payments would be issued by Jan. 10
- Daily prep time for secondary and departmentalized 6-8 teachers at K8 schools
- Elementary specialists assigned full time to grades 6-8 at K8 schools would be included (see details in full agreement)
- Changes to be implemented as soon as additional staffing can be arranged
- Optional Days
- All SJTA members with 185 day or less calendars are eligible to take part in optional hours at their daily pay rate
- Six hours will be offered in 2015-16 (dates and times TBD)
- Six hours on Aug. 15, 2016
- Six hours on Nov. 10, 2016 for secondary members
- Six hours on Jan. 7, 2017 for elementary members
- Clarifications to Article 24 including selection process and filling of vacancies
SJTA members are encouraged to review the complete agreement and discuss details with their colleagues, site rep, or call SJTA.
Contract Ratification Timeline:
- Wednesday, October 21
Rep Council — Reps pick up ballots at SJTA
- Thurs., October 22 — Monday, October 26
Voting at Sites
- Monday, October 26
Ballots DUE at SJTA office no later than 5 p.m.
District Calls Extended Timeout: Cites Inability to Calculate Numbers Quickly
September 8, 2015
The bargaining teams met last week to discuss several issues. The topics included: improvements to the language of Article 24, the shortage of elementary specialists and what can be done in the immediate, and prep time for our K-8 middle years teachers. Noticeably missing from the conversation was the topic of salary.
The District has requested that we wait until the enrollment numbers are finalized before continuing that discussion. Currently, the district remains at 2% and SJTA remains at 4% (as described in our earlier updates). SJTA believes that even if the numbers remain at current projected levels, there are sufficient funds available to warrant a 4% increase on the salary schedule.
Final enrollment numbers were submitted on Friday, September 4 and SJTA had anticipated a new proposal at the all-day bargaining session scheduled for Tuesday, September 15.
The District informed SJTA leadership on Friday, September 4, that they would be unable to present a counter proposal at the September 15 bargaining session. The District indicated that they need three weeks to recalculate the projected income from the additional students and its impact on multi-year projections.
"We know revenue and ending balances are up over last year and the District is always working from projections to make decisions," said Shannan Brown, SJTA President. "At this point, it is not clear why there is a delay."
A September 24 bargaining session has been tentatively scheduled to hear the district's new proposal.
Progress Interrupted: District's Counter Proposal Short of Goal Line
August 13, 2015
The two parties returned to the negotiations table Thursday, where the District presented its counter proposal. Discussions regarding increased financial compensation and other economic items revealed a divide.
The District's proposal contained the following:
- 2% raise to the salary schedules, stipend schedule Exhibit D-9 (Leadership/Support Staff Stipends)
- 0% to all other stipend schedules (D-7, D-8)
- 0% change to the Certificated Special Additional Assignment Salary Schedule (Exhibit D-6)
- Status Quo benefits package
- Two optional professional development days at the members daily rate for the 15/16 school year and two optional days in the 16/17 school year:
- For the 2015-16 school year:
- Day 1: The ELD training outlined in a previous joint statement distributed via email on May 8, 2014
- Day 2: January 4, 2016 –to be determined in concert with SJTA
- For the 2016-17 school year: both days to be determined in concert with SJTA
- Regarding increased prep time for 6-8 grade teachers in at K-8 schools that are departmentalized, no counter was offered. However, the District expressed interest in continuing to cost out options.
- Improvements and clarifications to Article 24 that represent both agreements and discrepancies between SJTA and the District
While District revenues and reserves continue to grow, this counter proposal indicates that the current budgetary priorities of the District exclude a fair and reasonable increase for employees.
Despite a record increase in funding from the state and projections of continued increases over the next two years, the District claims increases to STRS/PERS and questions around enrollment may force them to deficit spend in the 2017-18 out year.
The teams are currently scheduled to resume bargaining on August 26. The next update should be available the first week in September. We will notify you should any significant progress be made between now and then.
Bargaining Progresses Steadily, Hopefully Toward Finish Line
August 10, 2015
After a spring and summer of significant progress on a wide range of issues, the bargaining teams are currently engaged in the difficult process of getting agreement on the details of a salary increase.
The following issues have already been addressed for the 2015-2016 school year: counselor work schedules, additional staffing at the Secondary level for math and math support classes, additional staffing for ELD support, accelerated 2nd grade class size reduction at schools (where possible), elimination of combo classes at schools (where possible), 2016-2017 calendar corrections, System of Professional Growth MOU, and Early Childhood Education redesign.
Now, with the state budget signed – SJTA has submitted our first formal proposal. In addition to the many of the items above, our proposal includes the following:
- A 4% increase across the salary schedule
- Status quo benefits package
- Two optional days for members at members "Daily Rate":
- Work Day: Friday June 3, 2016
- Professional Development Day: With multiple options for completing the work
- Increased prep time for 6-8 grade teachers in at K-8 schools that have departmentalized
- Revisions to Article 24 language that will bring greater levels of clarity to the work of school leadership teams.
The District is receiving tremendous increases in funding this year from the state. However, the funding is coming in a variety of ways. More than half of the funds are coming in the form of "one-time" money. One-time money should not be used for on-going expenses such as salary increases. Another source of funding is the Supplemental Grant (which has a set of guidelines for its use). The third funding source is the Base Grant, which is on-going and has no restrictions for its use. Approximate totals for these sources of funding are: $23 million of one-time money, $9 million for the supplemental grant , and 21 million for the base grant. A significant portion of the "on-going" base grant funds must be balanced by substantial increases in PERS/STRS for the District and the continued possibility of declining enrollment trends.
Even with the PERS/STRS increases and possible declining enrollment, SJTA believes that a 4% salary increase is fair and reasonable. The District's bargaining team will meet with the School Board on Tuesday night, and bargaining is scheduled to resume on Thursday, August 13. We anticipate that the District's counter proposal will be shared at that time. Both parties have expressed a commitment to reach an early settlement this year. We will continue to keep you updated as we progress.
Bargaining Update: Salary Improvements Remain Top Priority As District Revenue Continues Upward
As the District continues to receive historic levels of revenues, negotiating reasonable salary improvements for all members remain the top priority of SJTA. As of this report, the Legislature and the Governor have agreed upon a budget that provides more than $6 billion in ongoing funding to the Local Control Funding Formula. Final numbers for the State Budget Act will be known by mid-July.
For San Juan, a preliminary review translates roughly to an increase of $19 million in funding base, $10 million in supplemental monies, and close to $22 million in one-time monies. However, this overall positive picture is balanced by the complexities of the new formula, declining enrollment, and uncertainty surrounding the expiration of Prop 30 in two years.
Supplemental monies, by statute, must be used to improve learning for the three targeted student populations that include low-income, foster youth, and English learners. Of the $22 million of one-time monies, approximately $3-4 million must be set aside for investments in professional development, beginning teacher induction programs and other supports for "educator effectiveness." The remaining amount has no strings.
This leaves approximately $19 million of the base grant, and includes Grade Span Adjustment (GSA) money, for the bargaining table that include simultaneous consideration of ongoing costs such as salary schedule increases, PERS and STRS rate increases, health care, and class size reduction. Based upon the results from our spring survey, SJTA is looking at ways to both increase the base salary and the possibility of adding optional days to the school year that would be paid at the daily rate. While the survey indicated a primary focus on increasing the salary schedule, 60% of respondents indicated an interest in additional days that may be used for various purposes. 85% of respondents indicated they wanted SJTA to be creative in providing the largest overall increase possible.
Much of the initial bargaining this spring has been truing up last year's agreement regarding class size reduction, which will begin to reduce class sizes to 26 in TK-1 this fall in all schools. Additionally, SJTA is hopeful that a few schools will be able to accelerate the adjustment to include 2nd grade as well due to increased funding and space availability. The process calls for consideration of avoiding displacement of families, trying to avoid multiple combination classes and the available space. Additionally, High Schools are receiving additional staffing for ELD instruction, math support classes, and credit recovery opportunities for students.
Also being negotiated are improvements to Article 24 and appropriately resourcing K-8 schools. Some leadership teams and their staffs continue to struggle with decision-making and a less than full understanding of Article 24. Despite early signals that the district was willing to consider improvements to K-8 middle years programs, the parties have been unable to reach any substantial agreements at this time. SJTA recommends appropriate stipends, additional prep time for middle years teachers, a full time PE teacher, and adequate facilities such as locker rooms for 6-8 grade students.
Last year, there was a full contract up for negotiations. With fewer items on the table this summer, SJTA and the District remain committed to an early settlement. Once the Governor signs the state Budget Act by July 1, SJTA and the District will complete a final analysis of available funding for a settlement. The next update will be in late July or early August.
SJTA is proud to announce the signing of the System of Professional Growth (SPG) Pilot
The SPG Pilot is predicated on the deeply held belief of both SJTA and SJUSD that educators are professionals that continue to grow and improve in their craft throughout their career. All levels of experience and effectiveness deserve an environment in which to further their skills. The current model of evaluation does little to support this belief.
Therefore, it is the interest of both SJUSD and SJTA to create a systematic, non- adversarial process that supports all practitioners in their ongoing professional growth to improve and deepen their practice. This new pilot is designed to change the structure of what we now refer to as "evaluation."
SJTA Letter To School Board Supports ECE Redesign
And Warns Against Subcontracting Out
March 4, 2015
Madam President Costa:
I write to you and your colleagues to express SJTA's unequivocal support of the joint recommendation to redesign Early Care and Education in San Juan and the financial investments associated with it. Innumerable studies of well-designed early care, early learning, and extended learning programs demonstrate that they produce long-term improvements in school success, including higher achievement test scores, lower rates of grade repetition and special education, and higher educational attainment.
High quality early care and learning programs are a smart long-term investment as studies show the achievement gap happens before kindergarten. Findings from a groundbreaking study show that children from poor households enter kindergarten with a listening vocabulary of 3000 words vs. 20,000 words from children in middle-income households. These findings indicate how essential early learning can be for disadvantaged children and how the learning gap is evident even prior to kindergarten.
We are positioned well in California, as this is an unprecedented time in terms of a surging economy and historic levels of revenue to the district. Moreover, LCFF empowers school districts to determine how to apportion dollars to best meet the needs of their students and hold them accountable for results. Many studies demonstrate that investing in early care and education yields a return on investment of up to $7 per public dollar contributed. Longitudinal findings from model early childhood programs further point to long-term academic and social benefits consisting of increased earnings, improved health, more positive family relationships, and reductions in remedial education, crime, and receipt of public assistance. High quality early care and learning programs more than pay for themselves in the longer term.
And nothing in the LCFF regulations preclude apportioning monies to Early Care and Early Learning. LAUSD Board of Education recently just committed to investing $34 million to support the needs of it youngest learners, making it the largest investment in ECE of LCFF funds in the state. Rethinking the use of our Title One monies is also a strategy districts around the country have utilized regarding extended learning time. Any thoughtful review of the literature strongly suggests that investing in high quality support for the most vulnerable of our children at the earliest onset makes financial sense.
An equally important matter is SJTA's response to Board members' inquiry regarding sub-contracting out for such services. High quality early learning programs have educated, engaged teachers and staff, a safe, healthy and child-friendly environment, small class sizes and teacher-to-child ratios, stimulating activities and appropriately structured routines. Our members are the ones that deliver this program each and every day.
The idea of subcontracting out services needs to be disregarded as any legitimate solution. SJTA believes that any effort in this area will constitute a grievance and unfair practice, as it will be seen as an attempt to undermine our current collective bargaining agreement. It was obviously considered as a way to save money by bypassing the current wage rate previously agreed to in the collective bargaining agreement. Any attempt to abrogate the right of our members to continue to do this work and pursue cheaper and less skilled labor will be seen as a unilateral reduction of a negotiated wage and an attempt to weaken our unit.
Finally, I acknowledge the Board's fiscal responsibility to question all aspects of the plan put forward and fully respect their due diligence in this matter. In this an era of scarce public resources, San Juan must spend wisely and prioritize investments that pay off. As a school district, we cannot solve all of society's ills or meet every need. But when the student need directly affects the learning, we must meet that challenge. The proposed ECE plan, which will be reviewed annually for the purpose of making necessary adjustments, is designed to meet these needs and be cost-effective for the system over the long-term. There is no better time for this investment.
San Juan Teachers Association
Cc: Greg Paulo, Lucinda Luttgen, Saul Hernandez, Mike McKibben, Kent Kern
Strong Schools | K-12 School Funding
Contract Ratification Now Complete!
We have ratified our contract with a 95% approval rate! And based upon the Superintendent's recommendation, the School Board has just voted unanimously to ratify the contract as well. A few of the highlights include:
- A salary increase of 4.5 percent, with 3 percent retroactive to July 1, 2014 and the remaining 1.5 percent effective Feb. 1, 2015. Retroactive payment will be received no later than Jan. 30, 2015.
- Class sizes will be reduced in K-3 to an average of 26.5 and a maximum of 27. There will also be reductions in 4-6 to an average of 26 with a maximum of 29. The reduction begins next year with kindergarten and first grade, then grows one grade level per year until fully implemented.
- An improvement to the extra assignment rate schedule to $36 per hour for members credited up to 10 years of experience and $46 per hour for those with 11+ years starting in July of 2015.
- Hiring additional nurse staffing.
- Increase of elementary prep time from 150 minutes to 160 minutes.
- A hearing aid benefit on both WHA and Kaiser plans beginning in the 2016 plan year.
SJTA Cites Progress As Bargaining Teams Continue To Meet
October 25, 2014
SJTA and the District continued to meet throughout last week to close the gap on many of the issues still on the table. The parties focused on increased salary options and clarifications of the legal implications for funding the new class size reduction program. "Unfortunately it is a slow process but we are not light years apart anymore," said Shannan Brown, SJTA President.
Although the bargaining sessions are confidential, SJTA will continue to inform our members by posting any new proposal by either party. The next bargaining session is scheduled for Monday, October 27. The teams are making every effort to finalize this agreement early next week.
District Makes Movement, But Proposal Still Falls Short
October 20, 2014
On Friday, October 17 the SJTA Bargaining team received a new offer from the district. The offer consisted of the following:
- 2.5% retro salary increase (as of July 2014)
- 1.75% salary increase beginning February 2015 (this represents an increase of 3.375% in 2014/15 and which results in ongoing 4.25% beginning in 15/16)
- Grade Span Adjustment at the elementary level TK – 5/6 (elementary and K-8)
- 26 – 1 ratio school wide (with a 28-1 max)
- Begin with TK – 1st grade in 2015/16
- 2nd in 2016/17
- 3rd in 2017/18
- 4th in 2018/19
- 5th in 2019/20
- 6th in 2020/21 (elementary and K-8 schools only)
- Increase in the Districts ability to modify the school day by 10 minutes from year to year without consultation with SJTA or members
Additionally, the District dropped its demands requiring that teachers forfeit a greater number of their prep periods and an increase the number of non-instructional duties. But the District still has failed to respond to all the issues that SJTA has brought to the table.
While on the surface, the District’s offer represents recognition of SJTA’s assertions that funds are available for a fair and reasonable salary increase – the district is still simply shifting funds that are designated from one place to another.
Specifically, the District’s initial offer of 2.38% (plus .7% if SJTA agreed to an 8% minimum reserve) was a cost to the district of $3.57 million. The district’s most recent salary proposal is essentially the same in actual dollars for this year, just repackaged. Regarding class size, the district’s proposed timeline for class size reduction is still a year behind the state funding. This means that the district wants to use money (approximately $1.2 million per year, per grade level) intended for class size for other purposes.
The District continues to site declining enrollment and concerns about their ability to pay their bills in the third “out” year – despite a current reserve of approximately $50 million. The District claims that despite a near record increase of $24 million this year over last, and a projected increase of approximately $19 million over the next two years, they will be forced to deficit spend in the 2016-17.
Ultimately, this set of negotiations has become a referendum about the district’s priorities. While they have fully restored the central office to pre-recession capacity, the district continues to delay the implementation of class size reduction as well as fair and reasonable salaries increases for practitioners.
The district’s most recent proposal, although not sufficient, does move the parties closer together to an overall agreement. Bargaining dates have been scheduled for Wednesday, October 21 and Friday the 23rd.
October 5, 2014
SJTA and the District resumed bargaining for several days last week in an effort to avoid impasse. While some progress has been made no agreement has been reached. The next bargaining session is schedule for October 7.
SJTA President Shannan Brown's Speech To the San Juan School Board on September 23, 2014
President Luttgen, Board Members, and Superintendent Kern:
San Juan Unified is esteemed for many reasons- one key reason being because of the ability of the District and the Association to work together- in innovative ways- to engage in meaningful work around teaching and learning.
For 6 long years, while the District was struggling financially, the Association and the District were able to work together - even when it came to money. Through our joint work on the healthcare committee, the District was able to save millions of dollars by making adjustments in our healthcare providers. The leadership of both District and our Association spent hundreds of hours figuring out how to keep the District fiscally solvent- even when it meant sacrifices to our own members.
Last year, as revenue began to return, and the district began to recover, there was no salary increase.
This year the District received more than 25 million in increased revenue. Now we need to know where you stand. You say you appreciate our contributions. You say you value us and the work we do to support students...
But those sentiments did not find there way into the district's budget priorities. In fact, if one were to use the budget to identify district priorities here are a few things one might conclude:
- You do highly value the work of the District Office- as they have been fully restored to their 2007-2008 staffing levels.
- You do value hiring consultants to fix teachers because we apparently don't know how to teach and no one within the district knows how to support us.
- You do value books and materials because that line item was increased 100 percent over last years actual cost- an increase of 12 million dollars
One could also look at the budget and conclude that you do not value:
- Your employees. The budget that was adopted has no increase for salaries. Zero. Not one dollar was booked to show that you planned on increasing employees' salaries- the employees that have gone now 7 years without an increase while their own bills have gone up.
One could also look at the budget and conclude that you do not value:
- Students. The people who provide direct services and supports to students are far below the 2007-2008 staffing levels. That means we continue to do more with less in supporting students as their needs grow increasingly diverse as evidenced by the following:
- Staffing ratios in 7-12 are tightened and then squeezed to see where the district can reduce one more FTE.
- Elementary classes remain packed
- Nurses, counselors, and speech pathologists, all have caseloads that are unmanageable- and they struggle to meet the needs of students
- Special Education teachers work nights and weekends to keep up with the legal deadlines of IEPs
No matter how committed and dedicated we are as professionals, no matter how many additional responsibilities we are willing to assume to support students and their families—we are now at our limit.
You need to reward us now by offering a fair and reasonable pay increase.
You need to hire additional staff so we can truly meet the needs of all of our students.
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.