• Local Issues Affect Us All

    After careful deliberation, research, and reaching out to the parties involved, the Representative Council of LTA has decided to take positions on two local issues that have/could have serious consequences for the students, teachers, schools and community of Lennox.

    First, on a petition to transfer approximately 4 blocks of territory from the enrollment area of the Lawndale Elementary School District to the Wiseburn Unified School District:

    Be it hereby resolved that the Lennox Teachers Association, proudly representing the teachers of the Lennox School District, does oppose the petition to transfer territory from the Lawndale Elementary School District (LESD) to the Wiseburn Unified School District (WUSD). We believe that this transfer of territory would be detrimental to the students, teachers and community of Lawndale, as well as to the students, teachers and communities of Hawthorne and Lennox, who – like Lawndale – send the majority of our middle school graduates to the Centinela Valley Unified School District (CVUSD).

    The loss of territory would have a negative impact on the LESD and its ability to provide the best-possible educational program to its students. It could also lead to the layoff of a number of highly-qualified Lawndale teachers and require the creation of additional combination classes where students from multiple grade-levels are squeezed together into the same classroom due to a lack of teachers. Similarly, the high schools of the CVUSD could be forced to layoff teachers, reduce course offerings and limit the educational opportunities of the Lawndale, Hawthorne and Lennox students enrolled there.

    The current “choice” agreement between the LESD and the WUSD allows students living in the territory in question to attend school in either district and has served the communities in question well for over 20 years. The LESD has publicly reiterated its commitment to this agreement and so has the WUSD. There is no need to change the boundaries of either school district, thereby increasing the size of the WUSD and reducing the choices available to the families in the neighborhood, half of whom currently choose to attend schools in the LESD. Beyond the negative impact on many residents of the “choice” blocks and the rest of Lawndale, the deleterious effects of transferring territory from the LESD to the WUSD would ripple across Hawthorne, Lennox and the whole of the Centinela Valley Unified School District.

    It is for these reasons that the Lennox Teachers Association opposes the petition to transfer territory from the Lawndale Elementary School District to the Wiseburn Unified School District.

    Second, on a grass-roots effort to recall three members of the Centinela Valley Unified School District’s Board of Education:

    The Lennox Teachers Association, proudly representing the teachers of the Lennox School District, adds its voice to the growing chorus calling for the recall of Centinela Valley Unified School District Board of Education members Maritza Molina, Rocio Pizano and Hugo Rojas. By a unanimous vote of its Representative Council, the Lennox Teachers Association joins the Centinela Valley Secondary Teachers Association and other concerned community members and organizations in the effort to remove those Board members who approved disgraced ex-superintendent Jose Fernandez’s outrageous compensation package and have wasted millions of dollars that could have been better spent on the students of Lennox, Lawndale and Hawthorne who attend the Centinela Valley Unified School District. We urge all registered voters in Lennox, Lawndale and Hawthorne to sign the recall petition, putting the recall on the November 2015 ballot and allowing all Centinela Valley voters to say, “Enough!”

    More information on the recall petition is available at recallcentinelaboard.wordpress.com. Sign it at one of the following local businesses:

    • Hank’s Bistro, at the corner of Rosecrans and Hawthorne Blvd.
    • Mark’s Barbershop, at 13913 Inglewood Ave.
    • Corner Burger, at the corner of 147th and Hawthorne Blvd.

    Or look for it any number of community events where dedicated volunteers will be more then happy to collect your signature!

     



  • Bargaining 2015!

    Last week at the School Board meeting our fabulous Bargaining Team sunshined the four articles they’ll be opening in during this year’s contract negotiations:

    • Article 6: Compensation & Benefits
    • Article 7: Work Year & Hours of Employment
    • Article 9: Class Size
    • Article 21: Special Education

    The district also sunshined the four articles it will be opening during negotiations:

    • Article 6: Compensation & Benefits
    • Article 7: Work Year & Hours of Employment
    • Article 10: Leave Provisions
    • Article 11: Evaluation

    The first bargaining session will take place on Friday, May 1, 2015.  Show your support for the LTA Bargaining Team by wearing blue!

    download the LTA sunshine

    download the district sunshine



  • Class-Size and Planning-Time Committees Make Recommendations

    Last year we created two committees – the LTA/LSD Class-Size Committee and the LTA/LSD Planning-Time Committee – comprised of teachers and administrators, to find a way to maintain our class sizes small even after the end of the QEIA program and to explore solutions for the long-standing problem of lack of planning time at the elementaries and lack of a planning period at LMS.  After meeting for almost six months, the committees have both reached their conclusions and made recommendations to the Superintendent and the School Board:

    Recommendations of the LTA/LSD Class-Size Committee

    After exploring several different models, and giving due consideration to the instructional, staffing and financial implications of each model, it is the unanimous recommendation of the LTA/LSD Class-Size Committee that the district establish the following grade-span-wide class-size average targets at each elementary school for the duration of the current Local Control Funding Formula program:

    • TK-1st Grade =       20:1
    • 2nd-3rd Grade =       24:1
    • 4th-5th Grade =       27:1

    All parties recognize that implementation and continuation of the above model is contingent on continued LCFF funding at at least current levels, and that the class-size average targets above are all well below the class-size averages required by both LCFF and the LTA Collective Bargaining Agreement. They represent an effort to establish best practices and create an environment where every student can receive the individual attention he or she needs to flourish. They are, however, targets that the district will strive to achieve. Instances where the district is not able to achieve the targets do not represent a violation of LCFF unless the school-wide TK-3rd grade-span average at a particular school exceeds 24:1 or of the LTA CBA unless the school-wide class-size average exceeds 29:1.

    Additionally, and in consultation with the LTA/LSD Planning-Time Committee, the LTA/LSD Class-Size Committee unanimously recommends that Lennox Middle School (grades 6-8) return to the school-wide class-size average of 29:1 as described in the LTA CBA, with a lower class-size average – in the range of 22:1-24:1 – in intervention classes. While higher than the ideal QEIA class-sizes LMS has enjoyed for the last 8 years, 29:1 still compares favorably with other area middle schools. The Committee further recommends that the increased flexibility allowed by a school-wide class-size average of 29:1 at LMS be used to establish a daily self-directed planning period for all teachers at the middle school, allowing for more effective planning and collaboration with colleagues, deeper and more timely reflection on student work, and better communication with parents and school administrators about student needs and progress.

    Recommendations of the LTA/LSD Planning-Time Committee

    With respect to the needs of teachers for more planning time to better meet the needs of their students, after considering several different models and in consultation with the LTA/LSD Class-Size Committee, it is the unanimous recommendation of the LTA/LSD Planning-Time Committee that the district establish a daily self-directed planning period for all teachers at Lennox Middle School, allowing for more effective planning and collaboration with colleagues, deeper and more timely reflection on student work, and better communication with parents and school administrators about student needs and progress.

    Additionally, the LTA/LSD Planning-Time Committee requests that the District-School Leadership Team consider modifying the district’s LCAP plan and reallocating approximately $75,000 to the elementary physical education program. This additional funding would allow the hiring of an additional .5 PE teacher and 2 .5 PE aides, and enable the elementary physical education program to expand from working with students once per week to twice per week. Rather than the 50 min/week students currently receive, they would benefit from 100 min/week of quality PE through the program, meaning that they would receive 100% of their federally required physical education instruction time taught by single-subject credentialed PE experts. Expanding the elementary physical education plan would also provide non-PE elementary teachers with 2 50-minutes blocks of planning and collaboration time each week, greatly increasing their ability to work with colleagues on engaging, rigorous Common-Core-aligned lessons, score and reflect on student work, and communicate with parents and school administrators.

     

    Now the Superintendent and the School Board will consider these recommendations and, hopefully, act on them quickly so that teachers and schools can begin planning for next year.



  • CTA, LTA and the Common Core

    LTA teachers have been very involved in the implementation of Common Core in Lennox, and, to their credit, the district has been very open to collaboration.  CTA has just published a pamphlet on the Common Core, and guess who gets a shout out?  LTA and our fabulous teachers.  I couldn’t be more proud.

    Screen Shot 2014-09-18 at 6.08.46 AM

    download the CTA “The Truth about Common Core State Standards” pamphlet

    download the LTA/LSD Common Core Implementation Committee MOU



  • Tentative Agreement Reached

    Your LTA Bargaining Team has reached a Tentative Agreement with the district.

    Tentative Agreement Highlights

    ARTICLE 3: ASSOCIATION RIGHTS

    • Extend number of LTA member release days for union business to 15.
    • Allow LTA to reimburse the district for president’s release time at the cost of a Step 1, Column 1 teacher.
    • Maintain 75% threshold for contract variance votes.

    ARTICLE 6: COMPENSATION & BENEFITS

    • Permanently reinstate 24-check pay cycle.
    • Increase teacher salaries by 6% (5% permanent increase + 1% additional, off the salary schedule, for 2014-15), retroactive to July 1, 2014.
    • Increase extra-duty rate of pay to $34 per hour.
    • Create $2,000 annual stipend for fully credentialed speech and language pathologists.
    • Add vision coverage to retiree benefits package.

    ARTICLE 7: WORK YEAR & HOURS OF EMPLOYMENT

    • Reject all increases to meeting time after 3:15 pm.
    • Reject proposed increase in adjunct duty hours.
    • Established one parent conference day per year that may extend beyond the normal contract hours, but no later than 5 pm, and for a work day no longer than 6.75 hours (e., ending at 5 pm would mean starting the work day at 9:30 am).
    • Create an LTA/LSD committee to explore the costs/logistics of establishing a planning period at LMS and weekly planning time at all elementary schools (MOU).

    ARTICLE 8: ASSIGNMENTS & TRANSFERS

    • Establish a 5-year term for TOSA positions, with a possible 3-year extension, before returning to the classroom.

    ARTICLE 9: CLASS SIZE

    • Create an LTA/LSD committee to explore the costs/logistics of reducing class sizes at all schools (MOU).

    ARTICLE 10: LEAVE PROVISIONS

    • Create an incentive for unit members to defer jury duty until vacation time.
    • Reject limits on P2 day usage.
    • Update child bearing, child rearing, and family care leave language to be consistent with FMLA, CPDLA, etc.

    ARTICLE 12: SAFETY CONDITIONS

    • Require the placement of 2 full-time campus safety personnel at LMS, w/ subs in case of absence.
    • Clarify language on repairs of lighting and all-calls.

    ARTICLE 18: SCHOOL LEADERSHIP

    • Clarify responsibilities of the School Leadership Teams but retain all functions and the democratic nature the committees.

    ARTICLE 21: SPECIAL EDUCATION

    • Create caseload caps for RSP and establish a caseload average for speech.

    ARTICLE 25: TERM

    • Contract will be valid for 3 years, with reopeners in 2015-16 and again in 2016-17 for compensation, benefits, and up to 3 other articles per party.

    download Bargaining Update #6

    download the full Tentative Agreement

    download the district’s morning counterproposals (not scanned yet)

    Two general meetings will be held to present the tentative agreement and to answer any questions you may have.

    • Wednesday, 9/17/14, 3:30-4:00 pm at LMS
    • Friday, 9/19/14, 3:30-4:00 pm at Moffett

    The ratification vote will be conducted on Monday, 9/22/14, and Tuesday, 9/23/14, at all school sites.