• Bargaining Update #4 – 8/29/16

    NO CHANGE IN HEALTH BENEFITS

    Your LTA Bargaining Team – led by Lisa Rubio (Huerta) and made up of Justin Catalán (Moffett), Gary Moore (LMS), Jim Nadler (LMS) and Andrew Staiano (CTA staff) – met with the district bargaining team today. The district team consists of Dr. Hiacynth Martinez (Chief Personnel Officer), Kevin Franklin (Chief Financial Officer), Polo Marquez (Felton VP) and Steve Andelson (attorney).

    Based on conversations with members and the results of the most recent bargaining survey, one of LTA’s main objectives today was to reach an understanding with the district aboutpermanentlylowering the cost of health benefits. Because the open enrollment window closed Friday, we knew we had a very limited window of opportunity to come to an agreement lowering the cost of benefits and giving members an opportunity to make changes to their plan choices. We offered to accept the district’s estimate of the cost of LTA’s benefits proposal as equal to a 1% increase in salary, and to reduce our salary proposal from 5% to 4%. The district rejected this offer, instead proposing to instate LTA’s benefits proposalfor one year only,and to increase salary by a mere 0.5% for one year,off the salary schedule. The district resisted all efforts to decouple the discussion of health benefits and salary, and insisted that any agreement today include both benefits and final salary increase amounts. Despite close analysis of the district’s cost estimates demonstrating that more money is available, the district held firm to its proposal of one year of health benefits, a one-time 0.5% “bonus,” and no permanent salary increase. As much as your LTA Bargaining Team wanted to reach an agreement on benefits today, a one-year respite in health benefit costs coupled with a meager – and temporary – increase to salary is both unacceptable and insulting. We simply could not agree to that. So, sorry folks, it looks like there will be no improvement in health benefits this year.

    In regard to other proposals, the districtrejected:

    • stipends for combo classes and middle school teachers with 3 or more preps,
    • increasing the work year by 7 pupil-free days, stating that there are no plans for professional development beyond June 2017 when the current PD MOU expires,
    • continuing elementary PE/planning and the LMS planning period beyond the expiration of the current planning time MOU in June 2017,
    • creating permanent super minimum days for scoring,
    • maintaining lower class sizes once the current class-size MOU expires in June 2017, and
    • lowering special ed case loads.

    The district alsomaintainedtheir proposals to:

    • allow principals to extend Wednesday meetings until 4 pm to address unspecified “unforeseen circumstances requiring immediate attention,”
    • limit the scope of teacher participation in school decision-making via School Leadership Teams, and finally,
    • delay reopening the entire contract for renegotiation until 2019, two years later than the contract currently stipulates.

    Clearly this has been a disappointing day, particularly with regard to the district’s shortsightedness on important issues like health benefits, professional development, planning time and class sizes. It is also clear we will need to step up our efforts to educate the district, school board and community on the importance of these issues and the ways that they benefit not only teachers, but students as well. The district’s compulsive focus on the cost of these programs, rather than their benefit to students and teachers, has convinced us that some of these issues will be better dealt with during the next bargaining cycle. We, therefore, made the difficult but strategic decision to postpone further discussion about elementary PE/planning, the LMS planning period, and lower class sizes until early 2017.

    Our final proposal of the day:

    • offered to drop demands for an increase in health benefits in exchange for a full 5% permanent salary increase (if we can’t save people money on benefits, we can at least make up some of the difference in salary),
    • maintained demands for stipends for combo classes and middle school teachers with 3 or more preps, and a $40/hour teacher hourly rate,
    • proposed increasing the the work year by 5 pupil-free days (which would result in a 2.7% working raise),
    • rejected the district’s vague proposal for meetings until 4 pm,
    • maintained proposals lowering special ed case loads.

    Be on the lookout for communications from the Organizing Team in the next few weeks on how you can help support our continuing bargaining efforts.

    The two teams are scheduled to meet again September 20 and October 13.

    download the full text of LTA’s morning proposal

    download the full text of the district’s proposal

    download the full text of LTA’s afternoon proposal

    download Bargaining Update #4


  • Bargaining Update #3 – 8/2/16

    Your LTA Bargaining Team – led by Lisa Rubio (Huerta) and made up of Justin Catalán (Moffett), Jim Nadler (LMS) and Andrew Staiano (CTA staff) – met with the district bargaining team during summer to hear the district’s initial bargaining proposals and responses to LTA’s proposals from June. The district team consists of Dr. Hiacynth Martinez (Chief Personnel Officer), Kevin Franklin (Chief Financial Officer), Polo Marquez (Felton VP) and Steve Andelson (attorney).

    District Proposal Highlights:

    ARTICLE 6: COMPENSATION & BENEFITS

    • District made no specific salary or benefits proposals/counterproposals, but provided their estimates of the cost of various LTA proposals:
      • 5% salary increase = $1,685,000
      • Increase teacher hourly rate to $40/hour = $108,000
      • LTA benefits proposal,i.e., district fully pays the lowest costemployee + 1plan, and applies that same $ amount to all other plans = $375,000
      • $2,000 stipends for combo classes at elementary and 3-or-more preps at LMS = $70,000

    ARTICLE 7: WORK YEAR & HOURS OF EMPLOYMENT

    • District made no specific counterproposals to LTA’s proposal to add 7 pupil-free days paid at theper diemrate to the teacher work calendar (3 summer PD/prep days, 1 PD/planning day per trimester, make spring parent conference day a pupil-free day rather a super minimum day); district estimated the cost of 7 pupil-freeper diemdays at $1,075,000/year. Significantly, district made no proposals about what to do when the current MOU creating 3 voluntary summer PD/planning days and 3 voluntary mid-year Saturday PD/planning days expires at the end of the 2016-2017 school year (the current MOU, btw, cost the district about $522,000/year).
    • District accepted (in principle) LTA proposed clean-up to Articles 7.4, 7.4.1, 7.5, 7.6.1, and 7.6.2, clarifying and better defining student dismissal times and minimum days.
    • District rejected LTA proposal to dismiss LMS students at 1:38 pm on Wednesdays (when elementary schools do). Rather, district counter-proposed giving principals at all schools the authority to extend the teacher workday to 4:00 pm on Wednesdays, as needed, to “address unforeseeable issues that require immediate attention.”
    • District rejected LTA proposal to a) make elementary PE/planning time permanent, and b) make 100% of PE days teacher-directed; district also rejected LTA proposal to make LMS planning period permanent. In both cases, district cited the cost of the programs (estimated by the district at $2,050,000/year… although, those costsarealready part of the current budget…).
    • District rejected LTA proposal to add 3 super minimum days for scoring to the contract.
    • District rejected LTA proposal to eliminate morning yard duty.

    ARTICLE 9: CLASS SIZE

    • District made no specific counterproposals to LTA’s class-size proposals, but estimated the cost of reduced class averages at $1,000,000.

    ARTICLE 10: LEAVE PROVISIONS

    • District proposed updating language on maternity leave and family leave to reflect changes in state and federal statutes.

    ARTICLE 14: PEER ASSISTANCE AND REVIEW PROGRAM

    • District proposed eliminating the entire article because the state no longer funds PAR.

    ARTICLE 15: STAFF DEVELOPMENT BUY BACK DAYS

    • District proposed eliminating the entire article because the state no longer funds “buy back days.”

    ARTICLE 18: SCHOOL LEADERSHIP

    • District proposed narrowing the scope of School Leadership Teams to only those topics listed in Article 18, removing references to “school-wide, grade-level or departmental issues.” District proposal also removes staffing priorities, student discipline policies, and school safety from the list of SLT topics, and moves SLT meetings to after school rather than during the workday.

    ARTICLE 21: SPECIAL EDUCATION

    • District made no specific counterproposals to LTA’s caseload proposals, but estimated the cost of reduced caseloads at $340,000.

    ARTICLE 25: TERM

    • District proposed not opening the full contract for negotiations until 2019-2020 (rather than 2017-2018, as currently required), and opening just 2 articles + compensation/ benefits in 2017-2018 and 2018-2019.

    Meeting with the district during summer has helped move negotiations forward, but as anyone concerned about the increase in the cost of health benefits can tell you, the enrollment window for next year is fast approaching. Your LTA Bargaining Team will make every effort to reach an agreement with the district as soon as possible, maybe even a partial agreement dealing with benefits, but not at the expense of achieving important long-term goals that will help our students and benefit our members. We will try to bring down our insurance costs for this year, but we’re fighting for a permanent improvement to our health benefits, and it is more important to get it right than to get it quick. Until we negotiate an agreement with the district, each of you will need to select the health benefits plan that best meets your family’s needs and that you can afford based on the current prices.

    The two teams are scheduled to meet again August 29, September 22 and October 13.

    download full text of district proposals

    download Bargaining Update #3


  • Negotiations Begin

    The LTA Bargaining Team – led by Lisa Rubio (Huerta) and made up of Sigrid Caballero (SpEd preschool), Justin Catalán (Moffett), Jim Nadler (LMS) and Andrew Staiano (CTA staff) – met with the district’s bargaining team Friday morning to present our initial bargaining proposals. The district’s team consists of Dr. Hiacynth Martinez (Sr. Dir. of Personnel), Kevin Franklin (Sr. Dir. of Fiscal Services), Polo Marquez (LMS Dean of Students) and Steve Andelson (attorney).

    LTA Proposal Highlights:

    ARTICLE 6: COMPENSATION & BENEFITS

    • Increase salaries by 5%
    • Increase extra-duty rate of pay to $40/hour
    • Increase health benefits across all medical plans, evening contributions so the district pays the same amount into each plan, and permanently establish one 100% district-paid Employee + 1 plan
    • Establish $2,000 stipends for elementary teachers assigned combo classes and middle-school teachers with 3 or more preps

    ARTICLE 7: WORK YEAR & HOURS OF EMPLOYMENT

    • Add 7 work days to the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 calendars – 3 PD/planning days before school begins in August, 3 pupil-free PD/planning days during the school year, and increasing the spring Parent Conference day to a full, pupil-free day, all paid at the per diem rate (equivalent to another 3.8% salary increase)
    • Permanently establish 100 minutes of teacher-directed planning/preparation time/week for preschool and elementary teachers (8 PEs/month for teachers, 0 for principals, although principals could “trade” 1 PE for 1 Wednesday afternoon)
    • Permanently establish 1 period of teacher-directed planning/preparation time/day for middle school teachers
    • Better define student dismissal times at all grade levels, and standardize Wednesday early dismissal at 1:38 pm for all schools
    • Clarify super minimum day responsibilities, and permanently establish 3 super minimum days/year for scoring
    • Eliminate morning yard duty

    ARTICLE 9: CLASS SIZE

    • Permanently re-establish CSR/QEIA-like grade-span averages:
      • TK-1 20:1
      • 2-3 22:1
      • 4-5 25:1
      • 6-8 27:1
    • Calculate grade-span averages for schools-within-schools (like Dual Language and School of Engineering) separately from the rest of the school so that students in and out of the programs can benefit from smaller class sizes
    • Calculate/check grade-span averages monthly rather than yearly
    • Create class-size maximums, in most cases 2-3 higher than the average above, and caps of 15:1 in LMS intervention, ELD and special education classes

    ARTICLE 21: SPECIAL EDUCATION

    • Create caseload caps for SDC teachers, and lower existing caps for RSP teachers and Speech and Language Pathologists

    Due to the delays in the bargaining timeline this year, the LTA Bargaining Team made the unprecedented suggestion that the two teams continue negotiating through the summer in hopes of resolving some of the more time-sensitive issues (like benefits and class sizes for next year) as soon as possible. The district’s team declined, but pointed out that the district has postponed the benefits enrollment/adjustment window until fall… in case negotiations results in a change to district and employee contribution levels and people want to adjust their plans as a result. The two teams are scheduled to meet again August 29, September 22, and October 13; additional dates will be scheduled if possible.

    As always, the LTA Bargaining Team is committed to improving the learning environment for students and the working conditions for teachers in Lennox. We believe our proposals will help meet the needs of teachers and assist the district in the era of Common Core and LCFF/LCAP. It is our desire to reach an agreement as soon as possible, but not at the expense of achieving important goals that will help our students, benefit our members, and be consistent with the priorities of the Lennox community.

    Read the full text of the LTA proposals:

    Download LTA Initial Proposals

    Download LTA Bargaining Update #2


  • 2016-2017 Bargaining Update #1

    The LTA Bargaining Team this year is led by Lisa Rubio (Huerta) and includes Sigrid Caballero (SpEd preschool), Justin Catalán (Moffett), Jim Nadler (LMS) and Andrew Staiano (CTA staff). The LSD team includes Hiacynth Martinez (Personnel), Kevin Franklin (Fiscal Services) and Steve Andelson (attorney).

    On April 26th, the LTA Bargaining Team sunshined the contract articles it will be opening this year, and the required public hearing on the sunshine was held on May 24th. On May 24th, the district also sunshined the contract articles they will be opening, and their public hearing will be held at the School Board meeting on June 14th.

    As you may have noticed, the bargaining process has moved more slowly this year than in recent years. This is primarily because the School Board canceled Board meetings in March, April and May, which delayed the sunshine/public hearing process for both LTA and the district. Fortunately, all of our MOUs with the district are for both the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 school years, so current language about class sizes, planning time, and summer PD will be in effect for one more year. Additionally, negotiating salary and benefits in the fall may work to our advantage because there are a number of uncertainties right now regarding the state budget. School Services of California (the company most school districts look to for budgetary forecasts) has warned of a possible financial downturn, as well as questions about the continuation of Prop 30, and has advised school districts to bargain conservatively. Once the final state budget is passed in June, and we have a better idea about the likelihood of the Children’s Education and Healthcare Protection Act (the successor to Prop 30) passing, we may be in a more favorable bargaining environment.

    LTA Sunshine Articles:

    • ARTICLE 6: COMPENSATION & BENEFITS
    • ARTICLE 7: WORK YEAR & HOURS OF EMPLOYMENT
    • ARTICLE 9: CLASS SIZE
    • ARTICLE 21: SPECIAL EDUCATION

    download the full LTA Sunshine

    District Sunshine Articles:

    • ARTICLE 6: COMPENSATION & BENEFITS
    • ARTICLE 10: LEAVE PROVISIONS
    • ARTICLE 18: SCHOOL LEADERSHIP
    • ARTICLE 25: TERM
    • The district has also proposed eliminating ARTICLE 14: PEER ASSISTANCE AND REVIEW PROGRAM and ARTICLE 15: STAFF DEVELOPMENT BUY BACK DAYS because the state no longer funds these programs.

    download the full LSD Sunshine

    The LTA Bargaining Team is committed to improving the learning environment for students and the working conditions for teachers in Lennox. We believe our proposals will help meet the needs of teachers and assist the district in the era of Common Core and LCFF/LCAP. It is our desire to reach an agreement as soon as possible, but not at the expense of achieving important goals that will help our students, benefit our members, and be consistent with the priorities of the Lennox community.

    download this Bargaining Update #1


  • Preliminary LTA Election Results

    Here are the preliminary results of the 2016 LTA Elections:

    E-Board

    President –
    Brian Guerrero

    Vice President Contractual Affairs –
    Priscilla Avila

    Vice President Curriculum –
    Vacancy*

    Site Reps

    Buford –
    Vacancy*
    Vacancy

    Felton –
    Lupe Laguna
    Natalie Reyes

    Huerta –
    Tam Premsrirath
    Vacancy*

    Jefferson –
    Diana Powell Blue
    Vacancy*

    Moffett –
    Jessica Gomez
    Priscilla Avila

    LMS –
    Gary Moore
    Webster Peters
    Vacancy*

    SpEd Preschool –
    Vacancy

    TOSAs –
    Erica Kilgore

    * Pending notification of write-in candidates