2017-2018 Bargaining Update #5

On Friday, October 20, your LTA Bargaining Team, led by veteran negotiator Lisa Rubio (Huerta) and including Priscilla Avila (Moffett), Justin Catalan (TOSA), Gary Moore (LMS), Jim Nadler (LMS) and Andrew Staiano (CTA staff), met with the LSD team, made up of Hiacynth Martinez (Personnel), Kevin Franklin (Fiscal Services), Eddie Garcia (Pupil Services), Lissett Pichardo (LMS principal) and Steve Andelson (attorney). This was the fourth meeting between the two teams this negotiations cycle. The two teams exchanged several proposals and counterproposals over the course of the session.

The two teams made good progress on topics such as the Association’s right to communicate with new bargaining unit members, teacher assignment and transfer procedures and timelines, the amount of release time teachers get for room changes, how often permanent teachers need to be evaluated, and the requirement for teachers to get prior approval for coursework units they want to use for advancement on the salary scale. Discussions have been thoughtful and the teams are nearing agreement on several items.

Additionally, after several months of analysis and discussion, your LTA Bargaining Team has proposed a 4% increase in teacher salaries, retroactive to July 1, 2017. How did they arrive at this number? According to the district’s 2017-2018 budget, the district expects to maintain a “reserve” equal to approximately 6% of its annual budget this year. The state requires all districts to hold a minimum of 3% of their annual budget in reserves and not spend it on anything, which leaves about half of the district’s reserves, or 3%, or approximately $2,000,000, available. The next calculation was the “cost of 1%,” which is how much it would cost to increase the salary of every bargaining unit member by 1%. Based on where every teacher currently is on the salary schedule, it would cost approximately $400,000 to increase everyone’s salary by 1%. Knowing that the district’s estimate of a 6% reserve was based on enrollment projections that included Virtual Academy enrollment of about 500 students and that the actual number is currently closer to 300, and that increases in classified and management salaries will most likely be similar to increases in teacher salary, and, finally, that it would be irresponsible for the district to spend its reserves down to the absolute minimum, the LTA Bargaining Team believes that the district could legitimately and viably afford to increase teacher salaries by up to 4%.

Please be aware, however, that other things we are asking for (based on member input, as always) have costs associated with them, too. For example, teachers have told us for years that disparities in class sizes between classes in specialty programs like dual language and regular classes are bad for students and create extra stress and workload for teachers who aren’t part of those programs. The LTA Bargaining Team has proposed that the enrollment averages of DL and non-DL classes should be calculated separately, and that both should meet all contractual and MOU class-size average requirements. If we achieve this, it will be a huge step forward for students and teachers in Lennox, but it will cost money. Similarly, with the move toward including more students with special needs in general ed classes, the class sizes of general ed teachers have drifted up because some special ed students don’t appear on the general ed teachers’ rosters and aren’t factored in when calculating the teachers’ class-size averages. The LTA Bargaining Team has proposed that all students should appear on general ed teachers’ rosters and should be accounted for when figuring class-size averages. Again, achieving this would be a tremendous step forward for students with special needs and their teachers, but it would also have a cost. There aren’t multiple pots of money available for different uses anymore, so any additional costs will have to come out of the district’s reserves… just like our salary increase. Fortunately, increasing teacher salaries has never been Lennox teachers’ only priority, and we’ve always balanced teachers’ need for a decent salary with the desire to improve the teaching conditions and the learning environment of students. As the LTA Bargaining Team continues to negotiate with the district, they will work to determine the actual costs of our pro-student proposals, as well as the most current estimates of the district’s budget and reserves, and will bring this information back to the membership so they can gauge your priorities and the best balance to seek in a final agreement with the district.

The two teams are scheduled to meet again on Friday, December 1 to continue exchanging counterproposals and to exchange further proposals for salary increases and other cost items. As always, thank you all for your continued patience and support. We appreciate your words of encouragement and all of you who wear your LTA shirts on bargaining days!

LTA Most-Recent Counterproposal Highlights:

ARTICLE 3: ASSOCIATION RIGHTS

  • District will provide a ½-day orientation (paid per diem) for newly hired bargaining unit members on the day prior to the first day of the work year, the last hour of which may be utilized by the Association for union orientation and sign-ups; for new hires after the start of the work year, the District will notify the Association the date and time of their orientation/intake.
  • District will also provide LTA with new hires job titles, work locations and contact information within 30 days of employment. Upon request of the Association, District will provide Association with the job titles, work locations and contact information of all current bargaining unit members within 5 days.

ARTICLE 6: SALARY & BENEFITS

  • Increase salary schedule by 4%, retroactive to July 1, 2017.
  • Establish a fixed enrollment window for health benefits open enrollment, ending Sept 15 of each year.
  • Add “dependents” to retiree benefits eligibility.

ARTICLE 8: ASSIGNMENTS & TRANSFERS

  • Clean up and clarify assignment and transfer definitions.
  • Increase teacher notification of next year’s assignment to 10 days prior to the end of the year, and post all know open positions for the next year 10 day prior to the end of the year (rather than by June 15th).
  • Clean up and clarify processes for voluntary, principal-initiated*, and superintendent-initiated* transfers.
  • Increase release time given to teachers for room changes, assignment changes, and transfers, adding 1 additional day to current release time offered in each case, and permitting (by mutual agreement with principal) paid overtime rather than release time.
  • Eliminate “under most circumstances” from language pertaining to flying TOSA and certificated administrator vacancies, requiring the district to fly all such openings.

ARTICLE 11: EVALUATION

  • Change the frequency of evaluation for permanent teachers with 10+ years of experience and prior satisfactory evaluations from up to every 3 years to up to every 5 years.
  • Form a PAR Committee to explore new language for teacher support in case of Needs to Improve or Unsatisfactory

ARTICLE 17: PRIOR WRITTEN APPROVAL FOR COURSEWORK

  • Association agrees to modify current practices for requesting prior approval for coursework for advancement on the salary schedule, making the timeline more strict and eliminating retroactive pay adjustments for requests for courses approval after course completion, with the exception of district-approved conferences and workshops that offer continuing education units, the approval of which could still be requested after attendance.

LSD Most-Recent Counterproposal Highlights:

ARTICLE 3: ASSOCIATION RIGHTS

  • District will provide a ½-day orientation for newly hired bargaining unit members within the first 30 days of the work year, the last hour of which may be utilized by the Association for union orientation and sign-ups; for new hires after the start of the work year, the District will notify the Association the date and time of their orientation/intake.

ARTICLE 8: ASSIGNMENTS & TRANSFERS

  • District offers to increase teacher notification of next year’s assignment to 6 days prior to the end of the year, and post all know open positions for the next year 6 day days prior to the end of the year (rather than by June 15th).
  • District accepts some language clarifications on voluntary, principal-initiated, and superintendent-initiated transfers proposed by LTA
  • District offers to increase release time given to teachers for principal-initiated and superintendent-initiated transfers to 2 days (up from 1 day), but rejects increasing release time for voluntary transfers; District agrees to increase release time for required room changes during the school year to 2 days (up from 1 day), but rejects granting release time to teachers who have to change rooms at the end of the school year and have sufficient notice.
  • Eliminate the contractual requirement to fly TOSA and certificated administrator vacancies.

ARTICLE 11: EVALUATION

  • District accepts some language clarification regarding who is to be evaluated and when, and offers to extend the evaluation period of veteran teachers to up to every 4 years.

ARTICLE 17: PRIOR WRITTEN APPROVAL FOR COURSEWORK

  • Modify current practices for requesting prior approval for coursework for advancement on the salary schedule, making the timeline more strict and eliminating retroactive pay adjustments for requests for courses approval after course completion, with the exception of district-approved conferences and workshops that offer continuing education units, the approval of which could still be requested after attendance.

Full text of LTA AM proposal

Full text of LSD AM proposal

Full text of LTA PM proposal

Full text of LSD PM proposal

Download LTA Bargaining Update #5

Posted in assignments, bargaining, class size, district budget, evaluations, moves, salary, special ed, transfers | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

2017-2018 Bargaining Update #4

On Monday, September 25, your LTA Bargaining Team, led by veteran negotiator Lisa Rubio (Huerta) and including Priscilla Avila (Moffett), Justin Catalan (TOSA), Gary Moore (LMS), Jim Nadler (LMS) and Andrew Staiano (CTA staff), met with the LSD team, made up of Hiacynth Martinez (Personnel), Kevin Franklin (Fiscal Services), Eddie Garcia (Pupil Services), Lissett Pichardo (LMS principal) and Steve Andelson (attorney). This was the third meeting between the two teams this negotiations cycle. The district’s bargaining team presented counterproposals to our June 14 and August 15 proposals, and our team responded with counterproposals of their own.

Negotiations are going a little slowly at this point, but not because either side is deliberately wasting time; rather, the teams are discussing fairly complicated contractual language on topics such as the association’s right to communicate with new employees, assignment and transfer procedures and timelines, and the amount of teacher release time for classroom changes. Discussion has been thoughtful and both teams are interested in finding solutions that work for all stakeholders.

On issues with more costs associated, such as including students with IEPs on general ed teachers’ rosters (to hold down class sizes) and parity between class sizes in DL and non-DL classes, the focus has been on educating the district about why our proposals are important to teachers and students alike. While the district has not yet committed to any of our proposals or agreed to spend additional money on class sizes, the district’s team does now seem to understand why we are advocating for changes in how class-size averages are calculated.

Up to this point, discussions around contract language and class sizes have take up all of the negotiation time. The two teams have not yet discussed salary. However, between negotiations sessions, the LTA Bargaining Team has been busy reviewing and analyzing the district’s budget. The district currently has an approximately 6% reserve, which is 3% above the required 3% minimum. Some of that money could be used for salary increases, but adjustments to class sizes would also have to come from the same pool of money. Additionally, uncertainty around the district’s Virtual Academy makes estimating the amount of money the district has available challenging. Students enrolled in the Virtual Academy generate ADA money similar to students physically enrolled in regular Lennox schools. There are expenses associated with the program (computers lent to students, subscriptions to online curricula, stipends to teachers who monitor student progress), but overall the Virtual Academy generates more money for the district than it costs to run, thereby increasing the district’s revenues, and projected Virtual Academy revenues are included in the estimates of a 6% reserve. Unfortunately, in light of questions recently raised about the Virtual Academy, the future of the Virtual Academy is uncertain; the district remains confident that the Virtual Academy meets all state requirements, but if the Virtual Academy were to shut down, that additional revenue would no longer be available for other uses. Given this, it would be imprudent for LTA to reach an agreement with the district on salaries until we have a better idea of how much money will actually be available for the long term. Rest assured, though, that when the Bargaining Team does reach an agreement with the district on salary, it will expect it to be retroactive to July 1 of this year.

 

LSD Most-Recent Counterproposal Highlights:

ARTICLE 3: ASSOCIATION RIGHTS

  • District will also provide LTA with new teacher contact information within 30 days of employment.
  • District will notify LTA 10 days prior to any scheduled orientation for new teachers, and LTA would be given 30 minutes to meet with prospective new members.

ARTICLE 8: ASSIGNMENTS & TRANSFERS

  • District accepts some language clarifications on voluntary, principal-initiated*, and superintendent-initiated* transfers proposed by LTA, but rejects date changes giving teachers earlier notification of new assignments.
  • Eliminate the contractual requirement to fly TOSA and certificated administrator vacancies.

ARTICLE 17: PRIOR WRITTEN APPROVAL FOR COURSEWORK

  • Modify current practices for requesting prior approval for coursework for advancement on the salary schedule, making the timeline more strict and eliminating retroactive pay adjustments for courses approved after completion.

* Note: principal-initiated and superintendent-initiated transfers already exist in the contract (Articles 8.4.1 and 8.4.2); we are trying to better define the processes.

 

LTA Most-Recent Counterproposal Highlights:

ARTICLE 8: ASSIGNMENTS & TRANSFERS

  • Clean up and clarify assignment and transfer definitions.
  • Clean up and clarify processes for voluntary, principal-initiated*, and superintendent-initiated* transfers.
  • Increase release time given to teachers for room changes, assignment changes, and transfers, adding 1 additional day to each scenario, and permitting (by mutual agreement with principal) paid overtime rather than release time.
  • Eliminate “under most circumstances” from language pertaining to flying TOSA and certificated administrator vacancies, requiring the district to fly all such openings.

* Note: principal-initiated and superintendent-initiated transfers already exist in the contract (Articles 8.4.1 and 8.4.2); we are trying to better define the processes.

The two teams are scheduled to meet again on Friday, October 20 to continue exchanging counterproposals and to exchange proposals for salary increases and more costly items like class size. As always, thank you all for your continued patience and support. We appreciate your words of encouragement and all of you who wear your LTA shirts on bargaining days!

 

download Bargaining Update #4

download the full text of the LSD counterporopsals

download the full text of the LTA counterproposals

 

Posted in assignments, association rights, bargaining, class size, district budget, evaluations, moves, salary, special ed, transfers | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

2017-2018 Bargaining Update #3

On Tuesday, August 15, the LTA Bargaining Team, led by veteran negotiator Lisa Rubio (Huerta) and including Priscilla Avila (Moffett), Justin Catalan (TOSA), Gary Moore (LMS), Jim Nadler (LMS) and Andrew Staiano (CTA staff), met with the LSD team, made up of Hiacynth Martinez (Personnel), Kevin Franklin (Fiscal Services), Eddie Garcia (Pupil Services), Lissett Pichardo (LMS principal) and Steve Andelson (attorney). This was the second meeting between the two teams this cycle. The district’s bargaining team presented specific language proposals and counterproposals to LTA’s June 14 proposals. District team member Kevin Franklin was unable to attend this session, so the teams did not discuss salary or other “cost” items like class sizes, but the teams were able make progress on several language items.

LSD Proposal Highlights:

ARTICLE 3: ASSOCIATION RIGHTS

  • District proposes providing all new teachers with a LTA membership form and an LTA-created new member packet at orientation [in response to the recently-passed SB 104 guaranteeing unions access to prospective new members].
  • District will also provide LTA with new teacher contact information within 30 days.

ARTICLE 6: COMPENSATION & BENEFITS

  • Clarify definition of a full work year for the purpose of determining what 75% of the work year is and when teachers receive credit for working a “full year.”
  • Update the “relative salary position guarantee.”

ARTICLE 7: WORK YEAR & HOURS OF EMPLOYMENT

  • Modify language to specifically permit voluntary after-school meetings on Fridays. [DROPPED]
  • Add AM and PM transitional kindergarten dismissal times to the contract.

ARTICLE 8: ASSIGNMENTS & TRANSFERS

  • District accepts some language clarifications on voluntary, principal-initiated, and superintendent-initiated transfers proposed by LTA, but rejects date changes giving teachers earlier notification of new assignments.
  • Eliminate the contractual requirement to fly TOSA and certificated administrator vacancies.

ARTICLE 10: LEAVE PROVISIONS

  • Update parental leave language to be consistent with current EdCode. [TENTATIVE AGREEMENT]

ARTICLE 11: EVALUATION

  • District accepts some language clarification regarding who is to be evaluated and when, but rejects extending the evaluation period of veteran teachers to up to every 5 years.

ARTICLE 17: PRIOR WRITTEN APPROVAL FOR COURSEWORK

  • Modify current practices for requesting prior approval for coursework for advancement on the salary schedule, making the timeline more strict and eliminating retroactive pay adjustments for courses approved after completion.

download the full text of the district’s proposals

 

LTA Counterproposals:

ARTICLE 3: ASSOCIATION RIGHTS

  • Establish a ½-day (paid) new teacher orientation on the day prior to the first day of the regular work year; LTA would have a guaranteed time to meet with new teachers on that day.

download LTA’s counterproposals on Article 3

download LTA’s counterproposals on Article 8

download LTA’s counterproposals on other articles

 

The two teams are scheduled to meet again on Monday, September 25 to continue exchanging counterproposals and to discuss proposals for salary increases and more costly items like class size. The district will present the final (unaudited) 2016-2017 budget and reserves at the Tuesday, September 12 School Board meeting, so the teams will be looking at the most current budget numbers at the September 25th bargaining session.

download Bargaining Update #3

Posted in assignments, association rights, bargaining, class size, district budget, evaluations, leave, moves, salary, special ed, transfers | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2017-2018 Bargaining Update #2

The 2017-2018 negotiations cycle continues! On Wednesday, June 14, the LTA Bargaining Team, led by veteran negotiator Lisa Rubio (Huerta) and including Jim Nadler (LMS), Gary Moore (LMS), Justin Catalán (TOSA) and Andrew Staiano (CTA staff), met with the LSD team, made up of Hiacynth Martinez (Personnel), Kevin Franklin (Fiscal Services), Eddie Garcia (Pupil Services), Lissett Pichardo (LMS principal) and Steve Andelson (attorney). This was the first meeting between the two teams this cycle. The LTA Bargaining Team presented specific language proposals that we feel will greatly improve the learning conditions of students and the work conditions of teachers.

LTA Initial Proposal Highlights:

ARTICLE 6: COMPENSATION & BENEFITS

  • No proposal on salary yet due to continuing developments in the state budget.
  • Establish a fixed enrollment window for benefits open enrollment ending Sept 15 of each year.
  • Add “dependents” to retiree benefits eligibility.

ARTICLE 8: ASSIGNMENTS & TRANSFERS

  • Clean up and clarify assignment and transfer definitions.
  • Clean up and clarify processes for voluntary, principal-initiated, and superintendent-initiated transfers.
  • Increase release time given to teachers for room changes, assignment changes, and transfers, adding one additional day to each scenario, and permitting (by mutual agreement with principal) paid overtime rather than release time.
  • Eliminate “under most circumstances” from language pertaining to flying TOSA and certificated administrator vacancies, requiring the district to fly all such openings.

ARTICLE 9: CLASS SIZE

  • Include students with IEPs in the class-size calculations of their general education teachers to prevent bloated classes when students with IEPs “mainstream.”
  • Clarify that special education classes, intervention classes and other classes with artificially low class sizes should not be used when calculating the overall class-size average for LMS.
  • Calculate the class-size averages of DL and non-DL classes separately, and require that classes in both programs meet contractual and MOU class-size averages, to avoid inter-program disparities and unequal educational environments for students.

ARTICLE 11: EVALUATION

  • Change the frequency of evaluation for permanent teachers with 10+ years of experience and prior satisfactory evaluations from up to every three years to up to every five years.

Additionally, the LTA Bargaining Team suggested forming a joint exploratory committee to review the district’s new special programs (the School of Engineering, the School of Dentistry, the Lennox Virtual Academy, etc.), and explore their contractual implications.

The district team also reviewed their proposal (but did not present specific language).

LSD Proposal Highlights:

ARTICLE 6: COMPENSATION & BENEFITS

  • No proposal on salary due to continuing developments in the state budget.
  • Clarify that the number of days in a work year (used to calculate the 75% of a work year required to advance on the salary schedule) should be all work days [183] as opposed to instructional days [180]; i.e., that unit members must work 137.25 or more days, not 135, in order to advance on the salary schedule.
  • Amend and update Appendix B: Relative Position Salary Guarantee.

ARTICLE 7: WORK YEAR & HOURS OF EMPLOYMENT

  • Modify language to specifically permit voluntary after-school meetings on Fridays.
  • Establish contractual SpEd preschool and TK dismissal times.

ARTICLE 8: ASSIGNMENTS & TRANSFERS

  • Eliminate the contractual requirement to fly TOSA and certificated administrator vacancies.

ARTICLE 17: PRIOR WRITTEN APPROVAL FOR COURSEWORK

  • Clean up and clarify language describing unit member responsibility to obtain prior approval for coursework; eliminate provisions for retroactive salary increases when prior approval was not obtained.

State Budget

In other news, the state budget continues to evolve. We’ve made great progress in the last few years and are WAY ahead of the projections on LCFF funding and closing the gap between where we were in 2013-2014 and the targets for 2020-2021. At this point, we’re at about 87% of “full funding” from the state. Original budget estimates were that we’d close 73% of the remaining gap next year, but then, in the Governor’s January Budget, the gap closure dropped to 24% – still an increase in funding compared to this year, but not much. COLA was estimated at 1.48%. Then, in the May Revise, the gap closure went back up to 44% and COLA was adjusted to 1.56%. The Governor also proposed over $1 billion dollars in one-time monies for school districts for professional development, new teacher induction, instructional materials, and technology. The only catch was that it wouldn’t be paid out until May 2019. 2019! So… basically useless for long-term planning because who knows what could happen to that money before it actually gets sent to school districts. However, just last night, as details about the final state budget were becoming clear, it started looking like the pay-out date for that billion dollars will be moved up to 2018. Great news, if it happens. The State Legislature will vote on the final budget Thursday, and then our Bargaining Team can begin to analyze the approved state budget and its impact on Lennox. Once they have a better idea of what the district’s 2017-2018 budget will be, they can determine how much of a salary increase would be fair to teachers, balanced with the needs of students, and sustainable by the district. They will strive for as much of a raise as possible, but, in the interest of managing expectations, remember that even with a good state budget, the growth we’ve seen over the last few years is slowing down and salary gains will probably be modest this time around.

Regardless of what the state budget looks like, the LTA Bargaining Team is committed to improving the learning environment for students and the working conditions for teachers in Lennox. We believe the proposals we’ve made will help meet the needs of teachers and assist the district to better meet the needs of all students. The two teams have scheduled their next bargaining session for Tuesday, August 15, just before we return to school. As is always the case, it is our desire to reach an agreement as soon as possible, but not at the expense of achieving important goals that will benefit our students, help our members, and be consistent with the priorities of the Lennox community.

download Bargaining Update #2

download LTA Intitial Proposal (6-14-17)

download LSD Sunshine

 

Posted in assignments, bargaining, benefits, class size, district budget, evaluations, health benefits, LCAP, Local Control Funding Formula, preschool, salary, special ed, state budget, transfers | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

¡Cinco de Mayo!


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