LTA Spring 2020 Elections – Announcement of Vacancies

Announcing the following vacancies in Lennox Teachers Association leadership and governance:

President – 2-year term [member of the Executive Board]; duties:

  • Be the official spokesperson for the Association;
  • Be familiar with the governance documents of the Association, CTA and NEA;
  • Call meetings of the Association, the Representative Council and the Executive Board;
  • Prepare the agenda for the meetings of the Association, the Representative Council and the Executive Board;
  • Preside at all meetings of the Association, the Representative Council and the Executive Board;
  • Appoint the chairperson, all members of the Bargaining Team and alternates, with the majority approval of the Executive Board at the beginning of each school year;
  • Appoint the chairperson, treasurer and all members of the Political Action Committee with the majority approval of the Executive Board at the beginning of each school year;
  • Appoint the chairperson and all members of the Elections Committee with the majority approval of the Executive Board at the beginning of each school year;
  • Appoint chairpersons and members of all other committees with the majority approval of the Executive Board at the beginning of each school year or upon formation of the committee;
  • Suggest policies, plans and activities for the Association, and be held responsible for the progress and work of the Association;
  • Attend meetings of the Service Center Council of which the Association is a part; and
  • Attend other CTA/NEA meetings as directed by the Representative Council.
  • Stipend = $3,000/yr. + up to 40% release time, as determined by Rep Council

Vice-President of Contractual Affairs – 2-year term [member of the Executive Board]:

  • Serve as assistant to the President in all duties of the President;
  • Assume the duties of the President in the absence of the President (i.e., serve as “First” Vice-President);
  • Serve as co-coordinator of committee activities as directed by the President; and
  • Serve as chairperson of the Grievance Committee and keep an accurate record of all grievances.
  • Stipend = $750/yr.

Vice-President of Curricular Affairs – 2-year term [member of the Executive Board]; duties:

  • Serve as assistant to the President in all duties of the President;
  • Assume the duties of the President in the absence of the President and the Vice-President of Contractual Affairs (i.e., serve as “Second” Vice-President);
  • Serve as co-coordinator of committee activities as directed by the President; and
  • Serve as chairperson of the Membership Committee and keep an accurate roster of the Membership.
  • Stipend = $750/yr.

Site Representatives – 1-year terms (based on formula in the LTA Bylaws, currently = 2 per elementary site, 4 at LMS, 1 at the SPecial Education preschool, and 1 for TOSAs, for a total of 16 positions) [members of the Representative Council]; duties:

  • Conduct constant and ongoing liaison between the Representative Council and Active members at the school site;
  • Serve as the official channel through which written communications and publications can be easily and quickly transmitted between the Association and the Active members;
  • Represent the views and the input of the Active membership in votes taken in the Representative Council, conducting frequent and regular polls of such membership for this purpose; and
  • Perform such additional duties as prescribed by the Executive Board.
  • Stipend = $200/yr. + an additional $50/yr. if re-elected to consecutive terms after the first.

download Declaration of Candidacy form

download complete description of positions and timeline

download CTA 2019-2020 Local Elections Manual

 

Timeline for LTA Elections shall include the following:

Wednesday, March 18, 2020 – Announcement

  1. Announcement of vacancy(ies) and term(s) of office using a method that will ensure each member is aware of the opportunity to file a declaration of candidacy.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020 – Declarations of Candidacy

  1. Place, time and date of receipt (date received, not date postmarked) for declaration of candidacy forms;Written declarations of candidacy must be received by Ruth Culqui at Jefferson Elementary by 4pm.
  2. Campaign statement of candidates (decide on limit of number of words, and what to do if limitation is exceeded); Candidate statements will be limited to 50 words or less. In case a candidate submits a statement exceeding 50 words, only the first 50 words will be included on the Candidates’ Statement sheet.
  3. Provision for elections committee chairperson or designee to be present to receive declaration of candidacy by filing deadline; Ruth Culcui will be available to receive declarations of candidacy 3:15pm – 4pm on Tuesday, April 21, 2020, at Jefferson Elementary. Declarations (form) may be submitted to Ruth Culqui prior to the deadline via e-mail or hand delivery.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020 – Final Date to Acknowledge Candidates’ Declaration of Candidacy

  1. Final date to acknowledge candidates’ declaration of candidacy; Candidates will be announced on Weds, 4/22/20, no later than 4pm, via the LTA website.

Friday, April 24, 2020 – Requests for Mail-in Ballots

  1. Date by which to request a ballot; Written requests for mail-in ballots must be received either by Ruth Culqui at Jefferson Elementary or delivered to the Association post office box [Lennox Teachers Association, PO Box 2231, Hawthorne, CA 90251] by 4pm on Fri, 4/24/20. Mail-in ballots will be sent via regular mail on Sat, 4/25/20, to those members on dues paying leave who request them by the above deadline.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020 – LTA Prepares Ballots

  1. Date for preparation of ballots.

Tuesday, May 5 – Wednesday, May 6, 2020 – Ballots Distributed to Sites

  1. Date on which ballots will be distributed; Ballots will be distributed to non-running Site Reps and Professional Relations Reps.

Thursday, May 7 – Friday May 8, 2020 – Election Held at Sites

  1. Date(s) when voting will take place.

Thursday, May 7, 2020 – Mail in Ballots Received

  1. Deadline date (date received, not date postmarked), time and place for return of ballots; Mail-in ballots must be delivered to the Association post office box [Lennox Teachers Association, PO Box 2231, Hawthorne, CA 90251] by 4pm on Thurs, 5/7/20.

Friday, May 8, 2020 – Ballots Will Be Counted

  1. Date, time and place where ballots will be counted, which should be immediately following the deadline for receipt of voted ballots; Completed ballots cast in person at regular voting sites must be received by Ruth Culqui at Jefferson Elementary by 3:30pm on Fri, 5/9/20.

** Ballots will be counted on Friday, May 8, 2020 at 3:30pm at Jefferson Elementary School **

Friday, May 8, 2020 – LTA Results Announcement

  1. Date that announcement of results shall be made to leadership, candidates, members, and posted at each work site, which date shall be not later than five (5) calendar days following the counting of ballots; Results will be posted on the LTA website on Friday, May 8, 2020, no later than 5pm, and posted at all school sites on LTA bulletin boards on Monday, May 11, 2020.

Friday, May 8, 2020 – Run-off Elections

  1. Dates and timelines for run-off election, if necessary; and
  2. Run-off election (if necessary) = Thursday, May 14, 2020 – Friday, May 15, 2020
  3. Ballots received/counted = Friday, May 15, 2020, 3:30pm at Jefferson Elementary
  4. Results announced = Friday, May 15, 2020, no later than 5pm

 Tuesday, May 19, 2020 – Election Challenges

  1. Deadline for filing of challenges to initial election and run-off if held (date received, not date postmarked); Written challenges must be filed by Tuesday, May 19, 2020 at 8am with Ruth Culqui at Jefferson Elementary.

For more information on election rules and timelines, including campaign Do’s and Dont’s, please refer to the LTA Bylaws and Standing Rules and the CTA 2019-2020 Local Elections Manual.

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2020-2021 Bargaining Update #1

Summary

  • Both LTA and District sunshined articles to be negotiated at the Tuesday, March 10 School Board meeting.

Articles Sunshined (Opened) by LTA

ARTICLE 6:  COMPENSATION & BENEFITS – Bargaining unit member compensation shall be permanently increased to attract and retain education professionals who can foster the success of students and are invested in the Lennox community, and the district’s contribution to employee health benefits shall be increased to ensure that employees and their families are physically, mentally and emotionally healthy.

ARTICLE 7:  WORK YEAR AND HOURS OF EMPLOYMENT – Teacher calendar year and workday, and non-teaching responsibilities during and outside the workday, shall be adjusted to allow teachers to focus on their primary responsibilities of instruction and planning and preparing for that instruction.

ARTICLE 9:  CLASS SIZE – The district shall maintain low class size averages at all schools and programs, including elementary physical education and Special Education at the middle school.

ARTICLE 18:  STUDENT DISCIPLINE – District shall establish a district-wide system of student behavioral expectations and support, and on-going training and support shall be provided for teachers and other staff who will implement this system.

Articles Sunshined (Opened) by District

ARTICLE 6:  COMPENSATION & BENEFITS – “The District seeks to align compensation with budgetary conditions.”

ARTICLE 7:  WORK YEAR AND HOURS OF EMPLOYMENT – “The District seeks to propose revisions to the teacher calendar year and work day responsibilities in order to provide the District with necessary flexibility to focus on student achievement and establish a process more responsive to school site needs.”

ARTICLE 9:  CLASS SIZE – “The District seeks to determine staffing with enrollment patterns and reasonable variations.”

download LTA Initial Sunshine

download LSD Initial Sunshine

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August 13, 2019 Tentative Agreement Approved!

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2019-2020 Bargaining Update #2

TENTATIVE AGREEMENT ON HEALTH BENEFITS REACHED

Summary

  • LTA and district bargaining teams met twice over the summer.
  • District floated the idea of delaying or even renegotiating the one-time 1% payment to teachers due in December 2019. LTA rejected any such proposals as this is money that has already been agreed to and is owed to teachers.
  • Due to ongoing budget crisis, district has no ability to continue the 3-year MOU increasing its contributions to health benefits. The STRS savings LTA had previously identified to fund an additional year of the MOU have all been directed toward paying outstanding debts to the county and other sources.  Therefore, district contributions to health benefits will revert to permanent contractual levels.  However, due to disagreements over what the district’s actual contractual contribution levels should be, LTA and the district have agreed to use LTA’s calculations for 2019-2020 and form a committee to determine what the correct baseline level of district contributions should be starting in 2020-2021.
Plan Coverage

Total Plan Cost (monthly)

District Contribution (monthly)

Cost to Employees (monthly)

Kaiser Base

(Tier I)

Employee $630.34 $612.93 $17.41
Employee + 1 $1,260.67 $863.24 $397.43
Family $1,783.85 $965.63 $818.22
Kaiser Plus

(Tier II)

Employee $668.58 $665.83 $2.75
Employee + 1 $1,437.44 $911.66 $525.78
Family $1,972.30 $985.88 $986.42
United Healthcare

Harmony Network

(Tier I)

Employee $579.56 $579.56 $0.00
Employee + 1 $1,159.12 $823.83 $335.29
Family $1,709.70 $908.58 $801.12
United Healthcare

Advantage Network

(Tier II)

Employee $661.22 $661.22 $0.00
Employee + 1 $1,322.44 $823.83 $498.61
Family $1,950.60 $908.58 $1,042.02
United Healthcare

Health Savings Account

Employee $1,108.58 $758.17 $350.41
Employee + 1 $2,217.16 $958.50 $1,258.66
Family $3,270.31 $1,095.53 $2,174.78

Report

On Thursday, July 11, the LTA Bargaining Team – Lisa Rubio (Huerta), Gary Moore (LMS), Jim Nadler (LMS), Andrew Staiano (CTA staff), and LTA President, Priscilla Avila (sitting in for Bargaining Chair, Brian Guerrero) – met with the LSD team – Sherry Johnstone (interim Personnel), John Vinke (interim Business), Eric Medrano (SpEd), Lissett Pichardo (LMS principal), and Steve Andelson (attorney).  The district gave an update on the district budget and the various outside auditors working with the interim administration to straighten out district finances.  Besides several large, previously under-reported or unreported costs than must now be paid in full, cash flow was a major concern, particularly in August/ September and December.  The district team wondered aloud about delaying or even renegotiating the one-time 1% salary payment to teachers agreed to last May; the LTA Bargaining Team said absolutely not.  The district team made no formal counterproposal to LTA’s last proposal on health benefits (to continue the 3-year MOU on increased health benefits for 1 more year).

On Tuesday, August 13, the LTA Bargaining Team met with the LSD team again.  The meeting began with another budget update.  Known outstanding debts had not changed significantly since July, cash flow remained a concern, and district shared that FCMAT will be joining the multitude of auditors already reviewing the district’s books.  The district expects the budget submitted to the county on July 1 for 2019-2020 to be rejected because it falls approximately $600,000 short of required 3% minimum reserves.  District staff spent most of the summer identifying further cost-cutting measures, including reducing classified positions (through eliminating vacant positions, voluntary resignations, and offering early retirement incentives to senior custodians), reducing the number of certificated teacher on special assignment positions, and scheduling 5 furlough days for all management (equivalent to an approximately 2.5% salary reduction for the year, plus management will not receive the one-time 1% payment in December).

Next, the district team presented LTA with a formal proposal on health benefits stating that the district would be unable to renew the 3-year MOU on increased health benefits.  For reference, the district’s proposal included what the district believed the contractual baseline contribution rates should be.  Upon analysis, the LTA team disagreed with the district’s calculation of baseline contribution rates, believing that the correct rates for district contributions should be higher for several plans (the LTA team believes that an error occurred when the district calculated baseline contribution rates a few years ago and was it never corrected; this error hasn’t affected teachers because our rates have been determined by the MOU for the last 3 years, but – if true – it might have affected classified employees, who have been at the baseline contribution rates all along).  Accepting that the district couldn’t afford to renew the MOU (and that LACOE wouldn’t approve an agreement with district contributions at that level), the LTA team proposed a contribution rate table that would even out district contributions across similar plans (right now, the district contributes more to employee +1 and family in some plans than it does in others).  District rejected the LTA proposal because those contribution rates would still be higher than the contractual baseline in some cases and restated that the district simply could not go higher than the contractual rates.  The district team proposed a compromise rate table, with district contribution rates somewhere between the district’s calculations and LTA’s calculations.  The LTA team rejected this proposal because anything lower than the correct baseline rates would actually be a cut.  Finally, the district agreed to use the LTA calculated contribution rates for 2019-2020 on the contrition that representatives from both teams would meet in the next few months to look back at historic district contribution rates and determine the true contractual baseline rates to be used when calculating district and employee contributions starting in 2020-2021.

Other than the agreement on health benefits, both teams agreed to drop all other proposals in order to close negotiations for the 2019-2020 year.  This means the district has withdrawn proposals related to Article 3: Association Rights, Article 4: Grievance Procedures, and Article 8: Assignments & Transfers, and LTA has withdrawn additional proposals related to Article 9: Class Sizes, although the March 5, 2019 MOU on class sizes remains in effect for 2019-2020 and LTA will continue to work toward fairness in class sizes at LMS increased by the inclusion of small SpEd classes in average class-size calculations as well as in student-to-staff ratios in the elementary PE program.

As always, the LTA Bargaining Team is committed to improving the learning environment for students and the working conditions for teachers.  We understand members’ disappointment that the MOU increasing district contributions to health benefits will not be renewed and the hardship this may cause many our members and their families (most members of the LTA Bargaining Team are currently on employee + 1 or family plans themselves).  Between disastrous district finances, strict county oversight, and the threat of increased state and county authority if the district’s fiscal situation isn’t improved, making sure that the district is completely and correctly fulfilling its contractual obligations is the best the LTA Bargaining Team believes can be achieved.  For anyone tempted to reject this tentative agreement out of frustration or the belief that continued negotiations might achieve something better, remember that the 3-year MOU has expired at this point and a return to permanent contractual baseline rates for district contributions has already happened.  This agreement did not make it happen; it happened automatically.  What this agreement achieves is getting the district to agree to use our LTA calculated (higher) rates as the baseline rather than their calculated (lower) rates.  If this agreement is rejected – by our membership, by the School Board, or by the LACOE fiscal advisor – then we will default to the district’s calculated lower contribution rates.

download LTA Bargaining Update #2 (8-13-19)

download LSD Counterproposal, 8-13-19 AM

download LTA Counterproposal, 8-13-19 AM

download LSD Counterproposal, 8-13-19 PM

download full text of LTA/LSD Tentative Agreement, 8-13-19

 

Appendix

For anyone who wants to track changes in contribution rates (district and employee) over the years, your LTA Bargaining Team has created four charts showing how different plans have developed.  The district currently offers a total of 15 different plans and coverage levels; the four shown here are meant to illustrate different trends in health benefit rates.

The blue bars show the district’s contractually required contributions to our health benefits each year, based on a formula in permanent contract language.  Note that the district’s contributions have always gone up, but that in recent years the total costs of the plans have gone up faster than the district’s contributions, so the employee share of the costs have increased, too.

The red bars show extra contributions the district made to our health benefits in 2014-2015 and 2015-2016.  We didn’t negotiate these extra contributions, the district just said they wanted to do something to help out the employees.  Ironically, the extra money the district put into health benefits in 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 is one of the things that contributed to the deficit we are dealing with, and one of the reasons your LTA Bargaining Team was unable to renew the health benefits MOU this year.

The green bars show the extra contributions the district made for 3 years as a result of the health benefits MOU LTA did negotiate.  The MOU raised the minimum district contribution to the point where Kaiser Base employee + 1 was 100% district paid, and then raise the district contribution to all other plans by the same amount.

Finally, the yellow bars show the remaining costs each year that were passed on to employees.  Because the district will be returning to contractual contribution levels only in 2019-2020, there will be significant increases passed on to employees in employee + 1 and family plans.  (All employee-only plans remain at or near 100% district-paid coverage for 2019-2020.)

 

 

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2019-2020 Bargaining Update #1

Summary

  • Weds., May 22 bargaining meeting canceled by district, teams met as scheduled on Mon., June 3.
  • Based on the state budget and STRS contribution savings, LTA proposed that next year’s 1% one-time, off-schedule salary increase be made permanent and that the sunsetting health benefits MOU be continued for 1 more year.
  • District informed LTA that LACOE would be appointing a Fiscal Advisor to the district with “stay and rescind” authority, and that further discussions of salary and benefits changes would have to wait until they had a better understanding of the district’s budget.

 

Report

On Monday, June 3, your LTA Bargaining Team – Lisa Rubio (Huerta), Gary Moore (LMS), Jim Nadler (LMS), Justin Catalán (TOSA), Andrew Staiano (CTA staff), and Bargaining Chair, LTA VP of Contractual Affairs, Brian Guerrero (TOSA) – met with the LSD team – Hiacynth Martinez (Personnel), Lissett Pichardo (LMS principal), Eric Medrano (SpEd) and Steve Andelson (attorney).  This was the first meeting between the two teams this bargaining cycle (the district had previously canceled the first scheduled meeting on Wednesday, May 22 due to unanticipated scheduling conflicts).

Both teams have sunshined a number of articles to negotiate (see below), but the focus of this meeting was on revisiting salary and benefits for 2019-2020, as agreed in the March 5 Agreement.  On March 5, the two teams agreed to a 1% one-time, off-schedule salary increase for teachers in 2019-2020 (to be paid in December) and reached no agreement for 2019-2020 on health benefits, but agreed to revisit both topics after the state budget became more clear in May, with the intention of possibly doing better on salary and reaching an agreement on health benefits.  Once published, the May Revise of the state budget did not increase funding for K-12 education significantly (pre-K, SpEd and college did see increases), but Governor Newsome is proposing STRS relief to districts.  Since 2014, the amount of money that teachers have contributed to their STRS retirement accounts each month has increased, and the amount that districts must contribute has increased even more.

  2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
teacher contribution 8.15%

of salary

8.15% 9.2% 10.25% 10.25% 10.25% 10.25% 10.25%
district contribution 8.25%

of salary

8.88% 10.73% 12.58% 14.43% 16.28% 18.13% 19.10%

So, while it’s great that our STRS retirement accounts are seeing larger deposits from school districts, it also means that districts have faced large expenses that they haven’t been getting additional money from the state to pay for.  Gov. Newsome has proposed “relief” to this situation by slowing the rate of increase districts’ STRS contributions for 2019 and 2020.

  2018 2019 2020
district contribution BEFORE 16.28% 18.13% 19.10%
district contribution IN MAY REVISE 16.28% 16.70% 18.10%
reduction/”savings” 1.43% 1.00%

This “relief” would save the Lennox School District approximately $630,000 in 2019-2020 and $440,000 in 2020-2021, which would be just enough to cover the costs of continuing the health benefits MOU for 1 more year (±$600,000 in 2019-2020) and the first year of moving the one-time 1% salary increase from 2019-2020-only to permanent (±$320,000/year in 2020-2021) to permanent.  Plus, there is an intrinsic fairness to the proposal; money that was going to go into teachers’ retirements and isn’t anymore should go toward their salary and benefits now.

At this point, the district bargaining team informed your LTA Bargaining Team that questions had been raised regarding the accuracy of the 2nd Interim Budget Report (which your LTA Bargaining Team had used as the basis for their proposals), and that the LA County Office of Education would be appointing a Fiscal Advisor to the district with “stay and rescind” authority, and that further discussions of salary and benefits changes would have to wait until they had a better understanding of the district’s budget.  Your LTA Bargaining Team reminded the district that, per the March 5 Agreement, both teams had an obligation to work “in good faith” to resolve salary and benefits issues before June 30, 2019, and that to simply say they couldn’t bargain right now would be a violation of that Agreement and could result in LTA filing an unfair labor practices complaint with the state Public Employee Relations Board (PERB).  The district team assured your LTA Bargaining Team that they were making every effort to clarify the district budget situation and would respond to LTA’s proposals as soon as possible.

 

Articles Sunshined (Opened) by LTA

ARTICLE 6: COMPENSATION & BENEFITS

  • Make 2019-2020 temporary salary increases permanent.
  • Maintains districts current increased contribution to teacher health benefits.

ARTICLE 9: CLASS SIZE

  • Establish contractual language clarifying how the district calculates average class sizes at the middle school, specifically, that it will not include special education classes in the calculation of overall average class sizes (dues to they’re necessarily small size, if SpEd classes are included in the overall class-size average calculation, they artificially bring down the average, causing general ed classes to grow significantly larger).
  • Establish class-size parameters for elementary PE in line with class-size norms for regular elementary classes.

 

Articles Sunshined (Opened) by District

ARTICLE 3: ASSOCIATION RIGHTS

  • Review safeguards concerning LTA posting of materials.

ARTICLE 4: GRIEVANCE PROCEDURES

  • Review applying grievance procedures to LTA contract violations.

ARTICLE 6: COMPENSATION & BENEFITS

  • Review conditions for salary schedule advancement.

ARTICLE 8: ASSIGNMENTS & TRANSFERS

  • Update contract language.

 

As always, your LTA Bargaining Team is committed to improving the learning environment for students and the working conditions for teachers.  We understand that the district’s budget situation is uncertain and look forward to working with both the district and the LACOE fiscal advisor to find solutions that restore fiscal discipline to district spending without negatively impacting students or teachers.  We believe the bargaining process can, with your continued support and participation, result in achieving the result teachers want and students need.

download LTA Bargaining Update #1 (6-3-19)

download LTA Initial Sunshine

download LSD Initial Sunshine

download LTA Proposals, 6-3-19

Note 1: The district later provided a copy of the letter from LACOE to the district appointing a fiscal advisor.

download LACOE letter to LSD appointing fiscal advisor (5-29-19)

Note 2: LACOE later amended its letter to the district regarding the appointment of a fiscal advisor.

download amended LACOE letter to LSD appointing fiscal advisor (5-31-19)

Posted in assignments, association rights, bargaining, class size, district budget, grievances, health benefits, LACOE, Lennox School District, salary, transfers | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment