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

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