On Tuesday, February 6, 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) for a full-day bargaining session. It was the district’s turn to present proposals. This was the sixth meeting between the two teams this negotiations cycle.
Negotiations thus far have produced several significant gains for teachers – additional time for most classroom and assignment changes, evaluations up to every 4 years for veteran teachers, clarification of the course approval process – but there are also several outstanding issues where the two teams have not yet reached consensus, particularly with regard to a fair and reasonable teacher salary increase, guaranteed the flying of all certificated positions (including certificated management positions), and fine-tuning class-size language to protect students in SEI and DL language programs and students with IEPs who are general ed students first and foremost and belong on general ed rosters.
LSD Proposal Highlights:
ARTICLE 3: ASSOCIATION RIGHTS
- District will provide all newly hired teachers with a 1/2-day new employee orientation within the first month of school, of which 1 hour will be reserved for LTA to meet with the new bargaining unit members [in response to the recently-passed SB 104 guaranteeing unions access to new bargaining unit members]; district will also inform LTA of all new certificated hires during the year so the Association can reach out to new bargaining unit members. [CONSENSUS REACHED √ ]
- District will provide LTA with new teacher contact information within 30 days of hiring. [CONSENSUS REACHED √ ]
ARTICLE 6: COMPENSATION & BENEFITS
- 1% permanent salary increase, retroactive to July 1, 2017, to be paid in July 2018. [ONGOING]
ARTICLE 7: WORK YEAR & HOURS OF EMPLOYMENT
- Add AM and PM transitional kindergarten dismissal times to the contract. [WITHDRAWN BY DISTRICT]
ARTICLE 8: ASSIGNMENTS & TRANSFERS
- Teachers will be notified of next year’s assignment 6 days prior to the last day of school (rather than 5 days prior). [CONSENSUS REACHED √ ]
- Teachers who request and are granted voluntary transfers that take effect during the school year shall receive 1 day of release time to pack and unpack (previously 0 days); teachers who are subject to involuntary transfers shall receive 2 days of release time to pack and unpack (previously 1 day). [CONSENSUS REACHED √ ]
- Teachers subject to room changes during the school year shall receive 5 days’ notice and 2 days of release time to pack and unpack (previously 1 day); teachers subject to assignment changes (but not room changes) during the school year shall receive 5 days’ notice and 1 day of release time to prepare (previously 0 days). [CONSENSUS REACHED √ ]
- District still seeks to eliminate the contractual requirement to fly certificated management vacancies. [ONGOING]
ARTICLE 9: CLASS SIZES
- District wishes to maintain current contract language on class sizes and rejects new language requiring parity between DL and SEI classes, requiring that students with IEPs appear on the rosters of their Gen Ed teachers to avoid overcrowding, and requiring that SpEd classes not be part of the calculation when determining class-size averages at LMS; district argues that further analysis of the issue is necessary. [ONGOING]
ARTICLE 10: LEAVE PROVISIONS
- Update parental leave language to be consistent with current CA EdCode. [CONSENSUS REACHED √ ]
ARTICLE 11: EVALUATION
- Teachers who have been with the district for 10 or more years and whose previous evaluation was satisfactory or better may, by mutual agreement between the teacher and principal, be evaluated every 4 years (rather than the current “every 3 years”). [CONSENSUS REACHED √ ]
ARTICLE 17: PRIOR WRITTEN APPROVAL FOR COURSEWORK
- Course Work Approval forms must be submitted for approval 14 calendar days before courses begin, and transcripts must be submitted within 3 weeks of course completion. In cases where forms transcripts are not submitted on time, advancement on the salary schedule shall not take place until the beginning of the school year following submission of all paperwork. [CONSENSUS REACHED √ ]
- University and continuing education credits offered at district-approved conferences shall be eligible for salary advancement credit without additional prior approval. [CONSENSUS REACHED √ ]
The full text of all LTA and district proposals can be viewed or downloaded here:
Regarding salary, you’ll recall that LTA’s proposal for a 4% salary increase was based on the district’s June 13, 2017 proposed budget. At that time, the district projected a 5.99% reserve for the 2017-2018 school year. California school districts must maintain a 3% reserve, so a 5.99% reserve meant the district had approximately 3%, or about $2 million dollars in “available reserve.” To increase teacher salaries (as well as those of classified employees, whose salaries generally go up at the same rate as teachers’) by 1% costs about $500,000, so with $2 million, the district could afford to could raise salaries by about 4%.
Since June, the district has gotten a better idea of what it’s actual revenues and expenses will be this year and reported its revised budget on December 15, 2017 in its 1st Interim Report. In the 1st Interim, the district revised its projection of reserves down to 3.09%, leaving only 0.09%, or about $60,000, available. How does that happen, and where did the rest of the $2 million go? First, the district’s revenue estimates have been decreased by about $1 million. The June budget’s revenue estimates predicted the enrollment of approximately 400 students in the district’s new “Virtual Academy,” generating about $2 million, but actual enrollment this year has been closer to 200 students, resulting in revenues of about $1 million less than hoped for. (BTW, actually physical enrollment in our real brick-and-mortar schools continues to be strong and is increasing, albeit at a slower rate than the Virtual Academy.)
Second, the district’s projected expenses have been increased by approximately $1 million. To a certain extent, adjustments to expenses are a normal part of the budget process as the year progresses, and $1 million is less than 1.5% of the district’s total overall budget, but still, this is something the LTA Bargaining Team is looking into further. Taken together, $1 million less in income and $1 million more in costs pretty much clears the district’s available reserves above the required 3%. The district’s 2nd Interim Report will be presented on March 13, 2018 and will represent a better estimate of the district’s actual financial situation (because 2/3 of the year will have passed as opposed to just 1/3, and other monies can now be factored in as well). The LTA Bargaining Team will analyze that report, too, as soon as it becomes available. If the 2nd Interim shows a better financial picture, we’ll be able to argue that those monies should go to students and teachers. But if the 2nd Interim continues to show (and CTA and the LTA Bargaining Team verify) that the district’s reserves really are close to 3%… then there simply won’t be as much available money to go after and our Bargaining Team will have to adjust their proposals and priorities accordingly. Rest assured, though, that our Bargaining Team understands how hard Lennox teachers work as well as the financial strains many teachers are experiencing, and will pursue the largest sustainable pay increases possible, along with other less costly changes in contract language that will improve teacher working conditions and quality of life.
The two teams are scheduled to continue bargaining on Monday, April 9th.
Download LTA Bargaining Update #7