On Monday, April 9, 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. This was the seventh meeting between the two teams this negotiations cycle.
Negotiations thus far have produced several significant gains for teachers – additional release time for many classroom and assignment changes, evaluations up to every 4 years for veteran teachers, clarification of the course approval process – but there are still several outstanding issues where the two teams have not yet reached consensus, the first and foremost of which is agreeing on a fair and reasonable salary increase for teachers. LTA began negotiations proposing a 4% salary increase for teachers, based on the district’s reserves as reported in the July 2017 LSD Budget. In January, the district proposed a 1% salary increase, based on a revised estimate of their reserves as reported in the December 2017 1st Interim Report on the budget. The 2nd Interim Report on the budget was presented in March 2018 and continues to show district reserves meeting the minimum levels required by the state with very little additional money to spare. CTA staff and LTA leadership have reviewed the district’s budget and believe it to be accurate (no money hidden in secret accounts, no projections grossly exaggerated to make it seem like there is less money than there really is, etc.). Unfortunately – from a bargaining perspective – the district is already spending all of the money it gets from local, state and federal governments on students, programs and staff and there is very little “left over” for a raise. Next year, however, state funding is projected to increase again, and that money has not been committed yet, which is why the district has proposed paying out whatever salary increase is finally agreed upon for this year beginning July 2018 (with a retro check going back to July 2017). The LTA Bargaining Team also sees this as the path to the largest possible salary increase for teachers and has included a July 2018 start date (with a retro check going back to July 2017) in our latest proposals as well.
So, where are we on salary? The district has increased their proposal to a 2% raise for this year, with 1% being permanent and 1% being a one-time payment. In return, considering the district’s current limited reserves but taking into account the probability of increased funding next year, your LTA Bargaining Team adjusted our proposal to a 3% permanent salary increase. Your LTA Bargaining Team feels that the entire salary increase should be permanent because one-time salary increases would need to be renegotiated again next year, but they take the district’s willingness to stretch beyond their initial 1% proposal as a good sign and look forward to receiving the district’s latest proposal at the next bargaining session.
The other issue that remains largely unresolved at this point is the calculation of class sizes, specifically whether or not all students with IEPs should appear on general ed teachers’ rosters and be factored into calculations of their class sizes, whether or not small SpEd classes should be included in calculations of overall class-size averages at LMS, and whether or not the grade-level and grade-span averages for the SEI and DL programs should be calculated separately to prevent large discrepancies in class sizes and negative impacts on students not enrolled in DL. There has been good discussion on this, both at the bargaining table and at School Board meetings, and both teams seem to be closer to a common understanding of the problem. Agreeing to contractual or even MOU language to resolve the issue, however, has proven to be a challenge, and in the interest of not delaying an agreement on salary or other settled issues, the LTA Bargaining Team has proposed forming of a committee made up of 5 teachers and 5 administrators who would further explore differences in SEI vs. DL class sizes and the impact of SpEd on class sizes outside of the formal bargaining process, and then make recommendations to the two bargaining teams. We have actually had great success in recent years using joint committees to tackle problems that were too technical to be resolved effectively in the adversarial bargaining setting, things like establishing limits on adjunct duties, allocating the initial Common Core implementation money, creating an elementary PE program that also provides classroom teachers with planning time, and establishing a planning period at LMS for the first time ever. The LTA Bargaining Team believes that this is the best way to finally resolve these issue around class sizes and foster teacher and learning environments that will better serve our students and teachers.
Summary Of Areas Where Consensus Has Been Reached:
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.
- District will provide LTA with new teacher contact information within 30 days of hiring.
ARTICLE 6: COMPENSATION & BENEFITS
- Establish a consistent benefits enrollment window, ending August 31 of each year.
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).
- 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).
- 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).
- LTA withdraws proposal requiring district to fly all TOSA and certificated management vacancies, and district withdraws proposal to eliminate the requirement to fly any TOSA and certificated management vacancies; current language requiring the district to fly TOSA and certificated management vacancies “under most circumstances” will remain.
ARTICLE 10: LEAVE PROVISIONS
- Update parental leave language to be consistent with current CA EdCode.
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”).
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.
- University and continuing education credits offered at district-approved conferences shall be eligible for salary advancement credit without additional prior approval.
The two teams are scheduled to continue bargaining on Monday, May 7th. As always, thank you all for your continued patience and support. The LTA Bargaining Team appreciate your words of encouragement and gratitude and when you who wear your LTA shirts on bargaining days!