- District shared additional specifics of air filters it would like to use and change on a 6-month schedule.
- LTA presented counterproposals on paid voluntary PD and planning time and a new initial proposal on class sizes. LTA also presented a proposal on health benefits and advised the district that LTA would make a proposal on a fair and reasonable salary increase for teachers once more information on state and district budgets for 2019-2020 was available.
- District presented proposals on prorating new teacher sick days, evaluation notification dates, and air filter change cycles, counterproposals on paid voluntary PD and planning time, and asked for more time to analyze LTA’s proposal on class sizes.
On Monday, February 11th, the LTA Bargaining Team – Lisa Rubio (Huerta), Gary Moore (LMS), Jim Nadler (LMS), Justin Catalan (TOSA), Andrew Staiano (CTA staff), and Bargaining Chair, Brian Guerrero (TOSA) – met with the LSD team – Hiacynth Martinez (Personnel), Kevin Franklin (Fiscal Services), Lissett Pichardo (LMS principal) and Steve Andelson (attorney) – for a full day of bargaining. This was the fifth meeting between the two teams this bargaining cycle.
The meeting began with another discussion of air filters with Dir. of Facilities Carlos Avalos. Avalos shared that the district currently uses “MERV 8” filters rated for 3 months of heavy usage (“MERV” = “Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value,” an industry-wide standard measurement scale developed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers to rate the effectiveness of air filters). They would like to switch to MERV 8 filters rated for 6-9 months of heavy usage and change them every 6 months. The district’s supplier also offered a MERV 9 filter rated for 12 months of heavy usage, which would mean an overall increase in air quality but would be cost prohibitive on a 6-month change cycle.
Next, the LTA Bargaining Team presented the district with counterproposals on voluntary professional development (MOU #1) and planning time (MOU #2), and a new initial proposal on class sizes (MOU #3). LTA continues to believe that, given district professional development needs, offering teachers 4 paid voluntary PD days per year is appropriate. LTA also believes that, after 5 years of experience, the current models of planning and collaboration time at the elementary level and middle school have proven effective and should be made permanent through formal contract language.
Regarding class sizes, after thorough analysis of next year’s projected enrollment numbers and careful consideration of multiple models of smaller class sizes, the LTA Bargaining Team acknowledges that it will be neither easy nor cheap to further reduce class sizes, and, therefore, has made a comprehensive proposal to gradually reduce the upper limits of class sizes over the next 3 years. In Year 1 (2019-2020), LTA’s proposal would reduce maximum class sizes by 1 student but gives teachers the option of allowing 1 additional student if she or he believes it can be done effectively, with proper support, and is in the best interest of her/his students and the school. In Year 2 (2020-2021), LTA’s proposal would reduce maximum class sizes by 2 students from current levels and still gives teachers the option of allowing 1 additional student, and in Year 3 (2021-2022), it firmly caps maximum class sizes at 2 students below current levels with no provision for additional students. LTA’s proposal also shifts the current over-enrollment stipend structure, eliminating stipends for classes that are only 1 student over MOU target averages and increasing stipends for classes at maximum capacity. Further, LTA’s proposal includes several program-specific components that teachers have been demanding for years: averaging DL and SEI class sizes separately, and making sure that both meet class-size average requirements; including all elementary students in SAI on GenEd rosters so that classes aren’t filled to capacity only to have additional SAI students added on top of that; factoring out SpEd classes and SpEd teachers from GenEd class size-average calculations at the middle school because they skew the math and push GenEd class size averages up; and making sure there are enough adults supporting elementary PE to maintain program integrity and student safety by asking for 1 adult (teacher and aides) for each class that is out at PE at a given time. Finally, no one wants grade-level combo classes (including the district) but the LTA Bargaining Team feels it would be wise to include language regarding what supports teachers and students would get just in case combo classes become unavoidable at some point.
The LTA Bargaining Team also presented the district with a proposal on health benefits (MOU #4) to maintain district contributions at the current levels for 3 more years. Given that the cost of this proposal has been estimated as equivalent to a 2% salary increase, there will need to be ongoing discussion and much more input from teachers about the value of increased health benefits versus the value of a salary increase before any final agreement on health benefits with the district can be reached, but this proposal communicates to the district the importance of improved health benefits to members. Likewise, the LTA Bargaining Team reminded the district that, as the state and district budgets for 2019-2020 become clearer, LTA will also present a proposal on a fair and reasonable salary increase for teachers.
MOU #1 – Paid Voluntary PD
- Maintain the current MOU language (i.e., 4 paid voluntary PD days, 2 in summer and 2 on Saturdays in fall/winter; 3 hours PD, 3 hours planning time; paid at $350 each) for an additional 3 years. [no agreement, district offers 2 days for 1 year only]
- LTA Instruction and Professional Development Committee (IPD) should give input on what professional development is needed and what topics would benefit teachers most. [tentative consensus reached]
MOU #2 – Planning Time, Elementary and Middle School
- Maintain the current MOU language (i.e., at elementary, 75% of planning time would continue to be teacher-directed and no more than 25% can be principal-directed, and at LMS, teachers would continue to have a daily [or once-per-cycle if on block schedule] planning period) for an additional 3 years. [no agreement, district offers current language for 1 year only]
- Add language guaranteeing SpEd preschool teachers the same amount of planning time as kindergarten teachers. [tentative consensus reached]
- Move planning time, both elementary and middle school, to the Contract as permanent language. [district rejects]
MOU #3 – Class Sizes
- 3-year plan – Year 1: Decrease maximum class size by 1 student from current maximums, but give teachers the flexibility to accept 1 additional student; Year 2: Decrease maximum class size by 2 students from current maximums, teachers still have the flexibility to accept 1 additional student; Year 3: Decrease maximum class size by 2 students from current maximums, no additional students.
- Shift the current over-enrollment stipend structure, eliminating stipends for classes that are only 1 student over MOU target averages and increasing stipends for classes at maximum capacity (+2 student = $200, +3 student = $250, +4 student = $300).
- Adjust requirements for over-enrollment stipends – over-enrolled students must be enrolled for 2 or more days, starting after Labor Day, and teacher must be present for at least 50% of the month to qualify.
- DL/SEI – DL and SEI class-size averages will be calculated separately and classes in both programs must meet all class-size average requirements.
- SpEd – At elementary, all students in SAI will be on GenEd rosters for the purpose of enrollment and determining class sizes. At middle school, all SpEd classes (SAI, SDC, FS) will be excluded from the calculation of GenEd class-size averages, as will SpEd teachers in co-teaching assignments.
- Elementary PE – 1 adult (teacher and aides) for each class out at PE at any given time.
- Combo Classes – Identify supports now: volunteers first, no teachers with less than 3 years experience; class size determined by the lower grade level and no over enrollment; teacher helps select students; full-time aide; $7,500 stipend (equal to the maximum proposed over-enrollment stipend).
MOU #4 – Health Benefits
- Maintain the current MOU language as-is (i.e., district would continue to offer one Employee + 1 plan 100% district-paid and would continue to contribute that same $ amount to all other plans) for an additional 3 years. [no agreement]
After considering LTA’s proposals, the district team returned with counterproposals of their own. First, they presented formal language on prorating the number of sick days teachers employed for less than a full year would receive, as well as on notifying teachers of evaluation by the end of the 3rd week of school rather than the end of the 2nd week, and on changing air filters 2 times per year rather than 4 times per year. On MOU #1, the district team proposed as single day of paid voluntary PD consisting of 2 PD sessions and no planning time. When the LTA Bargaining Team pointed out that this was less than they had offered in December, the district team withdrew their proposal and agreed to revert to their December proposal (2 days paid voluntary PD, ½ day PD and ½ day planning time each, for 2019-2020 only). On MOU #2, the district team repeated their offer to continue elementary and middle school planning time as is, but only as a 1-year MOU for 2019-2020. Finally, the district team said they would need additional time to analyze the costs and other ramifications of the changes LTA was proposing to class sizes. As no additional information on the state or district budgets is expected until at least April, the two teams have scheduled their next bargaining sessions for Wednesday, April 3rd and Thursday, May 9th.
Article 10: Leave Provisions
- Teachers employed for than a full year (new hires after the start of the year, for example) will have the number of sick days they receive prorated for the number of months they work. [tentative consensus reached]
Article 11: Evaluation
- Change evaluation notification deadline from the end of the 2nd week of the work year to the end of the 3rd [tentative consensus reached]
Article 12: Safety Conditions
- Change requirement to replace air filters from 4 times/year to 2 times/year using air filters rated for 6-9 months. [work in progress]
MOU #1 – Paid Voluntary PD
- Reduce the number of paid voluntary PD days to 1, in summer, with 2 PD sessions and no planning time. [withdrawn]
- Reduce the number of paid voluntary PD days to 2, both in summer, and eliminate the 2 paid voluntary PD days on Saturdays in fall/winter; 1-year MOU (rather than a 3-year MOU as proposed by LTA). [no agreement]
MOU #2 – Planning Time, Elementary and Middle School
- Extend the current MOU for 1 year (rather than making planning time permanent as proposed by LTA). [no agreement]
As always, the LTA Bargaining Team is committed to improving the learning environment for students and the working conditions for teachers. We understand the district’s budget constraints and applaud the ongoing cost-cutting efforts. We believe the bargaining process can, with members’ continued support and participation, result in achieving the results teachers want and students need.