- 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.
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.
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.
|district contribution BEFORE||16.28%||18.13%||19.10%|
|district contribution IN MAY REVISE||16.28%||16.70%||18.10%|
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.
Note 1: The district later provided a copy of the letter from LACOE to the district appointing a fiscal advisor.
Note 2: LACOE later amended its letter to the district regarding the appointment of a fiscal advisor.