• Tag Archives class sizes
  • 2017-2018 Bargaining Update #2

    The 2017-2018 negotiations cycle continues! On Wednesday, June 14, the LTA Bargaining Team, led by veteran negotiator Lisa Rubio (Huerta) and including Jim Nadler (LMS), Gary Moore (LMS), Justin Catalán (TOSA) 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 first meeting between the two teams this cycle. The LTA Bargaining Team presented specific language proposals that we feel will greatly improve the learning conditions of students and the work conditions of teachers.

    LTA Initial Proposal Highlights:

    ARTICLE 6: COMPENSATION & BENEFITS

    • No proposal on salary yet due to continuing developments in the state budget.
    • Establish a fixed enrollment window for 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.
    • 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 one additional day to each scenario, 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 9: CLASS SIZE

    • Include students with IEPs in the class-size calculations of their general education teachers to prevent bloated classes when students with IEPs “mainstream.”
    • Clarify that special education classes, intervention classes and other classes with artificially low class sizes should not be used when calculating the overall class-size average for LMS.
    • Calculate the class-size averages of DL and non-DL classes separately, and require that classes in both programs meet contractual and MOU class-size averages, to avoid inter-program disparities and unequal educational environments for students.

    ARTICLE 11: EVALUATION

    • Change the frequency of evaluation for permanent teachers with 10+ years of experience and prior satisfactory evaluations from up to every three years to up to every five years.

    Additionally, the LTA Bargaining Team suggested forming a joint exploratory committee to review the district’s new special programs (the School of Engineering, the School of Dentistry, the Lennox Virtual Academy, etc.), and explore their contractual implications.

    The district team also reviewed their proposal (but did not present specific language).

    LSD Proposal Highlights:

    ARTICLE 6: COMPENSATION & BENEFITS

    • No proposal on salary due to continuing developments in the state budget.
    • Clarify that the number of days in a work year (used to calculate the 75% of a work year required to advance on the salary schedule) should be all work days [183] as opposed to instructional days [180]; i.e., that unit members must work 137.25 or more days, not 135, in order to advance on the salary schedule.
    • Amend and update Appendix B: Relative Position Salary Guarantee.

    ARTICLE 7: WORK YEAR & HOURS OF EMPLOYMENT

    • Modify language to specifically permit voluntary after-school meetings on Fridays.
    • Establish contractual SpEd preschool and TK dismissal times.

    ARTICLE 8: ASSIGNMENTS & TRANSFERS

    • Eliminate the contractual requirement to fly TOSA and certificated administrator vacancies.

    ARTICLE 17: PRIOR WRITTEN APPROVAL FOR COURSEWORK

    • Clean up and clarify language describing unit member responsibility to obtain prior approval for coursework; eliminate provisions for retroactive salary increases when prior approval was not obtained.

    State Budget

    In other news, the state budget continues to evolve. We’ve made great progress in the last few years and are WAY ahead of the projections on LCFF funding and closing the gap between where we were in 2013-2014 and the targets for 2020-2021. At this point, we’re at about 87% of “full funding” from the state. Original budget estimates were that we’d close 73% of the remaining gap next year, but then, in the Governor’s January Budget, the gap closure dropped to 24% – still an increase in funding compared to this year, but not much. COLA was estimated at 1.48%. Then, in the May Revise, the gap closure went back up to 44% and COLA was adjusted to 1.56%. The Governor also proposed over $1 billion dollars in one-time monies for school districts for professional development, new teacher induction, instructional materials, and technology. The only catch was that it wouldn’t be paid out until May 2019. 2019! So… basically useless for long-term planning because who knows what could happen to that money before it actually gets sent to school districts. However, just last night, as details about the final state budget were becoming clear, it started looking like the pay-out date for that billion dollars will be moved up to 2018. Great news, if it happens. The State Legislature will vote on the final budget Thursday, and then our Bargaining Team can begin to analyze the approved state budget and its impact on Lennox. Once they have a better idea of what the district’s 2017-2018 budget will be, they can determine how much of a salary increase would be fair to teachers, balanced with the needs of students, and sustainable by the district. They will strive for as much of a raise as possible, but, in the interest of managing expectations, remember that even with a good state budget, the growth we’ve seen over the last few years is slowing down and salary gains will probably be modest this time around.

    Regardless of what the state budget looks like, the LTA Bargaining Team is committed to improving the learning environment for students and the working conditions for teachers in Lennox. We believe the proposals we’ve made will help meet the needs of teachers and assist the district to better meet the needs of all students. The two teams have scheduled their next bargaining session for Tuesday, August 15, just before we return to school. As is always the case, it is our desire to reach an agreement as soon as possible, but not at the expense of achieving important goals that will benefit our students, help our members, and be consistent with the priorities of the Lennox community.

    download Bargaining Update #2

    download LTA Intitial Proposal (6-14-17)

    download LSD Sunshine

     


  • 2017-2018 Bargaining Update #1

    The 2017-2018 negotiations cycle has begun! Your LTA Bargaining Team will again be led by veteran negotiator Lisa Rubio (Huerta) and includes Justin Catalán (TOSA), Gary Moore (LMS), Jim Nadler (LMS) and Andrew Staiano (CTA staff). The LSD team will include Hiacynth Martinez (Personnel), Kevin Franklin (Fiscal Services), Polo Marquez (Felton AP) and Steve Andelson (attorney).

    Your LTA Bargaining Team sunshined the contract articles we will be opening this year at the February 28th School Board meeting, and the public hearing on our sunshine will be held on March 14th. We hope the district will sunshine the contract articles they wish to open at that time as well.

    LTA Sunshine Articles:

    ARTICLE 6: COMPENSATION & BENEFITS

    ARTICLE 8: ASSIGNMENTS & TRANSFERS

    ARTICLE 9: CLASS SIZE

    ARTICLE 11: EVALUATION

    download the full LTA Sunshine

    As is the case every year, one of the Bargaining Team’s top priorities will be to secure a fair and reasonable increase in our salaries. They will analyze the district’s budget with the help of CTA staff, and will strive for as much of a raise as possible. That being said, in the interest of managing expectations, please be aware that the increases in the district’s budget we’ve seen over the last few years – which have allowed us to achieve raises totaling 11% over the last 3 years – are slowing down. The budget isn’t shrinking (we fought too hard to pass Prop 55 to let that happen!), but it’s not growing much either. Right now the Governor is projecting a COLA (cost of living adjustment) of only 1.48%, and among other costs, the district will have to contribute an additional 2% to our STRS retirement plans next year. You can probably do the math on that and predict what the district is going to propose. We are hoping for stronger budget growth when the Governor presents the May Revise to the state budget (in May), but prepare yourself for the possibility that salary gains will be more modest this time around.

    Your LTA Bargaining Team is committed to improving the learning environment for students and the working conditions for teachers in Lennox. We believe the proposals we will make this year will help meet the needs of teachers and assist the district to better meet the needs of all students. As is always the case, it is our desire to reach an agreement as soon as possible, but not at the expense of achieving important goals that will benefit our students, help our members, and be consistent with the priorities of the Lennox community.

    download LTA Bargaining Update #1


  • LCAP Meetings…

    It’s LCAP season again!  Time to review and revise the district’s 3-year Local Control and Accountability Plan.  DSLT (the LCAP committee, including a teacher and parent from every school) has already met three times to review progress on our current LCAP goals, but we also need to get feedback from teachers, parents and the community.

    Below are a number of opportunities for teachers, parents and the community to discuss:

    • implementation of the state standards
    • student achievement
    • student attendance and engagement
    • course access
    • school climate and safety
    • parent involvement

    The LCAP is a public document, and there is a link to the current 2016-2019 LCAP left-hand side of the district’s home page, under “Important Links” – http://www.lennox.k12.ca.us/##

    Teachers

    As district employees, you have 5 ways to give your input:

    1) Have a discussion with your DSLT member:

    • Buford – Marichi Fragoza
    • Felton – Ana Marcelletti
    • Huerta – Francis Hernandez
    • Jefferson – David Martin
    • Moffett – Shannon Alvarado
    • LMS – Desiree Dorado

    2) Take the employee LCAP survey.

    3) Attend the official district employee input session.  Wednesday, March 8, 3:30 pm in the PDC at DO.

    4) There will be a discussion at each school for  anyone who wants to talk about the LCAP.

    • Tues, Feb 21, 3:15 pm – Jefferson
    • Weds, Feb 22, 3:15 pm – Huerta
    • Mon, Feb 27, 3:15 pm – Felton
    • Tues, Feb 28, 3:15 pm – Buford
    • Weds, March 1, 3:15 pm – DO
    • Thurs, March 2, 3:15 pm – LMS
    • Weds, March 15, 3:15 pm – Moffett

    5) Attend a School Board meeting in May/June when the LCAP is presented to the School Board and share your thoughts with the Board.

     

    Parents and Community

    As part of LTA’s commitment to parents and the community, and to make sure their voices are also heard by the district, LTA will once again hold parent focus groups at every school and will present the parent input to DSLT and the School Board.

    • Friday, Feb. 17, 10:30 AM – Felton Parent Center
    • Tuesday, Feb. 21, 11:00 AM – LMS Parent Center
    • Thursday, Feb. 23, 10:15 AM – Dolores Huerta Parent Center
    • Friday, Feb. 24, 8:30 AM – Jefferson Parent Center
    • Tuesday, Feb. 28, 8:30 AM – Moffett Parent Center
    • Wednesday, March 1, 10:15 AM – Buford Parent Center

    download the LTA Parent LCAP Flyer

     

    Lots of opportunities for input.  The LCAP is an excellent way for teachers and other district employees, as well as parents and the community, to participate in developing and guiding the district’s vision (and budget) for the next 3 years.  We hope you’ll participate in some way.


  • Bargaining Update #4 – 8/29/16

    NO CHANGE IN HEALTH BENEFITS

    Your LTA Bargaining Team – led by Lisa Rubio (Huerta) and made up of Justin Catalán (Moffett), Gary Moore (LMS), Jim Nadler (LMS) and Andrew Staiano (CTA staff) – met with the district bargaining team today. The district team consists of Dr. Hiacynth Martinez (Chief Personnel Officer), Kevin Franklin (Chief Financial Officer), Polo Marquez (Felton VP) and Steve Andelson (attorney).

    Based on conversations with members and the results of the most recent bargaining survey, one of LTA’s main objectives today was to reach an understanding with the district aboutpermanentlylowering the cost of health benefits. Because the open enrollment window closed Friday, we knew we had a very limited window of opportunity to come to an agreement lowering the cost of benefits and giving members an opportunity to make changes to their plan choices. We offered to accept the district’s estimate of the cost of LTA’s benefits proposal as equal to a 1% increase in salary, and to reduce our salary proposal from 5% to 4%. The district rejected this offer, instead proposing to instate LTA’s benefits proposalfor one year only,and to increase salary by a mere 0.5% for one year,off the salary schedule. The district resisted all efforts to decouple the discussion of health benefits and salary, and insisted that any agreement today include both benefits and final salary increase amounts. Despite close analysis of the district’s cost estimates demonstrating that more money is available, the district held firm to its proposal of one year of health benefits, a one-time 0.5% “bonus,” and no permanent salary increase. As much as your LTA Bargaining Team wanted to reach an agreement on benefits today, a one-year respite in health benefit costs coupled with a meager – and temporary – increase to salary is both unacceptable and insulting. We simply could not agree to that. So, sorry folks, it looks like there will be no improvement in health benefits this year.

    In regard to other proposals, the districtrejected:

    • stipends for combo classes and middle school teachers with 3 or more preps,
    • increasing the work year by 7 pupil-free days, stating that there are no plans for professional development beyond June 2017 when the current PD MOU expires,
    • continuing elementary PE/planning and the LMS planning period beyond the expiration of the current planning time MOU in June 2017,
    • creating permanent super minimum days for scoring,
    • maintaining lower class sizes once the current class-size MOU expires in June 2017, and
    • lowering special ed case loads.

    The district alsomaintainedtheir proposals to:

    • allow principals to extend Wednesday meetings until 4 pm to address unspecified “unforeseen circumstances requiring immediate attention,”
    • limit the scope of teacher participation in school decision-making via School Leadership Teams, and finally,
    • delay reopening the entire contract for renegotiation until 2019, two years later than the contract currently stipulates.

    Clearly this has been a disappointing day, particularly with regard to the district’s shortsightedness on important issues like health benefits, professional development, planning time and class sizes. It is also clear we will need to step up our efforts to educate the district, school board and community on the importance of these issues and the ways that they benefit not only teachers, but students as well. The district’s compulsive focus on the cost of these programs, rather than their benefit to students and teachers, has convinced us that some of these issues will be better dealt with during the next bargaining cycle. We, therefore, made the difficult but strategic decision to postpone further discussion about elementary PE/planning, the LMS planning period, and lower class sizes until early 2017.

    Our final proposal of the day:

    • offered to drop demands for an increase in health benefits in exchange for a full 5% permanent salary increase (if we can’t save people money on benefits, we can at least make up some of the difference in salary),
    • maintained demands for stipends for combo classes and middle school teachers with 3 or more preps, and a $40/hour teacher hourly rate,
    • proposed increasing the the work year by 5 pupil-free days (which would result in a 2.7% working raise),
    • rejected the district’s vague proposal for meetings until 4 pm,
    • maintained proposals lowering special ed case loads.

    Be on the lookout for communications from the Organizing Team in the next few weeks on how you can help support our continuing bargaining efforts.

    The two teams are scheduled to meet again September 20 and October 13.

    download the full text of LTA’s morning proposal

    download the full text of the district’s proposal

    download the full text of LTA’s afternoon proposal

    download Bargaining Update #4


  • Negotiations Begin

    The LTA Bargaining Team – led by Lisa Rubio (Huerta) and made up of Sigrid Caballero (SpEd preschool), Justin Catalán (Moffett), Jim Nadler (LMS) and Andrew Staiano (CTA staff) – met with the district’s bargaining team Friday morning to present our initial bargaining proposals. The district’s team consists of Dr. Hiacynth Martinez (Sr. Dir. of Personnel), Kevin Franklin (Sr. Dir. of Fiscal Services), Polo Marquez (LMS Dean of Students) and Steve Andelson (attorney).

    LTA Proposal Highlights:

    ARTICLE 6: COMPENSATION & BENEFITS

    • Increase salaries by 5%
    • Increase extra-duty rate of pay to $40/hour
    • Increase health benefits across all medical plans, evening contributions so the district pays the same amount into each plan, and permanently establish one 100% district-paid Employee + 1 plan
    • Establish $2,000 stipends for elementary teachers assigned combo classes and middle-school teachers with 3 or more preps

    ARTICLE 7: WORK YEAR & HOURS OF EMPLOYMENT

    • Add 7 work days to the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 calendars – 3 PD/planning days before school begins in August, 3 pupil-free PD/planning days during the school year, and increasing the spring Parent Conference day to a full, pupil-free day, all paid at the per diem rate (equivalent to another 3.8% salary increase)
    • Permanently establish 100 minutes of teacher-directed planning/preparation time/week for preschool and elementary teachers (8 PEs/month for teachers, 0 for principals, although principals could “trade” 1 PE for 1 Wednesday afternoon)
    • Permanently establish 1 period of teacher-directed planning/preparation time/day for middle school teachers
    • Better define student dismissal times at all grade levels, and standardize Wednesday early dismissal at 1:38 pm for all schools
    • Clarify super minimum day responsibilities, and permanently establish 3 super minimum days/year for scoring
    • Eliminate morning yard duty

    ARTICLE 9: CLASS SIZE

    • Permanently re-establish CSR/QEIA-like grade-span averages:
      • TK-1 20:1
      • 2-3 22:1
      • 4-5 25:1
      • 6-8 27:1
    • Calculate grade-span averages for schools-within-schools (like Dual Language and School of Engineering) separately from the rest of the school so that students in and out of the programs can benefit from smaller class sizes
    • Calculate/check grade-span averages monthly rather than yearly
    • Create class-size maximums, in most cases 2-3 higher than the average above, and caps of 15:1 in LMS intervention, ELD and special education classes

    ARTICLE 21: SPECIAL EDUCATION

    • Create caseload caps for SDC teachers, and lower existing caps for RSP teachers and Speech and Language Pathologists

    Due to the delays in the bargaining timeline this year, the LTA Bargaining Team made the unprecedented suggestion that the two teams continue negotiating through the summer in hopes of resolving some of the more time-sensitive issues (like benefits and class sizes for next year) as soon as possible. The district’s team declined, but pointed out that the district has postponed the benefits enrollment/adjustment window until fall… in case negotiations results in a change to district and employee contribution levels and people want to adjust their plans as a result. The two teams are scheduled to meet again August 29, September 22, and October 13; additional dates will be scheduled if possible.

    As always, the LTA Bargaining Team is committed to improving the learning environment for students and the working conditions for teachers in Lennox. We believe our proposals will help meet the needs of teachers and assist the district in the era of Common Core and LCFF/LCAP. It is our desire to reach an agreement as soon as possible, but not at the expense of achieving important goals that will help our students, benefit our members, and be consistent with the priorities of the Lennox community.

    Read the full text of the LTA proposals:

    Download LTA Initial Proposals

    Download LTA Bargaining Update #2