“With a May deadline for layoffs rapidly approaching, the District is trying to reach an agreement in order to save jobs, and the Union is refusing to settle. In fact, UESF negotiators walked away from the bargaining table on Friday despite the fact that the District and Union were within range of an agreement on some of the economic proposals that could retain current class sizes and rescind hundreds of final layoff notices.
Regretfully, we have no choice but to notify UESF of the district’s intent to declare an impasse and request that the Public Employment Relations Board appoint a neutral mediator to help us overcome our differences.
By calling in a third party mediator, we are hoping to continue this conversation without confrontation and move toward a plan that gets us through this crisis.
Union negotiators are demanding permanent changes in the contract that have nothing to do with student learning, and which go against the needs of our most underserved children.
UESF wants the district to:
* Pay for picking up and distributing mail between schools and the Union headquarters (a legally prohibited practice);
* Limit the criteria used for teacher evaluations and require that any observations for use in teacher evaluations be scheduled with a specific time and class period (as opposed to a window of time which is the current agreement). This would restrict a principal’s ability to get a well-rounded view of a teacher’s instructional practices.
* Reduce the stipends agreed to in Proposition A for those teachers at our hardest to staff schools. (The District is committed to the goals of access and equity and this portion of Prop. A is critical to our most underserved communities. The District is leaving in all of the Prop. A teacher pay scale changes);
* Guarantee that no core substitutes will be laid off (the District maintains that permanent teacher positions must be a priority);
* Maintain additional daily prep periods for AP teachers that result in most of them teaching only four classes per day for full salary – a cost to the District of over $3 million per year. (In light of the economic crisis we are asking the Union to agree to suspend them for the next two years while giving the AP teachers a $1,500 stipend in place of the prep periods).
We are in a financial crisis of historic proportions. The District feels that it is much more respectful to save the jobs of our dedicated teachers and paraprofessionals rather than quibble over sentences in a contract that have nothing to do with keeping students first.
By calling in a third party mediator we look forward to creating a plan that gets us through this crisis together.”