Friday, May 28, 2010

SF Teachers & SFUSD Ratify Contract: Hundreds of Jobs to Be Saved Despite Failure of the State to Adequately Fund Schools

Press release from SFUSD:

May 28, 2010 (San Francisco) - Today, the members of the United Educators of San Francisco officially ratified the recent contract agreement with the San Francisco Unified School District. The agreement provides $39 million in savings to SFUSD over the next two years, and saves hundreds of teacher and paraprofessional jobs. It was unanimously passed by the SF Board of Education at their meeting on May 25, 2010.

“The teachers and paraprofessionals of SFUSD have courageously stepped up for our city’s school children,” says UESF President Dennis Kelly. “But their sacrifice alone will not be enough. The people of the state of California must realize that any further cuts to our public
education and essential public services will spell disaster for our kids.”

The agreement comes as SFUSD is facing a projected $113 million budget shortfall over the next two school years, prompted by an unprecedented disinvestment in public education by the state of California – over $17 billion the past two years. That deficit may in fact expand, as the California Teachers Association estimates that the Governor’s May Revise budget could cut up to $3 billion more from K-12 education.

With this agreement, the district will be able to reduce the amount of teacher layoffs to 199, and to significantly reduce the number of paraprofessional layoffs as well. Due to anticipated budget cuts, SFUSD had to issue preliminary layoff notices to 701 teachers and other certificated staff and 101 paraprofessionals. Prior to a ratified agreement with the teachers union, final layoff notices were issued to 350 certificated staff by the May 15 State deadline. Today the district will begin sending out rescission notices to 149 teachers. Both the union and the district hope that the remaining teachers and paraprofessionals who received a layoff notice could ultimately be brought back before the beginning of the next school year.

“I am grateful to the teachers and paraprofessionals for agreeing to help us close the deficit gap and keep our district solvent,” says Superintendent Carlos Garcia. “At a time when our students need more services, our State is forcing us to provide less. We are doing the best we can to stay focused on our priorities and work toward a long term solution to our broken school finance system.”

The agreement includes four furlough days to be taken during the 2010-2011 school year. The total number of instructional days next year will be 176 instead of the 180 that has been in place.

The superintendent intends to close down the district on these four days, resulting in cost savings of $8.6 million as all staff, teachers, administrators and support personnel would not be paid on these days. The specific furlough days were just finalized between the teachers union and district. The revised instructional calendar will be reviewed by the Board of Education next week.

The proposal calls for schools and support offices to be shut down on November 1, February 4, March 25, and April 25 of the 2010-2011 school year.

11 comments:

  1. I don't understand these dates. How did they come up with these? It seems like they'd do something more logical like close school for the full Thanksgiving week--when so many kids take off anyway. Or maybe they'd extend Christmas break. Or why not have a winter break/ski week?

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  2. Thank you SF teachers!

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  3. Or start school after Labor Day like it's supposed to.

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  4. UESF members who are paid by the hour or day - like classified staff - would take a huge pay hit on a check if there were two furlough days in a cycle.

    Besides, Feb. 4th date creates a four-day weekend with the Lunar New Year observance, and March 25th adds a day to Spring Break.

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  5. And November 1, All Saints' (Hallows) Day, is probably a day most kids want to get a little extra sleep anyway after the sugarfest of Halloween.

    I'm glad they ratified the contract, but this whole thing stinks--not the teachers, but the fact that California has disinvested from public education to the tune of 17 billion dollars in the last couple of years, so that the budget is being balanced on the backs of teachers, parents (who will now have to miss work or pay for childcare), and of course, students, who will now get 4 days less of school. For those kids who will not be spending those furlough days in enriching activities, it is a real loss.

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  6. Yes, all the talk about closing the achievement gap, how are less school days and more crowded classrooms going to help that? It isn't.

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  7. I am a teacher and have repeatedly been told that the hardest day to get a substitute is 1 November. I don't have any idea if that's true, but it is a very difficult day for many children and teachers.

    The worst 1 November I remember had Picture Day scheduled on it, and I was frantically trying to remove the vestiges of Halloween makeup from several students.

    Next year, 1 November is also the day before elections. As a furlough day for educators, it's an excellent day for walking precincts, get-out-the-vote calls, and so on.

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  8. As a working parent, I wish that the furlough days were clumped together - it's easier to just make it a vacation that the days scattered throughout the year.

    Also, when my mother was a teacher, she had the option to have her salary spread throughout the entire year (salary divided by 24 pay periods) instead of just during the nine months of the year.

    Do UESF teachers have this option? Couldn't the furlough days somehow get addressed in how payroll manages it?

    I was SO hoping for a week off at Thanksgiving - having to take my vacation days one at a time through the schoolyear is a drag.

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  9. Teachers will probably have the furlough cut in pay taken as a percentage over the 12 monthly checks. This apparently was not an option for classified payroll.

    No furloughs and more education money would make for the best solution, but given the circumstances the suggested schedule seems fairly well-planned.

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  10. It kills me that all of this is done in lieu of raising taxes. The myth we've all accepted that all taxes somehow hurt the economy. But cutting teacher salaries and forcing parents to pay for child care or take time off work are really different ways of being taxed. And depriving our kids of instructional days is just penny wise, pound foolish, because we're shooting ourselves in the foot over the long term depriving them of a good education. Not faulting this particular deal, just shaking my head over this state's priorities. Heaven forbid I or anyone else in this rich state pay more than $31 every five years to renew a driver's license -- wouldn't want to raise taxes!!! But stick it to a bunch of teachers, students, and parents? Not a problem.

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  11. Here's another irony: you pay taxes and get less school, but get a tax credit for child care costs. Better public policy, apparently, to hire non-teaching babysitters than to hire actual teachers. Not that I'm arguing in favor of private school tax tuition tax credits, only pointing out that it seems screwy that it reduces your tax bill to pay a babysitter but not to educate your child.

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