Your team met with representatives from the District on March 25th. Some progress in language was made and the Association presented its compensation offer. We received no counter-offer in response.
In our field, as in most, two considerations are paramount in job satisfaction: work conditions and compensation. The order, I suppose, depends on the individual. I have never met a teacher who claimed that compensation was king. On the other hand, I have also never met a teacher who expected to be in constant monthly fear of the inability to meet their debt obligations. Teachers are not naive; we understood that we were not immune to effects of a worldwide recession. However, neither did we expect that we would continue to live paycheck to paycheck when economic conditions began to improve. Your Team is well aware that many (if not all) of us have less buying power than we did six years ago. While wages have stagnated, the cost of living (not including such things as education expenses, taxes, and non-essentials) has increased over 9% during this time. With this in mind, we made a salary and benefits proposal we consider fair and fiscally responsible. We expect management to share these goals. This might require a shifting of budget priorities. Considering that the District's LCAP names the recruitment, hiring, and retention of highly qualified staff as one of its primary goals, this priority shift should not pose a barrier to a reasonable settlement.
We continue to assert your interests as dedicated and qualified professionals. When language is proposed that calls this into question, or seeks to limit the value of our input, we will not waver.
Management is anxious to present a calendar for Association ratification. We share this interest but are holding the line on ensuring that there be some clarity regarding management and Association interests. As soon as this clarity can be secured, a proposed calendar will be brought forward for your consideration.
Your Team is aware that open negotiations are a distraction from our shared goal: the intellectual and social growth of our students. We will do our best to ensure a fair settlement as quickly as possible. Thank you for your support.
On behalf of your Team,
As indicated in the previous post, we were hoping to report some real progress at the bargaining table. Unfortunately, we cannot. We were expecting to enter into negotiations regarding compensation and were prepared to do so. The representatives for the District were not prepared for this. We were told that updated financial information requiring Board approval would be necessary in order to facilitate a well-informed discussion. This approval is anticipated to be given on March 11. We left the table disappointed.
The discussion on that day was, instead, focused on contract language. Little progress was made here. The easiest way to accelerate the process is for your Team to concede every request made by the District representatives. We will not do this. Our position is that, as professionals, we should be empowered to make, within reason, decisions about our work. We also recognize that, as professionals dedicated to the enrichment of our our students' lives, we will be devoting more time to our craft than our contract indicates. However, effective and successful professionals also realize the importance of a balance between work and private life. Unfettered encroachment on this balance is untenable. We are unwilling to make concessions on your behalf in the interest of expediency.
Finally, your Team is aware that there are those that have been critical of our efforts. You are entitled to your opinions and may continue to air them. We call on others, however, to consider that the current path of bargaining requires a unified voice. Barring any change in course, it appears that we might be headed for an uphill climb. We must be resolute in our convictions. Your Team shares your impatience for a fair settlement and pledge to do everything in our power to achieve this. We return to the table on March 25th. Thank you for your support.
On behalf of your Team,