Setting the Record Straight
Regarding the superintendent’s email to the community about an improper MOU he offered, out of the blue, we would like to set the record straight.
- At last week’s board meeting, the superintendent falsely complained that the district had offered to make changes to the salary schedule and that NTA rejected those changes. In fact, NTA was the moving party on those changes (example, removing the intern column), but the district took us to impasse and insisted on an all or nothing package, so no deal was reached on our proposals to the salary schedule. Why the superintendent does not know about or understand our proposals causes us great concern about his judgement. Otherwise, why would he purposefully misrepresent NTA’s proposals if nothing else but to continue his bizarre campaign to demonize NTA in public statements? It’s shameful and beneath the dignity of his position.
- We sent a correction to his statement the next day to all of the school board. Strangely, he sent back two MOUs as a reply. However, if he wanted a salary schedule change, he could have simply agreed to that last year.
- As a practice, unions do not typically deal in merit pay or bonuses. We reminded the superintendent of that, and he oddly sent back a bonus proposal. We also reported that we do not have a hiring problem in Natomas. Each year we hire between 120-150 teachers, fully filling all positions. Rather, we have a retention problem. We lost approx.150 teachers last year, and this year so far over 100 and still counting. We have given the district proposals to retain teachers which the district has rejected each time.
- NTA and NUSD are currently in a bargaining cycle for 2019-2020. That means that we exchange proposals as is the normal process of negotiations this year, starting as soon as possible. NTA has sunshined our initial proposal for 2019-2010 to our members, and to the district, as we do every cycle.
- Last year, NTA negotiated for 2018-2019, our current year. The district took us to impasse, as they have done for the past several years, without considering our proposals or conducting meaningful, collaborative discussions. It took a state appointed fact-finder for the district to finally make agreements.
- As you may know, MOUs are typically developed in unusual situations, or situations that require immediate attention, such as a sudden program change, or a school closure. Otherwise, when in a bargaining cycle, MOUs are not needed because we bargain those items together as contract language. NTA offered an MOU for K-8 conversions to the superintendent, who rejected it and said it should be bargained. We have sent several demand-to-bargain changes in working conditions to the superintendent, which he has rejected. We have major concerns with special ed program changes, and a lack of resources for these new programs, which we attempted to bargain the past two cycles, but the district repeatedly took us to impasse to avoid collaborating on those issues. The district’s pattern of insincerity on working on identified issues with us is mind-boggling.
- Finally, as you are aware, NTA works as a team – exec board, bargaining team, rep council, organizing and membership vote. We do not make a practice of making decisions by a single entity, and certainly not by email or one-sided MOU. We are a union of 600+ members – not a dictatorship. We seek to work collaboratively, through the normal negotiation process, where we exchange proposals, and come to healthy consensus through thoughtful work and sharing input. If we were to only remedy the major issues in our district by MOU, these are just some of the MOUs we would propose in order to retain our teachers, new and veteran:
MOU on K-8 hours
MOU on teacher directed collaboration
MOU supporting case-manager co-teaching collaboration time
MOU to provide resources to support an inclusion program
MOU to provide resources to support IB lesson development
MOU to pilot a informal observation form
MOU to pilot refocus rooms
MOU adding reading specialists and social workers
MOU adding back arts and music prep
MOU to pilot teacher work days
MOU to pilot early out elementary collaboration time
Fortunately, we have a legal, recognized negotiation process that we follow. We have surveyed our members, and through our general membership meetings and site visits, we have developed member priorities and recommendations for negotiations and LCAP. All we ask is that the district incorporate our LCAP recommendations, as per the law requires. As always, we will continue to push for your recommendations to become part of the district LCAP plan.
Attaching our proposal from last year’s fact-finding, as well as the article from the Sac Bee.
Optimistically, we expect a future of positive changes considering that over 50% of the community in the last board election were asking for a change that we so badly need in our district leadership. Thanks to all of you for your involvement, and your participation in our efforts to create a positive district culture for all. Our working conditions are the student’s learning conditions.
Thank you for your attention.