News

February 27th School Board Speech

 

Good evening.  As the proud president of the over 600 certificated teachers of this district, through our site reps, our surveys, our organizing, and our site visits with our members, you have seen how passionate and vigorously I have brought forth with fidelity advocating for the many issues with which our members are asking for your help.  I am passionate about fighting workplace bullying, about fair and objective teacher evaluations, about protecting teachers’ time, about students’ learning conditions.  We collectively and vigorously demand quality not quantity, direct student services versus glossy booklets, and that we work to restore the joy in teaching for our NUSD teachers. We will continue to do so, independent of your attempts to malign the educators of Natomas.

It is suspect, that the District did not notice us, the Natomas Teachers Association of a closed session item concerning us at the last meeting.  Perhaps what the Board doesn’t know, is that the District office administration has been avoiding the Association in discussing discrepancies in the charges listed. Attempts to meet with District office administration has been met with silence and avoidance.  The subsequent behavior by administration is unacceptable for the educators, employees, students and community members of Natomas.

District office administration failed to notify NTA of those receiving non reelect notices this year, breaking from past practice so those teachers could be offered assistance.  

Hard working NTA leaders on site discovered some of those noticed with a non reelection letter. 

5 Special ed teachers,

2 seventh grade teachers

1 Math teacher

1 Science teacher and

2 English teachers

Retaining new educators to Natomas is of great importance to the Association, and we  trust the board has the same values. Ironically, from what we know, at least 6 of the 8 of what the District claims are “hard to fill” positions are being non reelected. When talking to these teachers it was discovered there were inconsistencies in evaluators, a bullying evaluator, and/or assistance lacking strategic application of supports. Until the district figures out how to retain and provide the necessary supports for new educators in Natomas, offering expensive incentives is not good for these educators nor the students they serve.

How do we best invest in our teachers? Through sincere support, adequate resources, and positive consistency.  Sadly, that is not the work environment that these teachers experienced during their short time here.

We have done better in the past, and we can do better now.

We encourage the Board to investigate why so many new hires decide to resign from year to year.

We encourage the Board to evaluate the District’s support program for new hires beyond the BTSA/Induction program.

Natomas Teachers’ Association advocates for students and classroom teachers

The Natomas Teachers Association represents preschool teachers, TK-12 grade teachers, nurses, psychologists, speech specialists, counselors, charter school teachers, and Special Education Specialists. NTA is dedicated to improving the conditions of teaching and learning in Natomas; to advance the cause of free, universal, and quality public education in Natomas; to ensure that the human dignity and civil rights of all children and youth are protected; and to secure a more just, equitable, and democratic society.

NTA recognizes that labor-management disputes occur, but is committed to resolving these disputes in a professional and appropriate manner, and preferably through the negotiations process or legal proceedings. In our current dispute with the District over the Union release time that the Parties long ago bargained and for which we contracted, NTA is pursuing its claims through administrative charges filed with the California Public Employment Relations Board. As the District has repeatedly shown, it prefers to engage in the hurling of public insults. This is unfortunate – but sadly not surprising to NTA and its members, who have had to put up with this infantile attitude for years now. NTA can only assure you that we remain focused on meeting the needs and expectations of our students and their families. We will continue to get this vital work done, and in the professional manner expected of educators. We invite the District to follow suit.

Setting the Record Straight, Part 2

The Natomas Teachers Association is dismayed but unfortunately hardly surprised by the District’s recent letter to the community regarding the Union. Rather than engage with NTA and the educational professionals NTA represents with respect and a sincere desire to do right by the District’s pupils, parents, and staff, the District prefers to traffic in falsehoods and smears, bluster and threats. The District’s most recent letter represents more of the same. Simply put, the District’s allegations about NTA representational activities and money owed to the District are false. The State of California Public Employment Relations Board had already issued a legal complaint against the District over its unlawful conduct towards NTA, and we look forward to addressing the District’s new misconduct before the PERB Board as well.

Bargaining Update Jan-Feb 2019

 

NATOMAS TEACHERS ASSOCIATION

BARGAINING UPDATE

2019-2020 Successor Agreement

 

Superintendent Chris Evans’ attempt to divide and conquer will not succeed.  We are NTA, 630 members strong. We are affiliated with 325K CTA members strong and 3M NEA members strong.

 

Negotiations Team
Kristen Rocha, Chair

Justin Vorhauer

Lydiana Alfaro

Emilio Moran

Mara Harvey

Achim Dangerfield

Randy Hodge

Mission Statement:

The Natomas Teachers Association exists to protect and promote the well-being of its members; to improve the conditions of teaching and learning; to advance the cause of free, universal, and quality public education; to ensure that the human dignity and civil rights of all children and youth are protected; and to secure a more just, equitable, and democratic society.

Negotiations’ cycle begins:
✅ NTA surveyed membership in November 2018
✅ NTA submitted articles to be negotiated to District.

    (1/11/19). (“Sunshine Proposal”)
✅ NTA presented Sunshine Proposal at General

    Membership Meeting (12/7/18)
𝥷 Sunshine Proposal at February 13th School Board      

      Meeting

Join us!  In solidarity we will sunshine our proposal to the school board.

𝥷  You prioritized salary and benefits to attract and

    retain educators in Natomas

𝥷  You prioritized improved working conditions.
                        Articles to be Sunshined

  • Agreement
  • Recognition

IV.     Salaries (incl. Appendix &

         incl. dependent charters)

                       V. Hours of Employment

VI.     Health and Welfare Benefits

IX.     Evaluation (incl. Appendix C)

                  XVII. Association Rights
𝥷Negotiations: 1/11/19 NTA proposed dates to commence    

   negotiations and awaits the District’s response.

Q: What does “sunshine” mean?

A: To sunshine a proposal in bargaining means to bring a proposal to a public hearing. (i.e. a school board meeting)  This is part of the typical negotiation process. It is not necessary for both parties (Association and District) to “sunshine” their proposals at the same time.  

Q: What is an MOU?

A: An MOU or Memorandum of Understanding is an agreement between the Association and District that has a sunset date.  It is a temporary agreement. MOU’s are stricken generally when not in or approaching a negotiations cycle or when something unexpected occurs.  NTA values an MOU process that is collaborative, thoughtful, and takes the time to be deliberated by our leadership teams. Superintendent Evans’ proposal for salary is inappropriate and untimely as we are currently entering into negotiations.  

Q: When does negotiations typically begin? What is a negotiation cycle?

A: After sunshining a proposal, the Association and District commence with negotiations. In the course of negotiations proposals are exchanged until settlement is reached.  Negotiations in Natomas Unified has been contentious resulting in Fact Finding and near strike in last two or more negotiations cycles. Don’t allow Superintendent Evans to use propaganda and misinformation in an attempt to divide and conquer.  In solidarity, through our work together as an association, we will make Natomas the destination district again.

Q: What are the typical terms of a contract?

A: The terms vary depending on circumstances. Most recently we settled on a one year agreement as the District was not agreeable to contract language to help address the increases in NTA members’ workload.  Agreement comes with good faith efforts to discuss all of the issues brought forward, and taking the time needed to listen.

Q: How do we get our data we use in negotiations?

A: Our negotiation team uses research and data to inform our proposals for equity.   We use documents the district provides us such as the District budget, salary scattergram, and health benefits scattergram.  In addition, online resources from the California Department of Education (CDE), information from neighboring Districts, other associations, and from our own members are used to formulate Association proposals. Keep your site rep and bargaining team informed of your working conditions and willingness to be involved in order to stop the District’s disrespect of you and your colleagues.

More information can be found on our monthly newsletter, website and facebook.

 

 

NTA Sunshine for 2019-2020

Natomas Teachers’ Association (CTA/NEA)
Initial Bargaining Proposal for Sunshine 2019-2020

NTA exists as a body of members working to promote our students’ rights to a quality public education in Natomas.  It is our goal to provide the best conditions and environment for both students and teachers. Through our negotiations we will address the student experience by focusing on the resources needed for student success through the District LCAP goals and the Collective Bargaining Agreement articles.

The Natomas Teachers’ Association hereby submits the following initial proposal for the 2019-2020 Collective Bargaining Agreement with the Natomas Unified School District. All agreements reached on individual items shall be tentative, subject to a final tentative agreement on the contract. Absent a final agreement modifying the contract, the existing contract language shall remain in full effect.

The Natomas Education Association reserves the right to create, add to, delete from, amend, and modify its proposals and/or open articles of the contract during the negotiations process.

Article IV Salaries  (and all relevant appendices, including LGA schedule)

Article V Hours of Employment

Article VI Health and Welfare Benefits

Article I Agreement

Article IX Evaluation Procedures (and corresponding Appendix C documents)

Article II Recognition

Article XVII Association Rights

NTA proposes to review language in contract articles and memorandums of understandings that may have become obsolete, need updating, be eliminated, or incorporated into the collective bargaining agreement.

 

 

Setting the Record Straight

Setting the Record Straight

Hi everyone,
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.

Facts on Teacher Retention

FACT sheet on teacher retention

The district has attempted to misinform the Natomas community about the facts about the teacher retention problem in our Natomas schools.

FACT: NUSD hires between 80-100 teachers each and every year.  There is not a hiring problem, but there is a retention problem.  No need for hiring bonuses.  Since 2012, we have hired about 600 teachers, but around 400 of them have left NUSD.

FACT: We have a 60% teacher retention problem in NUSD.  Any amount of teacher loss is a disgrace.  Alarmingly, we have lose more special education teachers than we have hired.

FACT: Several NUSD schools have had 50% or higher turnover recently.  LGA has lost about 80% of their teachers each year, with the highest turnover rate.  This year, NHS has had a teacher resign each week for the past six weeks.  American Lakes and Bannon Creek have each had 50% teacher turnover this past year.  Our exit surveys show that they left due to a lack of classroom resources, and poor district culture (admin bullying, extraordinary demands, lack of time to collaborate with colleagues, etc)

FACT: Each teacher that leaves (resigns, retires, in non-re-elected, etc.) affects between 30-200 students per classroom each year.   That’s thousands of students left behind.

Feel free to contact NTA for details on our exits survey, and for more specific stats and details on teacher hiring and teacher resignation stories.  Talk to your local classroom teachers, and students, for their stories.  This is not a national problem that is some puzzle we can’t solve.  Rather, we can solve this problem easily through teacher input and an authentic and sincere collaboration with Natomas Teachers’ Association to implement the resources and supports our teachers have been suggesting through the LCAP for several years.

Thank you for caring about Natomas teachers!