Bargaining Update 7-13-20

District Finally Admits that it is NOT Prepared to Safely Reopen Schools, latest updates, NTA Survey
Hello NTA members,

As previously reported, NTA will go back to the table with the District on Wednesday, July 15, at 1:00pm. An update will be sent out after the meeting.

Moreover, earlier today, NTA learned through the Districts public email blast, that it plans to delay the start of schools until Thursday, August, 27, 2020. This was a move that was not negotiated and not discussed with NTA.

In its email blast, the district admitted that they are delaying the start of schools because it is not prepared, stating in part, “allow extra time to hire more staff, add even further layers of safety, and assess Sacramento County’s virus conditions, as we enter August”. Despite acknowledging its unpreparedness, particularly in regards to safety (a fact that NTA has been raising since the start of school reopening negotiations), the district is still planning on reopening schools with a 5 day a week option. The 5 day a week option has been lauded as the most unsafe model for schools reopening.

What makes the District’s current plan even more disappointing, is that it comes on the heels of dozens of school districts announcing that they will reopen in a 100% distance learning model. Districts include:  Los Angeles Unified, San Diego Unified, West Contra Costa County, East Side Union, and Oakland Unified (click here to read Los Angeles Times report).

Negotiating Start of School Date:
While it may be useful to delay the start of school, the District’s illegal and unilateral action, has created additional questions and concerns. Later today NTA leaders will be sending the district a letter regarding its illegal action, as well as, asking the following questions:
1. Will August pay check (our regular pay cycle) be affected?
2. Will any District STRS reporting for the month of august be affected?
3. Since the negotiated calendar was unilaterally changed, does the district believe that it can add the missed days (because of the change of the first day of school) to the end of the school year?

NTA members Willing to do What it Takes to Safely Reopen Schools

Last week, NTA has held virtual site visits with members at the Elementary schools to discuss a bargaining update, how to safely reopen schools, and have polled members on a willingness to stand united  to demand the the district bargain in good faith and a demand to safely reopen schools. With an average ratio of well over 90% NTA members are stating a willingness to stand united and ensure that our students, families, and members are protected.

Later today, NTA members from the high school are scheduled for their virtual site visit.

Picture (below) from last week’s K-5 schools virtual site visit.

NTA Resolution – Black Lives Matter

Resolution – Black Lives Matter

Natomas Teachers Association (NTA) stands in solidarity with the family, friends, and loved ones of George Floyd, with the Black community, and with everyone demanding police accountability and justice. 

WHEREAS, on May 25, 2020, a Minneapolis police officer murdered 46-year-old George Floyd, kneeling on his neck for nearly nine minutes while he pleaded to be allowed to breathe; and 

WHEREAS, three other police officers aided and abetted the death of George Floyd; and 

WHEREAS, the Black community repeatedly faces the deaths of loved ones at the hands of the police; and 

WHEREAS, the core principle of unions and the labor movement – “An Injury to One is An Injury to All” – requires all working people of conscience to take a stand for justice; and 

WHEREAS, Black Lives Matter. 

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that NTA will engage in an ongoing dialogue of compassion and understanding that brings to life a vision for our community and schools that is culturally engaged, globally aware, safe for all points of view, and actively involved in supporting equal access to education, healthcare, and other fundamental needs. NTA acknowledges the existence of institutionalized racism and commits to actively confront the racism that exists in our systems and structures. We are committed to being part of the solution by promoting diversity hiring, awareness of history and data, and teaching students using anti-racist curriculum.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we call on our membership to safely participate in or otherwise support actions called by those seeking justice for George Floyd and all other victims of police brutality. 

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that NTA will issue a statement to our entire membership to the effect of the resolution above.

End of Year Update – May 22, 2020

Hi everyone,

Congratulations to all of you for finishing up a very unusual, and challenging school year.  We have not yet determined the details of what next fall will look like, however we did work with the district on preliminary plans such as:

  • MOU on an early start program (to test conditions)
  • MOU on independent study programs for the fall
  • MOU on committees to plan for special programs: PE, science labs, CTE, Art, and Music/Band
  • MOU on the plans to start on distance learning/hybrid classroom instruction for the fall

Congrats to all the NUSD retirees.  May your retirement years be wonderful and restful.

Transfer and Reassignment has been completed by the district, and all of you should get letters in your email about your placement next year.  Some of you may not get letters, as a few positions (mainly sped) have changed, moved, are still being determined so HR will be contacting you with more information.  Many of you have emailed asking about T and R, and it will take some time for us to return these numerous emails, so please be patient with us.
NTA sent out a survey to get input from you (unofficial) about your preferences and ideas for the fall, such as are you preferring the classroom, or distance learning, or independent study.  We realize it’s a difficult dilemna since those have not been completely and publicly defined yet.   We appreciate all of you who have completed the survey so far.  Results will be shared the summer.  Members received the survey in their personal emails.
Keep in contact with your site reps, stay visual, stay informed, and look out for our summer zoom meetings to be scheduled to keep you updated.  In our last meeting, we talked to you about the need to support and participate in our PAC (political action committee) in order to actively support and elect teacher friendly school board members in Natomas.  Also, we want you to be aware that in November on the ballot, it’s important to support the Schools and Communities First Initiative which closes a tax loophole for CA corporations.  The money will help funds our schools, which is badly needed in these uncertain times.  (It does not tax regular homeowners, agriculture, or small businesses.)
Finally, at the last NUSD school board meeting, the school board approved the following cuts:
  • Categorical shift of $500,000
  • Eliminate  vacant SEL TOSA
  • eliminate RFDC after school program
  • reduce travel costs
  • eliminate college field trips for elementary and middle schools
  • new revenue SELPA ($1,000,000)
  • get rid of contracting out SPED positions ($1,000,000)
  • move technology to one-time money ($1,000,000)
  • retirement incentive savings ($270,000)
  • District office admin cuts 25%
  • cut pilot counseling program at Heron
  • cut three unfilled (contracted out) transportation positions (cutting door to door transp for IEP kids whose IEPs don’t ask for door to door)
Superintendent Evans said they need 10.4 million in cuts in 1 year, but in reality may do 13 million over 3 years.  All of the cuts above gets them to 5.3 million cuts for this year.
No one is expected to lose their job.  Used up the reserves that were set aside for a rainy day.  Cuts in 21-22 may be different/more, depending on if feds send money for schools.
Remember to please continue to only use your home emails for union communication, and email this email or only.  Questions asked on school email cannot be accessed by the association leadership.  If you or someone you know has not given us your home email (non-school email), please send your home email address to us.
Thanks and happy summer break to you all!

NTA Reaches Agreement on Distance Learning for Special Education Students


Between Natomas Teachers Association And Natomas Unified School District


Blue Language Represents: Distance Learning for Students with an IEP

This memorandum is agreed between Natomas Unified School District (“District”) and the Natomas Teachers Association (“NTA”), collectively referred to hereinafter as “the parties”, concerning the District’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic.

This Memorandum of Understanding sets forth the protocol and terms that the District and NTA have agreed upon to govern working conditions for NTA bargaining unit members due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. 

The District and NTA recognize the importance of maintaining safe learning opportunities for the benefit of the students and communities served by the District and its teachers and staff. 

The Parties agree that continuity of District instruction is important for and provisions should be made for District employees who are impacted by the epidemic.

Defining “Distance Learning”

In the light of the fact that the District has called for school closures, NTA members are certain to be impacted in their professional and personal lives. In an effort to alleviate those impacts, the District wishes to allow teachers–as long as their services are not otherwise required as Disaster Service Workers–and students to engage in a unique education delivery model (Distance Learning) that will provide teachers an alternative method of delivering instructions that does not require them to physically report to work and ensure that students are able to continue learning with minimal interruption.

In the interest of implementing Distance Learning, the parties agree:

  1. Bargaining unit members (“staff”) will receive time to prepare lessons and resources in order to align with the following schedule:
  • Week of March 23: teachers will plan and prepare lessons using existing instructional platforms suitable for Distance Learning. If a staff member struggles with remote Internet access, they will contact their Principal, and the District will endeavor to support them with temporary remote Internet access
  • Weeks of March 30 and April 6: teachers will begin to “pilot” lesson plans with students as families are provided orientation and necessary resources.
  • Special Education staff will attempt to virtually make contact (via email, Google Hangouts, etc.) with parents the weeks of March 30 and April 6 to hold an Amendment meeting and present Distance Learning Plan
    • The Amendment IEP team will include the teacher and parent/guardian, if they respond to the IEP amendment invite. In addition, if the student has Related Service providers, they will participate to the maximum extent feasible.
    • Each meeting will be scheduled for no more than 30 minutes. Teachers can use email pre-meeting to answer anticipated questions.
  • Special Education staff in a self-contained class (e.g. SDC and ILS classes) will provide curricular and enrichment activities for each student. The amount of curricular and enrichment materials will be suitable for the weekly equivalent of five weeks’ worth of instruction, commencing April 20.
  • RSP staff will provide support to general education teachers’ lessons to the extent feasible.
  • Week of April 13: the District will be on its regularly scheduled spring break and students will not be provided new instruction.
  • Weeks of April 20 – May 21: Staff will provide instruction through Distance Learning.
  1. Staff will use currently existing instructional platforms suitable for Distance Learning, and will not be expected to employ additional platforms through the end of the school year. The standard platform for the District is through Google, however, programs such as Class Dojo and others used by teachers as their primary platform are acceptable.
  2. Staff may collaborate as necessary and appropriate while they are engaged in Distance Learning. It is expected that collaboration meetings will be conducted in a manner that adheres to Center Disease Control, Sacramento County Public Health, and state guidelines. Recognizing this unique situation, time and manner of collaboration will not be determined by District or site administration. 

In order for NUSD to do their best to meet the summary of Federal and State Guidance for Implementing Distance Learning for Students with an IEP, as feasible the teacher may virtually communicate with related service providers and classified staff to develop and monitor plans for students based on IEP amendments as necessary and appropriate. 

4. While staff may not have a set daily schedule in light of the challenges presented during this pandemic related to things impacting them personally (i.e. childcare), staff will be expected to consistently provide instruction, resources and support to students through Distance Learning. Staff (including Special Education staff) will consistently communicate when they will be available to students and families for that week, to be the equivalent of one hour per day via email and/or other virtual platforms to respond to and support students’ needs.

  • Special Education teachers will only be responsible for their regular caseloads unless they mutually agree to support a currently vacant position. They will be paid hourly based upon their per diem rate to provide additional support, using a timesheet.

5. Distance learning activities provided to students shall include enrichment, engagement, and review. The activities provided will not require summative assessments or grading. In addition, students will be held “harmless”, and will not receive a lesser grade than their current grade as a result of engaging in Distance Learning during this unprecedented time. This aligns with the State Superintendent of Public Instruction’s recent statements that assessments should not be used during this time as a summative measure, but rather as a formative measure to gauge instruction and where students need support. Students will, however, be able to earn a higher grade as a result of engaging in Distance Learning, and if appropriate, may be assigned APEX as an option for credit recovery. 

  • Due to the unique needs at our continuation high school (DHS), we will work with the staff to ensure that students are properly supported toward earning credits toward graduation.

6.Current collectively bargained timelines for staff evaluations and related components shall be suspended for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. In addition, it is recognized that staff may be developing activities to be delivered via a new modality, and as such, they shall not be evaluated or disciplined based on the “quality” of those lessons and instruction during this crisis.

7. School Psychologists may provide appointments to students for social emotional needs as possible.  Any appointments scheduled can be conducted virtually or by district provided cell phone/equipment. 

SpEd addendum:

  • To the extent feasible, related service providers will be responsible to review individual caseloads and determine the therapeutic and enrichment needs of each student; communicate individualized plans to the case manager and participate in the Amendment meeting. 
  • Related service providers will arrange virtual services to the extent possible, and push out individualized support plans

8. Counselors may provide appointments to students for academic counseling as possible. These appointments or conversations may be conducted via email or when appropriate via tools such as Google Hangout.

9. Unit members who are exposed to the coronavirus and are required to be quarantined or who self-quarantine shall be placed on paid leave, which shall not be deducted from the member’s sick, personal, or extended illness leave. Unit members who are not available to work remotely may use any available sick leave or other applicable leaves consistent with the CBA. 

10. Specific provisions related to offering Special Education services are not included in this MOU and will be addressed as more federal and state guidance is provided in a separate agreement.  See blue language for appropriate Special Education services provisions in this MOU.

11. Specific provisions related to some of our specialty secondary programs are not included in this agreement and may still need to be negotiated, such as IB requirements.

12. Bargaining unit members’ compensation and benefits shall not be reduced as a result of the emergency school closure.

13, Other items regarding school closures and the crisis may still need to be negotiated.

14. This MOU shall expire on June 30, 2020, but may be extended by mutual written agreement.




NTA Reaches Agreement- Distance Learning

Hello NTA Bargaining Unit Members,

We are hoping you are doing well as this crisis has had such a huge impact on all of our lives. We wanted to let you know that in light of the latest guidelines from the state, NTA leadership spent most of the day negotiating and discussing with the District regarding “distance learning.”

As such, we are pleased to announce that an MOU has been agreed and signed off regarding Distance Learning. While there may be additional items and issues that come up, we wanted to be proactive and address as many items as possible. Here are the highlights (full agreement attached):

  • Short term calendar:
    • Week of March 23: teachers plan and prepare lessons
    • Weeks of March 30 and April 6: Teachers begin “pilot” lesson plans
    • Weeks of April 20-May 21: Staff provide provide instruction though Distance Learning
  • Staff will be allowed to use existing instructional platforms (google, class dojo or whatever else currently used by teachers)
  • Staff may collaborate as necessary and appropriate
  • Staff expected to consistently provide instruction, resources, and support to students through distant learning. Staff expected to be available weekly for the equivalent of one hour per day to students and families.
  • Distance learning activities will not require summative assessments or grading
  • Educators will not be evaluated during school closures
  • Educators will not be evaluated or disciplined based on the quality of lesson plans and instruction during school closures
  • School psychologists may schedule appointments virtually or on a district provided cell phone/equipment
  • Counselors may provide appointments for students via email or when appropriate using tools such as google hangouts
  • Educators that are exposed to coronavirus will be placed on paid admin leave, for other illness or if educators are not available to work remotely they can use regular sick leave or other leaves
  • Special education provisions will be negotiated in a separate agreement
  • No one will lose any pay during school closures
  • We reserve the right to negotiate additional items
  • MOU expires June 30, 2020

Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns or additional items that you think should be negotiated.

We are proud and appreciate all the hard work NTA members have been doing and will continue to do on behalf of our students and community.

MOU COVID Distance Learning March 2020