Bargaining Update: 030519
Today the District Management and New Haven Teachers Association completed Mediation. The session lasted all morning, but in the end the parties were released to Fact Finding, the next step in the Impasse process.
Like most districts across the state, New Haven Unified has suffered from increasing fiscal pressures with little relief from the State. After already having made nearly $4 million in cuts in 2018/19 in order to balance a 3-year budget, and additional cuts for 2019/20, the District is still faced with a nearly $5 million budget shortfall in 2020/21.
District staff have been consistent and clear with NHTA leadership about this impending $5 million deficit since the beginning of this school year. The District provided a detailed budget presentation to the NHTA Bargaining team on October 2, 2018, to provide the full picture of this budget shortfall and to explain that we are not able to add money to the salary schedule during this round of negotiations. This is the District’s financial situation and we have been transparent about our bottom line prior to the commencement of negotiations this year. The District rejects the assertion that we are now somehow misrepresenting our dire fiscal reality as a bargaining strategy.
Though the District has been consistent with its message to the NHTA Bargaining Team regarding the District’s financial picture, NHTA’s proposal remains the same - a 10% ongoing salary increase and $1,500 Retention Stipend per member for 2018-19, an additional 10% ongoing salary increase and $1,500 Retention Stipend per member for 2019-20, and a compression of the salary schedule from 32 to 27 steps that would be an increased cost to the District. Their proposal of a 21% raise over the next two years represents a cost to the District in excess of $24 million and would continue as an ongoing expense every year if implemented. In the current reality of school funding, no district in the state would be able to afford a 21% raise over two years. Should the District sign off on a contract that included this language, the District budget will not be certified and the District could be identified for State receivership.