Today, the district's bargaining team reached out to NHTA to resume talks in an effort to settle our contract. Yesterday’s bargaining session resulted in the district’s bargaining team offering a supposal that moves the parties closer to an agreement. In response, NHTA refused to provide a counter supposal and remains locked into their regressive last public offer.
According to the NHTA Bargaining team, they visited school sites this morning and asked NHTA members about their willingness to make movement toward a settlement. NHTA’s bargaining team made it clear that “members gave us pretty clear direction to stay where we are and are not willing to take less than where we are.”
The District's Bargaining Team continues to be committed to participating in discussions as long as they remain productive and move the parties to a settlement.
Today, the New Haven Teachers Association countered the District’s framework proposal from Friday. NHTA's current public proposal is an increase from their last proposal, which constitutes a regressive offer and violates state bargaining laws. The current proposal would cost NHUSD more than $18 million over three years, as compared to $17.62 million over three years for the previous public proposal.
A component of NHTA's current proposal is restoration of strike pay and giving full year's credit to retiring teachers. As referenced in the District's bargaining update on May 7, if an individual chooses to strike, they will not be paid by the district for any day(s) they are on strike. A strike is a work stoppage and teachers who strike are not paid. Retirement contributions to the State Teacher Retirement System (STRS) are reduced for each day a teacher strikes.
The regressive nature of NHTA's current proposal represents bad faith bargaining and illustrates an unwillingness of NHTA's Bargaining Team to end the teacher strike. In spite of the regressive nature of NHTA's current proposal, the District's Bargaining Team continues to be committed to participating in discussions as long as they remain productive and move the parties to a settlement today and moving forward.
A: No. The District closed the 17/18 fiscal year with an ending fund balance of $26.14 million. This ending fund balance, less State-required reserves and designations of $13.59 million, leaves $12.5 million in undesignated reserves that could be allocated based on needs and priorities of the District. It is imperative to remember that these figures are for a single fiscal year and are snapshots in time.
As of the latest District financials, which is the Second Interim Report approved in March, the District multi-year budget projections include planned budget reductions of $3.9 million and $4.7 million for 19/20 and 20/21, respectively. It is critical to note that even with these reductions, the District projects deficit spending of $4.95 million and $2.52 million for the same two out-years.
The Alameda County Associate Superintendent of Business Services, Mr. Raul Parungao, acknowledges and affirms this information. Importantly, he stated that undesignated reserves of $12.5 million are one-time in nature and advises against these funds being spent on on-going expenses like employee salaries.
Q: If the District accepted NHTA’s current proposal would it jeopardize the fiscal solvency of the District?
A: Yes. The current proposal from NHTA for 18/19 and 19/20 is estimated to cost the District $17.6 million over a three year period. While the proposal is for two years, the District is required to present a three-year balanced budget, subject by review and certification by the Alameda County Office of Education, and ultimately, the California Department of Education.
This proposal by NHTA exceeds the District’s framework by approximately $11.6 million. This means the District will be required to make more cuts for 20/21, in addition to the estimated $4.7 million already planned. If the District does not have the ability to make the required reductions, the District’s Budget would be certified as qualified or negative.
In preparation of Superintendent Thurmond’s visit tomorrow, the New Haven and NHTA bargaining teams met until 11:00 p.m. but were not able to reach a tentative agreement. The strike by the New Haven Teachers Association will continue through Friday, May 31.
The Board and the District bargaining team take our roles quite seriously. The District Bargaining Team’s role in these negotiations is to balance the demands of the New Haven Teachers’ Association (NHTA), the expectations of our parents and students by providing a quality curriculum in a safe learning environment, and the requirements of maintaining fiscal solvency at the direction of the Board.
We have been disheartened by NHTA’s campaign during the strike that intends to rally community and member support using slogans such as “for our students” and “student centered contract.” Campaign messaging has also included talking points that the Association is striking for class size. The expectations of the community and NHTA members have risen to a level of confusion cultivated by misinformation and mixed messages.
To be clear, the current negotiations with NHTA include salary and salary only. Class size is not part of this round of bargaining. The District and the union agreed on the staffing ratio of 30 students to every 1 teacher when the contract was ratified in 17/18. For some time, the District had the resources to staff some sites with more teachers in order to lower class size. Regrettably, due to our financial situation, we are now only able to do that in kindergarten and transitional kindergarten.
One message that has been shared with the community by NHTA is that these negotiations are intended to ensure that the District “attracts and retains high quality teachers”. We stand with NHTA in this desire. Due to New Haven teaching conditions and salary schedule, the District receives a generous number of highly qualified candidates for each and every open teaching position. Further, no district in Alameda County retains teachers in their system like New Haven. The average teacher in New Haven has been with the District for over 13.5 years. This retention rate is the highest in the County and is more than a year longer than next school district, Pleasanton Unified.
The NHTA strike is a coordinated effort to demand a salary increase for its members. While this is allowed by law, the demands, and the related cuts necessary to implement NHTA’s current demand are not in the best interest of the students. Implementation of such demands would diminish the current educational environment for students and impact the safety of students on the District’s campuses.
We are proud that NHTA members are the highest paid in Alameda County, and the District’s current offer of 3% off-the schedule increase for 2018/19, and 2% on-the-schedule increase effective January 1, 2020 would maintain this ranking. This offer would provide approximately $2,900 on average per full time teacher for 2018/19, and nearly $1,000 for 2019/20, which would compound to nearly $2,000 the year after.
We stand united in our belief that a compromise can be reached that maintains our teachers’ highest compensation status in the county, allows teachers to put money in their pockets, and gets them back in their classrooms with their students. We have been, and will continue to be here for our students, but we need a willing partner.
The District Bargaining Team
Updated May 27, 2019
30 Hours of Holiday Weekend Negotiations, No Deal, Strike to Continue
The New Haven Teachers Association (NHTA) and New Haven Unified management bargaining teams met on Memorial Day for more than twelve hours but were not able to push a deal over the finish line. The strike called by NHTA is set to enter its second week beginning Tuesday, May 28.
Both sides adjusted their respective last, best, and final offers. NHTA moved from their request of a 10% pay increase over 18/19 and 19/20, to a 3.7% on-the-schedule salary increase for this year and a 3.26% on-the-schedule salary increase for 19/20, a total of 6.96% over two years. NHTA’s latest offer would cost the school district approximately $17.7 million over three years and would increase the amount of cuts in 20/21 by $11.7 million more than the planned $4.6 million, totalling $16.3 million.
The District increased its last, best offer which includes a one-time, 3% off-the-schedule pay increase for 18/19 and an ongoing 2% on-the-schedule salary increase for 19/20, implemented mid year. This offer would give teachers, on average, $2,900 for 18/19 and an ongoing increase for 19/20 of approximately $1,000, which would compound to $2,000 every year after. New Haven also included language for 19/20 that would add additional ongoing pay increases should the District’s revenue come in higher than projected.
NHTA’s latest proposal corresponds to the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for 18/19 and 19/20. Annual COLAs give school districts increased funds per student compared to the previous year, including New Haven. However, in NHUSD, this increase is offset by our declining enrollment. As the state’s new funding formula (LCFF) for schools is now fully implemented, there are no new revenues expected in NHUSD for the next three years.
The cost of the District’s latest offer is $6 million over three years, which is $1 million more than the previous offer. This offer would keep New Haven teachers as the highest paid teachers in Alameda County.
Any increase beyond the District’s last, best and final offer would require serious and significant cuts, above the already required cuts, would jeopardize student safety, diminish the integrity and quality of student programs, and threaten the District’s financial solvency. New Haven management believes these cuts would seriously undermine the core instructional program of the District and create an environment that is non-conducive to learning for its over 11,000 students.
New Haven Unified remains committed to reaching an agreement with NHTA that maintains the competitive compensation for all employees and ensures the District’s long-term financial health.
The evening ended on Monday with New Haven sharing an offer with NHTA. The teachers union did not counter.
Updated May 26, 2019
Sunday Bargaining Session Does Not Produce Settlement Between NHUSD and NHTA
After another ten hour bargaining session, New Haven management and NHTA were not able to bridge the gap between their respective last, best, and final offers.
The District’s standing offer includes a one-time, three percent (3%) off-the-schedule pay increase for 18/19 and an ongoing, one percent (1%) on-the schedule pay increase beginning 19/20 for the County’s highest paid teachers. This offer would give teachers, on average, $2,900 for 18/19 and an average ongoing increase for 19/20, starting in July, of approximately $1,000. New Haven also proposed language for 19/20 that would add additional ongoing pay increases should the District’s revenue come in higher than projected.
The District’s current offer would keep New Haven teachers as the highest paid teachers in Alameda County, would cost the District about $5 million over three years and would not increase the projected cuts of $4.6 million for 20/21.
NHTA’s last, best offer was a ten percent (10%) ongoing pay increase spread across 18/19 and 19/20. The teachers’ proposal would cost the District between $20 million and $30 million over a three-year period.
Any increase beyond the District’s last, best and final offer would require serious and significant cuts, above the already required cuts, would jeopardize student safety, diminish the integrity and quality of student programs, and threaten the District’s financial solvency. Examples of such cuts include, but are not limited to the following:
Potential Cuts Projected Savings
Eliminate all Stipends for Co-Curricular Activities
(e.g. Athletics, band, forensics, etc) $ 400,000
Cut teaching positions and increase
TK and Kindergarten Class Sizes to 30:1 $ 800,000
Eliminate Dual Immersion Language Program $ 400,000
Close an Elementary School $ 500,000
Cut three (3) Counselors $ 330,000
Eliminate all Social Workers (4) $ 400,000
Cuts to Union City Family Center (Kids Zone) $ 500,000
Eliminate all Elementary Assistant Principals $ 420,000
Eliminate all Middle School Assistant Principals (4) $ 480,000
Eliminate all High School House Principals (6) $ 750,000
Cut 25 Classified positions (to be determined) $ 1,000,000
Cuts to Adult School (Admin included) $ 200,000
Close Decoto School for Independent Study $ 300,000
Cut three (3) Directors at the district-level $ 450,000
Cut three (3) Coordinators at the district-level $ 360,000
Cut the Business/Payroll Manager at the district-level $ 110,000
Cut one (1) Chief Officer $ 220,000
Cut one (1) Confidential Classified Management $ 100,000
Eliminate Professional Development $ 100,000
Total Potential Cuts $ 7,820,000
New Haven management believes the cuts described above would seriously undermine the core instructional program of the District and create an environment that is non-conducive to learning for its over 11,000 students.
New Haven Unified remains committed to reaching an agreement with NHTA that maintains the competitive compensation for all employees and ensures the District’s long-term financial health.
Updated May 25, 2019
Friday night’s eleven-hour long bargaining session between the New Haven Unified School District and the New Haven Teachers Association did not result in an agreement. The two teams met until 12:15 a.m. and ended by agreeing to meet early Sunday morning.
The meeting ended on a productive note and teams are looking forward to Sunday.
Updated May 24, 2019
Dear New Haven Families,
Representatives from the District and Union bargaining teams met again with Supervisor Valle this morning. We understand that the meeting was positive. Both bargaining teams began meeting at the Alameda County Office of Education this afternoon.
Though we are hopeful that an agreement will be reached, for now, please plan on the strike by the New Haven Teachers Association to continue on Tuesday, May 28. On Monday, May 27, all district schools and offices will be closed in honor of Memorial Day.
May 23, 2019
Dear New Haven Families,
Representatives from the District and Union bargaining teams met again with Supervisor Valle this morning. Though these are not true bargaining sessions, we believe both sides are finding these meetings useful. These subcommittees will meet again tomorrow morning in preparation for a full bargaining session Friday afternoon.
The strike by the New Haven Teachers Association will continue tomorrow, Friday, May 24.
Bargaining Update and FAQs
Updated May 21, 2019
Updated May 19, 2019
In an effort to reach an agreement, members of the New Haven Unified School District and New Haven Teachers’ Association Bargaining Teams met on Sunday, May 19. The groups were not able to reach a settlement that would prevent NHTA’s announced strike beginning tomorrow, Monday, May 20th. The strike will move forward as NHTA has planned.
The District amended its last, best, and final offer of a 3% “off-the-schedule” increase for the current school year and a 1% “on-the-schedule” increase for 2019-20. Contingent on increases in projected revenue for 2019-20, the district offered to add an additional 0.5% “on-the-schedule” salary increase for every $1 million increase, up to 1% increase in salary. The District’s last, best, and final offer, excluding any increases that may result from additional raises as part of the contingency, will cost approximately $5 million over three years.
The District is making $3.9 million in reductions for 2019-20 school year, as well as $4.6 million additional reductions for the following year prior to any salary agreements are made with the teachers’ union.
NHTA’s last, best, and final offer remains a 10% “on-the-schedule” increase over two years. This offer will cost anywhere from $20 million to $30 million over three years.
The District requested that NHTA poll their members on the amended proposal presented today.
Bargaining Update and FAQs
Updated May 15, 2019
Q. What are New Haven teachers threatening to strike over?
A. Salaries. When the current three-year teachers’ contract was ratified by the union and approved by the Board in April of 2018, language was included that allowed for “reopeners” (additional opportunities to negotiate) on only two items; the school calendar and teacher salary. The calendars have been agreed to by NHTA and the District.
Q. Are New Haven teachers threatening to strike over class sizes?
A. No. The District and NHTA are only negotiating over the unresolved reopener item, which is teacher salary.
The staffing ratio of teachers to students has already been bargained and in the teachers’ contract. Both the union and the District agreed to a ratio of 30:1; one teacher for every 30 students. Historically, the District has been able to staff schools better than this ratio; 28 or 29:1 and even lower at the elementary levels. Given the current financial pressures, the District is no longer able to maintain that staffing level.
Q. If the New Haven teachers do not receive a raise this year or next, will there still be budget cuts?
A. Yes. In order to balance the 2019-20 budget, the District has made $3.9 million in cuts. These cuts are deep and will hurt. The most significant cut will involve raising class size caps in first through third grade by four (4) students; from 26 to 30. Multiple classified and administrative positions will also be cut.
With the latest state revenue projections for public education, we are projected to make another $4.6 million in cuts next year in order to balance the 2020-21 budget. Without additional revenue, any additional spending made by the District will necessitate additional budget cuts.
Q. Are New Haven teachers still the highest paid in the County even if you account for healthcare?
A. Yes. Districts handle employee salaries and benefits in a number of different ways. Historically, New Haven Unified paid teachers a salary and then gave each teacher an agreed upon dollar amount that was intended to be used for healthcare. In 2014, NHTA and the District agreed that there were benefits to having all employee compensation considered salary and memorialized this change in the contract.
The District is very proud that, when we compare average Total Compensation (salaries + employer health care contribution), New Haven teachers still rank first in Alameda County and second in the comparable group used in Fact Finding (see below). The $1,581 that is indicated as the District’s contribution to the Health and Welfare Benefit is paid to CalPERS and not the employee.
Q. Does a recommendation of a salary increase by a Fact Finding panel mean that the District has the money to fund that increase?
A. No. The neutral Fact Finder’s recommendation is not intended to indicate that a district can afford the recommended salary increase. The recommendation is intended to get both parties back to the Bargaining Table.
The neutral mediator in the Fact Finding process is not an auditor. The Fact Finding process does not include an analysis of a District’s budget. It is not the Fact Finder’s responsibility to find money; it is her responsibility to hear facts presented by both sides substantiating their bargaining position.
Auditors at the Alameda County Office of Education have analyzed the District’s budget and have agreed that we are deficit spending (spending more money each year than we are taking in) and that in order to balance our budget for two more years, we will need to make millions of dollars in cuts.
Updated May 7, 2019
NHUSD Receives Positive Certification of Second Interim Report
The New Haven Unified School District received notice that its Second Interim Report, adopted in March of this year, received a positive certification from the Alameda Office of Education. A positive certification is assigned when a district can demonstrate that it will meet its financial obligations for the current and two subsequent fiscal years. Though the certification is good news, there were some warning signs pointed out by the County. The County cautioned that the District is deficit spending and would require expenditure reductions of at least “$3.6 million in 2019-20 and an additional $3.7 million in 2020-21.” An excerpt from the County notification can be seen below:
Q. Did the New Haven Unified School Board threaten New Haven teachers?
A. No. Talk of a possible work stoppage being imminent has been prominent in the District. In such cases, the Board authorizes the superintendent to take actions to achieve their primary objectives, those being to ensure student safety, ensure the rights and safety of all employees, ensure the protection of public school property, and to ensure that necessary staff is available to meet the intent of the primary objective as outlined below. A work stoppage is considered an emergency. At Tuesday’s meeting of the New Haven Board of Education, the Board passed such a resolution. After the Board meeting, an error was found in the resolution. Essentially, the original resolution stated that any work stoppage or strike was illegal. That is clearly not the case. On Monday, the Board met to pass an amended resolution that corrected that error and minor typos. The resolution can be found here.
Q. Will schools be closed in the event of a strike?
A. No. New Haven Unified will keep schools open, safe and orderly in the event of a work stoppage.
Q. When would a strike likely occur?
A. Unknown. A strike would occur after the completion of the Fact-Finding negotiations. The draft Fact Finding Report is expected Monday, May 6. After the draft fact-finding report is released to the parties, if NHTA decides to strike, they are required to give reasonable notice (48 hours) to the District as to the date of their strike. Employees, parents and the community will then be notified.
Q. If a teacher strike occurs, can parents still drop off their child at extended care before and after regular school hours?
- Kids First, the District’s elementary before and after school daycare program will remain OPEN.
- Kids Zone, the after school programs at Cesar Chavez Middle, Emanuele Elementary and Searles Elementary School will be CLOSED.
- For information regarding whether the Kidango Pre-Schools will be open in the event of a work stoppage, please speak to the Kidango staff.
Q. How long can a strike last?
A. It’s difficult to say, as New Haven Unified hasn’t ever had one. Earlier this school year, Oakland and Los Angeles experienced strikes lasting up to seven days.
Q. If a strike occurs, will community events be impacted?
A. Yes. In the event of a strike, to ensure safety and security, all events in/on district property, outside of regular scheduled school hours, are suspended including community meetings/events, youth athletic tournaments and health center access. If you have additional questions, contact the New Haven Unified District Office at 471-1100 or see our website at https://www.mynhusd.org/.
Q. How can the District afford to pay substitutes $400 a day during a strike?
A. There is no extra money to pay substitutes a strike wage in the event of a teacher work stoppage. On days that there is a strike, teachers are not paid and cannot take paid leave. This offsets the District’s special rate of pay for substitutes in the event of a strike.
Q. If NHTA does indeed strike, is every NHTA member required to strike?
A. No. Being a member of NHTA does not require a teacher, nurse or speech language pathologist to strike. It is up to each individual if he/she chooses to join the strike.
Q. If a teacher chooses to strike, are they paid by the district?
A. No. If an individual chooses to strike, they will not be paid by the district for any day(s) they are on strike. A strike is a work stoppage and teachers who strike are not paid. Retirement contributions to the State Teacher Retirement System (STRS) are reduced for each day a teacher strikes.
Q . If a teacher receives a stipend to perform extra duties during or after the regular school day, are they expected to fulfill those duties during a strike?
A. No. Many regular employees also work extra duty pay assignments and may still try to perform extra duty assignments even though they are striking. Should a strike occur in New Haven, all extra duty activities will be cancelled. This includes all athletic practices and competitions, even “away” games.
Q. Will NHTA pay teachers during a strike?
A. Unknown. NHTA members would have to speak to their union representatives for that answer.
Q. For days lost by a strike, won’t we just make them up at the end of the school year?
A. No. Schools in New Haven Unified will remain open, safe and orderly in the event of a work stoppage. We will not extend the school year to make up any lost days.
Q. If a teacher strikes, will they and their family still receive health care benefits?
A. Yes. While teachers who strike will not receive a salary if they choose to strike, they and their family will not have a gap in medical insurance coverage if they are already enrolled and paying for them through a payroll deduction. However, there is a reduction to the District’s STRS contribution.
Q. Can teachers use paid time off or sick time to cover missed salary during a strike?
A. No. The District suspends all paid time off and sick time during a strike. The Superintendent or his designee may make exceptions.
Q. Can other union partners join NHTA in a strike?
A. No. While unions can show their support in a number of ways. Technically, New Haven Unified is still negotiating with NHAA and CSEA. Other bargaining units cannot legally strike until each one has exhausted the negotiations process, which includes mediation and the fact-finding process.
Q. As a member of NHTA, if I do not strike, what happens to me
A. If you come to work, the District will continue to pay your regular salary.
Q. If some teachers do not strike, can they be reassigned to another school site or classroom to support students in the absence of teachers or a substitute teacher?
A. If a teacher chooses not to strike and remain on campus to support students, they may be asked to take on additional students or tasks. While it is unlikely but possible, a teacher may be reassigned based on the needs of the District.
Q. As a student teacher, what does a strike mean to me?
A. Student teachers should contact their college advisors. Questions regarding substitute teaching should be directed to Personnel/Human Resources.
Bargaining Update and FAQs
Updated April 23, 2019
On Thursday, April 18, District Management and NHTA concluded their Fact Finding Hearing where they presented their respective cases to the state appointed Neutral/Mediator. After the presentations/hearing, the parties bargained back and forth until 9:30 p.m. but, unfortunately, were unable to reach an agreement. Therefore, the Neutral/Mediator will put forth a Draft Fact Finding Report sometime in the first week of May.
Below are questions relevant to this stage of the Fact Finding process.
Q: Is the Fact Finding process complete?
A: No. The parties shared their information with the Neutral/Mediator and she will put out a Draft report in the next two weeks.
Q: What was shared in Fact Finding?
A: Much of the proceedings are confidential, but the information shared in each party’s presentation is public. Here are some important facts and data points shared by the District in its presentation:
New Haven teachers ranked #3 in mid-range (BA+60 10 years) teacher compensation in the comparable group ($95,006). Over 64% of District teachers receive a salary higher than BA+60, Step 10. Please click here for more information.
New Haven teachers ranked #2 in maximum salary teacher compensation in the comparable group ($120,931). Please click here for more information.
New Haven teachers ranked #1 in 10 ($813,317), 20 ($1,841,158), and 25 ($2,392,735) year earnings in the comparable group. Please click here for more information.
NHUSD has the highest teacher retention rate (teachers staying with their district year over year) of all comparable districts. Please click here for more information.
Bargaining Update and FAQs
Updated March 29, 2019
As stated in the last update, the District Management and NHTA have been released to Fact Finding. We have received a number of questions regarding this process and other aspects of bargaining, so below we have provided some answers to those questions.
At the March 5 Board meeting, a teacher questioned the section related to sample teacher salaries on the District’s Budget Facts and Figures Infographic. Please click here for more information.
Q: Did administrators receive a 3% raise when CSEA and NHTA are offered 0% in 2018-19?
A: No. The New Haven Teachers Association (NHTA) and the New Haven Administrators Association (NHAA) received a 2% raise in 2017-18 and a reopener for 2018-19 and 2019-20. In general, and in this most recent bargaining cycle specifically, any salary increase for NHAA is tied to whether NHTA gets an increase; if NHTA doesn’t get an increase, neither does NHAA.
Both teachers and administrators can receive an increase in salary for a following year depending on how long they have worked in the District or been in their positions. For teachers, this is typically called “Step and Column” and refers to moving down the salary schedule (steps) for years of service or across the salary schedule (columns) based on additional classes taken after their credential. Due to the salary schedule, not all teachers receive an increase in salary every year Similarly, administrators can move across their salary schedule for each year in that position for the first five years in that role. While these are true costs increases to the District, as a system, we do not refer to these individual increases in salary as “raises” as these increases are not applied to all members of a unit. The annual step and column costs to the District is approximately $800,000.
All employees in New Haven get Career Increments as an incentive for staff to stay in New Haven long term. These are salary increases that are built into the (NHAA, CSEA and NHTA contracts).
- All NHAA members/Administrators (Chief Personnel Officer, Chief Academic Officer, Chief Business Officer, Principals, Directors, Coordinators, Admin assistants, etc.) get Career Increments of two steps (3% per step) on the salary schedule after completing 10, 14, 20 and 26 years of service.
- All CSEA members get Career Increments after completing 10 (2.5%), 15 (5%), 20 (7.5%), 25 (10%), 30 (12.5%) and 35 (15%) years of service.
- All NHTA members get Career Increments of 4% after completing 15, 19, 23, 27 and 31 years of service.
Q: Did the cuts impact administrators?
A: Yes. Due to the District’s financial situation, District Management is planning to only fund a half-time AP at each elementary site next year. In addition, District Management plans to eliminate the Performing Arts Center Manager at Logan and a Director at the District Office. Further, all administrators must take three (3) furlough days in 2019-20. These furlough days will save the District $165,000 next year and represents a roughly 1.4% cut to the NHAA unit.
Q: Does the District have $12 million available for employee raises?
A: No. District Management has been very clear with NHTA about this. At the close of the 2017/18 school year, the District ended with $26 million. Of that amount, $13.6 million was designated for required reserves, leaving a $12.5 million undesignated balance.
As funding from the State (Local Control Funding Formula or LCFF) is not expected to increase moving forward, enrollment continuing to decline, annual additional costs due to employee step and column increases, and the District’s increasing obligations to State pension funds, the District’s annual income will not cover our increasing costs without allocating that $12.5 million and making significant budget reductions. In the simplest terms, we need to take money out of our “savings” in order to pay all our bills when we project out a three year budget, as required by law. Any increased costs to the District moving forward (for example new positions or salary increases) would require a comparable reduction in spending in order to keep the budget balanced.
Q: How does fact finding work and when will it occur?
A: An impartial three-person fact finding panel will review the arguments and proposals from both sides and issue a set of non-binding recommendations for a settlement.
Management and the Teacher’s Association each appoint one member to the fact finding panel. Then they mutually agree on a neutral, independent fact finding panel chairperson from a list of qualified labor relations professionals supplied by the state. The fact finding hearing usually takes about a month to schedule. Realistically, the earliest a fact finding hearing could be scheduled in New Haven is sometime in late April. The hearing is not open to the public.
Q: Is the fact finder’s recommendation binding on the parties?
A: No. The fact finder’s report is advisory only.
Fact finding is not like arbitration where an administrative law judge decides between competing proposals presented by either side in a dispute. Arbitration is a winner-take-all situation. In fact finding, the panel chairperson can make suggestions that are compromises. However, the fact finder cannot introduce issues that have not already been submitted in the last best offers by the parties.
Q: If fact finding fails to produce an agreement is a teacher strike imminent?
A: Talk of a teacher strike occurring is premature.
Strikes are legal in California, but they cannot occur until all steps in the impasse process have been exhausted. At this point, it would be illegal for the teacher’s association to engage in any concerted work stoppage prior to the fact finders final report being made public. Since we are still in the early stages of the mediation process, a strike, if it was going to occur, is still a few months away. Typically, union leaders take a strike authorization vote to show solidarity and put pressure on management to settle the dispute. It also enables the union leaders to declare a strike without going back to the teachers for approval later on. This process does not allow members to vote whether they want to accept the district’s last best offer or go on strike.
Q: Can the district management impose its last, best and final offer if fact finding doesn’t work?
The last, best and final offer is the only unilateral action that the district can impose if a negotiated agreement cannot be reached.
Q: Are teachers currently working without a contract?
A: No. The current teacher contract is still in place.