New Haven Unified School District

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March 29, Bargaining Update and Updated FAQ

Bargaining Update and FAQs

Bargaining Update

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.

Updated March 29, 2019

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?

A: Yes.

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.