Dear New Haven Community,
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