1. Are teachers working without a contract?
No. When a contract expires like the current 2014-2017 contract, the entire contract rolls forward except for sections that specifically sunset. Typically salary, benefits, side letters and MOU’s sunset and must be re-negotiated when a contract expires which is what the sides are currently doing now. People still are paid their normal wages…their salary will remain the same until an increase is negotiated.
2. What is the difference between ON the schedule and OFF the schedule salary increases?
An ON the schedule salary increase means the increase is placed on the salary schedule as ongoing money. As an example, if an employee is making $100,000.00 in 2017-18 and receives an ON the schedule 1% salary increase, their salary would change to $101,000.00 for 2018-19. That salary increase would then carry forward on an ongoing basis and they would continue to earn $101,000.00 each year until a raise is negotiated.
An OFF the schedule salary increase means it will be placed OFF the salary schedule (not on) as a one-time bonus. As an example, if an employee is making $100,000.00 in 2017-18 and receives an OFF the schedule salary increase, their salary would change to $101,000.00 for 2018-19. That salary increase would only be for one year and their salary would revert back to $100,000.00 in 2018-19 unless a raise is negotiated.
3. What is a “re-opener” to the contract?
A “re-opener” means that the District and NHTA will come together for each year of the contract to determine if money is still available for additional employee compensation once the Board’s priorities have been achieved (i.e. Class Size, Safety, etc.) or if the parties need to come together to help fill a hole in the budget. Reopeners for salaries have rarely been utilized in NHUSD bargaining, but allow the sides to come back together each year if there are changes in the financial projections from the state.
4. Didn’t the Governor’s budget provide more money for school districts?
This is very important. The Governor's January Budget Proposal did two things: #1: It provides some one-time money in 2018-19, making it the fifth year of receiving one-time monies. No additional money was provided in 2017-18 under the proposal (we are bargaining for 2017-18). #2: It fully funds the LCFF, which means we will receive the money that was owed to us 2 years early. With full implementation of the formula, it is unknown what revenues will come after 2018-19 if any. Districts have to use this frontloaded money carefully to ensure that it is spread out over the next two years. Like getting a 2 year advance on your salary, your bank account would be much bigger, but you would have to be very careful to budget wisely in order to survive the next two years.
5. Why does the District have money beyond the 3% reserve that is required?
Information has been circulating that the District started the year with a 31 million dollar surplus when only about 4 million dollars is required. It was stated that the surplus came from teacher paychecks in the form of compensation concessions negotiated by the union. This is not true. The District’s ending balance is composed of the state minimum required reserve of approximately $4 million, and the fiscal stabilization funds of approximately $9.3 million for the sale of Cabello, as per the approval from the State Allocation Board and our own District Board policy. Based on latest state revenue projections, the District’s ending balance will be eliminated in the next year. The District is having to make budget reductions for 2018-19 and 2019-20 and additional costs in the current year will necessitate additional cuts in the out-years.