Your CUTA bargaining team and the District met for negotiations on Thursday, October 24. We continued our long term discussion about the special education program, as well as discussing several other issues.
In addition to continuing our interest-based bargaining process to work on special education, we spent time discussing the possibility of adding 1.5 prep days per year for elementary assessment. The idea is that teachers could use this time to complete assessments each trimester. The District bargaining team will recommend this and see whether there is money in the budget for this added cost.
At our last session, the District agreed to increase the number of Career Technical Student Organization (CTSO) stipends to reflect the increase in Career Technical Education (CTE) pathways. Lead teachers for each CTE pathway at each high school would be eligible for the stipend as long as they meet the requirements stated in the contract. We are working on creating clear language to identify the lead teacher in each pathway.
We moved on to how the District handles differential pay for a member who misses work and has no sick leave. If a member is out sick and has no sick leave remaining, the District pays the member his or her daily rate minus the cost for the substitute teacher ($120/day). If the sick leave is long-term, the sub is getting paid at the long-term sub rate ($150/day). CUTA would like to standardize when a member is charged the long-term rate versus the short-term rate. CUTA has proposed that for the first ten days after the member's sick leave is exhausted, the District will deduct the short-term rate. Days eleven and beyond would be deducted at the long-term sub rate. This ensures that a member who has accumulated sick leave won’t be penalized.
For instance, member 1 has 20 sick days saved up. Member 1 goes on a long term sick leave and runs out of sick leave after 20 days. Since the sub has already been in the classroom for twenty days and is receiving long-term sub pay, under our current practice that member would immediately start having $150/day deducted from his or her daily rate. Member 2 has no sick leave saved up and goes on a long-term sick leave. Under our current practice, the first ten days would be deducted at $120/day and day eleven and onward would be deducted at the long-term sub rate. This seems to punish the member who had saved up sick leave. We’d like the practice to be the same for members in both situations. The District is considering our proposal. As an aside, differential pay like this occurs even if the District doesn’t need to use a sub or even if the “sub” ends up being a more costly temporary teacher.
The District then spent some time sharing the current progress towards the potential for innovative scheduling at the high school. CUTA shared our tentative vision of the timeline for innovative scheduling.
From our conversations with members, it appears that we are still not close to achieving step 1 in the above timeline. CUTA is not holding this process up. It is a major change and high school teachers have lots of questions that they feel have not been adequately answered yet.
We only have one negotiations session scheduled in November and one scheduled in December. We will continue our special education discussion and begin our discussion on wages and compensation.
If you’d like to see the current version of our contract, here is the link.
Thank you for taking the time to stay informed.
Chico Unified Teachers Association
Mary Schoenthaler serves as Vice President and Public Relations Chair for CUTA.