Your CUTA bargaining team and the District met for negotiations on Thursday, February 13. We continued our negotiations revolving around special education, innovative scheduling at the high school, and compensation.
The District held a voluntary informational meeting about the plan to merge mild/moderate SDC students and RSP students at the secondary level with secondary mild/mod SDC teachers being given the option to become RSP teachers. The District responded to many questions from our members, and the discussion at the meeting informed our negotiations at this session.
The District agreed in principle to putting the “teach four” schedule into the contract, in which an RSP teacher in the blended model would teach four classes and have one prep period and one case management period. This is current practice at the high schools in the RSP program, but it is not consistently practiced at the middle school level. CUTA would like to see a maximum class size for RSP classes in the planned blended program, but the District is concerned about potential “bubbles” in the program. Without abandoning this initial request for a maximum class size, CUTA proposed a maximum daily student contact so that any one teacher would not be faced with multiple oversized classes.
CUTA also proposed a lower caseload of 26, in part to recognize that all parties involved agreed that the case management for mild/mod SDC students is, in general, more challenging. Although the District did not find this proposal appealing, they agreed to consider the possibility of setting a caseload max of 26 with the option to place a certain annual percentage of teachers at 28 to allow for natural fluctuations in student populations. This will be a difficult idea for the District to agree to.
We also discussed how to write language that would guarantee no teachers would be laid off as the secondary programs were blended, and we agreed in theory that teachers who wanted to leave the blended program would have first rights to move to an open special education position in the District outside of this program.
CUTA and the District are negotiating in good faith, and CUTA encourages its mild/mod SDC secondary teachers to wait until the particulars have been negotiated before volunteering.
The District came with the best offer they felt they could afford for the final negotiable items relating to innovative scheduling at the high schools. It is summarized in the table below. CUTA will now organize and run the vote at the high schools. This will be a private, “double envelope” vote, and secondary teachers may vote yes, no or abstain. Abstentions will not count in the final vote tally. Two-thirds of non-abstaining teachers must vote yes at each site individually to send the innovative scheduling on to E-Board for approval to add it to the next tentative agreement.
This will be dictated by the new law saying high school must start at 8:30 or later. If the new law does not go into effect, start times at both schools will likely not change.
Prep time for general education
A teacher will receive two preps during the eight period block; the preps will be on different days unless mutually agreed to by the member and the administrator.
Prep time for special education
Special education teachers will also receive two preps during the eight period block.
Maximum class size
38: We will continue to follow the language in the secondary class size MOU.
Total student contacts
204: This is an average class size of 34; teachers may volunteer to teach additional students (up to 210) and be paid $500 per added student per semester (as described in the secondary class size MOU.
If a teacher agreed to teach a seventh class because of site need, he or she would receive pay commensurate to 7/6ths of his or her salary. If a teacher agreed to teach a seventh and an eighth class, he or she would receive pay commensurate to 8/6ths of his or her salary.
Teaching minutes in a day
I believe the following is the latest schedule:
The scheduling of collaboration time would be embedded in the contract language for the block schedule with the existing waiver language describing the purpose of collaboration time and the fact that it is teacher-driven.
If the block schedule becomes a reality, high school teachers at PV and Chico High would have first rights to transfer out of comprehensive high schools to other open positions that they are credentialed for and an interview process would govern decisions in the case of multiple candidates.
Innovative scheduling would have a five year sunset clause, which means that after four years, it would automatically reopen for negotiations. CUTA or the District could choose to end innovative scheduling at that time, or they could negotiate for it to continue.
Flexible implementation year
If innovative scheduling was adopted, the District could delay implementation for one year (from 2021-22 to 2022-23) if required by budgetary constraints.
The final schedule will be handled individually at each site, and there are enough minutes built into the proposed schedule to handle a finals schedule.
Although portions of this may not be what was hoped for, CUTA recognizes the very real budget constraints and pressures felt by the District, including pressure from CUTA for compensation increases. CUTA recognizes the hard work of its members in developing this proposal and educating members for the last several years.
CUTA and the District are going through the IBB process to develop as many possible options for compensation increases as possible. The projected ongoing dollars coming from the state for next year are not large, and CUTA recognizes the District’s need to address all three of their priorities: deficit reduction, compensation and programs. We believe there is a way forward to continue to address all three. We are negotiating while also waiting for more information about the state budget.
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.