Your CUTA bargaining team and the District concluded negotiations on Thursday, May 5, with a final review of this year’s tentative agreement (TA), which is scheduled for your vote on Wednesday, May 29. The voting site is still to be determined. We will hold a general membership meeting from 3:30-4 p.m., and voting will run from 4-5 p.m. Your CUTA team will then return to the CUTA office at 819 E 5th Avenue, and voting will continue from 5:20-8 p.m. Any member is welcome to stay and help count the ballots. The general contents of the TA are listed below, and members can ask any questions at the general membership meeting. We will also email out a final draft of the TA in the coming days.
In addition, we discussed several ongoing issues. One issue we touched on was the prep period, or lack thereof, for some of our members who work with our most challenging students. If the nature of certain classrooms is such that the District and the member determine that the teacher really can’t send the students out for a prep period, then the teacher works through his or her prep and is paid 6/5ths. There was some concern that a couple of teachers of some of these very challenging classes were going to have a scheduled prep next year when the teachers felt that the students couldn’t really handle going out into other classes. The District assured us that the process is to try to schedule a prep in the master schedule and then to work as a team to decide if it would be appropriate or not to send those students out to other classes. Simply scheduling the prep period in the master schedule isn’t the final step in the process. It’s quite possible that, after review, it will be determined by the team that a prep isn’t really feasible, and the teachers would then be paid 6/5ths.
We also discussed the Career Technical Student Organization (CSTO). There are a number of teachers whose work is funded through grants, and there is a significant amount of work beyond the school day. The District only provides stipends for up to three positions at each high school to compensate teachers for the work outside of the school day (for example, traveling for multiple days to competitions), but there are more than three teachers completing work outside of the school day. The outside work is required to receive the grant, but some teachers are not being compensated. The District agreed that this program has grown significantly, and they have agreed to discuss ways in which all participating teachers are compensated. This may be through grant money directly instead of through stipends. In any event, this is a topic we will continue to work on with the District.
We have received permission from the District to schedule STRS retirement trainings as options during the District-wide staff development days next year. Our goal is to schedule two trainings on October 15, 2019, and two more trainings on February 11, 2020. These are the “menu” DWSDs, when members have a selection of options to choose from. One training will be focused on teachers in the middle of their careers, and the other training will focus on teachers towards the end of their careers. We are also going to try to schedule a STRS training for new hires on June 11, which is one of the new hire summer training days. The District has been very agreeable to providing these valuable trainings to our members on District time, and we appreciate their cooperation.
Lastly, CUTA is proposing a small dues increase this year with the addition of a formula in which dues increase when the salary schedule increases. The proposed dues increase using the new formula would $0.76/month next year and $1.08/month the following year. The wage increases we have negotiated have increased CUTA costs, and this formula would allow us to continue to provide the time and resources towards future work. In addition to the formula, this proposal would create three “bands” or levels for the percentage of dues members pay. The description below will also be on the ballots.
Proposed Dues Formula:
The proposed dues formula uses a three-year rolling average based on salary schedule increases. For example, if this dues formula were in place, over the last three years the salary schedule has increased 0% (2016-17), 2.46% (2017-2018), and 6.98% (2018-2019). That is a three-year rolling average of 3.15%. If this formula is approved by you this year, our dues increase next year (2019-2020) would be $0.76 per month. Based on our projected raise next year, the three-year rolling average for 2020-2021 (the two previous years 2.46%, 6.98% and 3.5% projected) would be approximately 4.31%, which would translate to a dues increase in 2020-21 of $1.08 per month.
In addition, this dues formula will adopt the same dues categories that CTA uses. Currently CTA dues are broken into three categories based on FTE: Category 1 for members whose assignment is more than 60% (full dues), Category 2 for members whose assignment is more than 1/3 but not more than 60% (50% dues) and Category 3 for members whose assignment is 1/3 or less or on unpaid leave (25% dues).
Dues increase votes must occur at school sites. CUTA site representatives will bring ballots to your sites and ask you to vote on this between Friday, May 17, and Thursday, May 23. After the ballots have been delivered to the CUTA office by 4 p.m. on May 23, any member is welcome to help count ballots or oversee the counting process. This is a separate vote from the TA. As mentioned above, the TA vote will be on Wednesday, May 29.
This has been another positive year of negotiations with the District. Next year will bring new challenges as we come to the end of our three year wage agreement. The projected raise for next year, the final year of our agreement, is 3.5%. CUTA appreciates your support as we work to improve the working conditions for you and make this the best school district we can for our students.
If you’d like to look at our contract, you can find it here. Thank you for taking the time to stay informed.
Chico Unified Teachers Association
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Mary Schoenthaler serves as Vice President and Public Relations Chair for CUTA.