Your CUTA bargaining team and the District met for negotiations on Thursday, April 8. We discussed a wide range of issues, and we reached agreement on one-time compensation for this year. That is the final piece of a tentative agreement (TA) for 2021-22 that has been shared with E-Board for preliminary approval. Pending approval by E-Board of the final TA, membership will have the opportunity to vote on this TA later this month.
Additionally, I have information to share about the reimbursement of sick days used by members for vaccine reactions. We also made progress updating and clarifying the three MOUs we have in place that govern our three potential instructional models: online-only, AM/PM, and traditional learning with safety protocols. Once these MOUs have been fully updated, we will have a separate membership vote on them so that we will be ready for any eventuality in the fall.
CUTA and the District have come to an agreement on one-time compensation this year equivalent to the cost of 2% on the salary schedule. E-Board has directed that this money be divided evenly among all unit members regardless of placement on the salary schedule or FTE. This comes out to roughly $1,750 per unit member before taxes. This is one-time money, not an ongoing raise, in recognition of the fact that the District received no new ongoing dollars this year.
When this proposal was brought to the School Board for approval, the sentiment from the Board was that the employees of Chico Unified deserved recognition and reward for the extremely challenging working conditions over the past year. Although the District has received large amounts of one-time money, almost all of it couldn't be used for compensation, so they will be reaching into their pre-Covid reserves for this one-time payment. CUTA thanks the District for negotiating, and the School Board for approving, a bonus during such complicated times.
This will allow us to wrap up a TA for this year while we continue to work towards a multi-year wage agreement based on a formula acceptable to CUTA and the District. These negotiations will likely take us into the fall.
In addition to the one-time bonus described above, there are several additional items in this TA which I will summarize here. You will receive them in much greater detail in advance of a virtual Q&A session still to be scheduled which will take place before the virtual vote later this month.
Our goal is to have a final draft of the TA for E-Board to approve in the next week to 10 days, which would be followed by a membership Q&A and a vote in late April. This would allow members to receive the one-time payment before the end of the school year. We will keep you updated.
Sick Leave for Vaccine Reactions
California retroactively modified SB95, which now states that employees don’t have to use their own sick leave if they are absent due to a reaction to the vaccine. If you used a sick day or days due to a vaccine reaction, please email a scanned copy of your vaccination card (to confirm the dates) to Jim Hanlon along with the day(s) you were absent due to a vaccine reaction. The District will reimburse your sick leave.
Fall MOUs for All Potential Instructional Models
To be prepared for anything this fall, we are spending time updating and clarifying the three MOUs we passed this year governing online-only instruction, the AM/PM model, and traditional learning with safety protocols. We will hold a separate membership Q&A and vote to get these MOUs approved before we go on summer vacation.
School Board Decision
As I’m sure you are all aware, the School Board chose not to revisit whether to reopen with all students this year, which means we will stay in the AM/PM model for the remainder of the school year.
I know many of you are feeling frustrated, angry, and sad about the negative perception of teachers being driven by some members of our community. Although I also find that rhetoric hurtful, I believe that most of our students and parents support us and know that we have worked tirelessly and at personal risk to continue educating and caring for the children of Chico Unified. The School Board as a whole and our District partners certainly believe in us and the hard work we do. Most importantly, perhaps, we believe in each other and know that angry words on social media don’t accurately represent our sacrifice this year. Thank you for everything you do for your students every single day.
Thank you also for taking the time to stay informed. Here is a link to our contract.
Chico Unified Teachers Association
Mary Schoenthaler serves as Vice President and Public Relations Chair for CUTA.