We do not have any new tentative agreements to report. The school board members and superintendent were not at negotiations today.
Immediately following Wednesday night’s strike vote, the SPFT Executive Board voted to merge our bargaining teams. The motion carried unanimously. Today, members from all three of our bargaining units – School and Community Service Professionals, Educational Assistants, and Teachers – met together as one team to negotiate our contracts.
We gave the district a list of 32 cost-neutral proposals to look at for the next time, and we look forward to their responses.
The district hasn’t taken any of their punitive and anti-union proposals off the table. They want to charge our Educational Assistants each time they pay their union dues. They want our School and Community Service Professionals to receive their wages on a prepaid credit card rife with fees. They want to make it easier to put teachers on improvement plans. They still want to eliminate our ability to allow members to take union leave for professional and leadership development.
We were disappointed by the responses we received today on our English Learner and Special Education proposals. The district crossed out the entirety of each proposal. The district is refusing to offer any increase in EL staffing or decrease in special education caseloads.
When we asked for the district’s EL budget, they provided minimal information. Even though the district is being sued for not providing adequate services to our English Learners, they refuse to collaborate with our members who are offering innovation and solutions.
While some exchanges were made around class size proposals, we are waiting for the district to finalize a counter offer for Monday.
The district’s team continues to recite the $2.06 million figure set by the school board at the bargaining table, and they are unwilling to tap into the $35.9 million in unassigned reserve funds, which could be used to help meet the needs of our students.
We are committed to settling these contracts and avoiding a strike. We will negotiate for as many days it takes over the next 10 days to reach those settlements. We have mediation scheduled for every day next week.
Our organizers are preparing for strike meetings this coming week. More information will be sent soon. You will want to make sure you have stewards and Contract Action Team members at that meeting.