How is this process different than our previous bargaining cycle?
During the previous bargaining cycle we had to develop our collective voice and use it in order to bring the district to the table. In this bargaining cycle, we are building professional relationships with the district in order to engage in sometimes difficult conversations with the goal to address the needs of educators and students.
What are the bargaining priorities?
The FTA bargaining priorities were informed by the general membership via our bargaining survey. In general, these include lowering class sizes, increasing teacher agency, reducing meeting hours, improving SPED, improving safety & discipline, plus a competitive/fair salary & healthcare package.
What salary raise are we asking for?
We are not focused on asking for a certain amount. We are working with the District to identify the largest increase they can afford over the next three years. The state budget forecast in January and the upcoming “May Revise” will help guide us. Competitive compensation is an important part of our negotiations and it is a major priority for the FTA team.
Will I get a “retro” check?
That depends on when we settle the contract. If we settle a contract on or before June 30, 2019, there is no need for a retro check because your salary increase will take effect July 1, 2019. If we settle after July 1, 2019 you will get a retro check for the 2019-2020 salary increase for all the days between July 1, 2019 and the settlement date.
Are we going to keep the improved health insurance we gained last contract?
We are committed to maintaining or improving our 90-10 health insurance.
Is it possible that we could get a 5% raise per year and 100% healthcare coverage?
It is unlikely that we could and if we did we would be unable to make any improvements in class size, SPED, or any other area of our contract that has a cost. We would also likely alienate our relationship with the school board and community. Most importantly, our members have indicated that they also care about other issues besides pay and healthcare.
Are we trying to get a class size CAP or just another ratio reduction?
We are absolutely trying to secure an identified number that classes are not to exceed. However, we will not advocate for a class size policy that results in forcing students switch schools. Many school districts publish a set number that classes should not exceed and this creates pressure on the system to make needed adjustments. If a particular class exceeds this number the instructor is given a financial benefit for the increased work. This drives district policy and the new norm is under the published class size maximum.
Are we going to “fix” SPED?
There are many areas of need in FUSD’s Special Education. We are utilizing the work our SPED committee has been focused on all year, our interactions with educators, our interactions at sites, and our SPED Town Hall to guide our efforts to make improvements to SPED, and the Greater City Schools report recommendations. The “fix” seems to be different depending on which member we talk to and this can vary from site to site. Therefore, we advocate on making the most needed changes, that will benefit the greatest number of our educators and their students. Our voice and advocacy leads to increased investments in SPED, but we cannot “bargain” or negotiate the management of SPED programs.
When members get to vote on the tentative agreement reached by FTA and FUSD?
Once we reach a tentative agreement all members will be able to read it. The next step is the approval by our Executive Board. Then all members will vote to make the decision if we will accept the agreement. We will not sign a tentative agreement that we don’t believe will be widely supported.