California Educator

May / June 2016

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faith bargaining, APL claimed money spent on "pending litiga- tion" and legal fees made it file for bankruptcy. Upon review of the parties' conduct, the bankruptcy judge concluded: "e facts strongly suggest that the debtor [APL] simply wanted its cake and to eat it too; if the outcome of the h e a r i n g b e f o re th e Board were satisfac- t o r y t o th e d e b t o r, t h e d e b t o r w o u l d keep quiet, whereas i t w o u l d h a v e t h e motion for contempt in its back pocket if the Board outcome w a s u n f a v o r a b l e . S i m p ly p u t , t h i s i s inappropriate gamesmanship and evinces a disregard for the availability of this court's resources, and is a waste of the state's administrative resources, as well as the debtor's own resources and those of its opponents [CTA]." "APL chose to spend massive amounts on legal fees — $170,000 for three days of hearings — rather than adhering to the law and honoring the expertise of teachers," says Jon Hal- vorsen, the CTA staff supporting the teachers. "CTA can't and won't stand by and see student learning endangered, public money spent shamefully, and the law broken." "Where is the accountability for the public funds? It's like the wolf running the henhouse," says Woodson. "Why is CTA the only one demanding accountability from public charter schools such as this? It's important to stand up for the students in our schools, and that's what we APLEA members did." Gateway Unified School District is APL's sponsoring district, and Superintendent Jim Harrell has been asked to investigate allegations regarding its operations, including charges that the school engaged in "cherry-picking" students. Teachers are also concerned that state school monies designated for the class- room through the Local Control Funding Formula were given to a hedge fund in Palo Alto, apparently as collateral for a loan. e decision was never publicly discussed. ere is record of a board resolution approving the decision, but no record of a vote. U T L A : S T U D E N T- F O C U S E D AG R E E M E N T R E AC H E D United Teachers Los Angeles and Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) reached an agreement, pending a ratification vote by members, focused on class size reduction and educator development and support. " We made significant strides for students and our class- rooms, and set a foundation for more improvements to public education in Los Angeles," says UTLA President Alex Capu- to-Pearl. "We are proud that this agreement addresses equity for our students with highest needs." Key improvements to class size include an additional full- time teacher at every secondary school for a new elective class or for reducing the class size of existing electives; an additional full-time teacher for high-needs elementary schools to be used for class size reduction; a cap on students in PE classes for sec- ondary schools; and shortened district response time when special education caseloads are too large. Key improvements to educator devel- opm ent and supp or t includ e quicker turnaround from obser vation to feed- back to educators in the classroom, and continuing the work of a UTLA-LAUSD collaborative committee on professional development and career-long growth. e contract reopeners are part of the current 2014-17 contract, which last year included a 10 percent salary increase. R A N C H O S A N TA F E : T E AC H E R S ' C H I L D R E N N OT W E LCO M E Rancho Santa Fe Faculty Association in San Diego remains in contentious negotiations, and the local superintendent has continued her effort to end a board policy that allows children of teachers in the Rancho Santa Fe School District (RSFSD) to attend a district school if an agreement is not reached. RSFSD has a sunset clause on the policy that coincides with the contract's expiration. Management stated that without a contract after June 30, the policy is void. Additional negotia- tion sessions are scheduled and teachers are making the policy a priority along with salary increases and comparable benefits that will help attract and retain the next generation of Rancho Santa Fe educators. O R A N G E CO U N T Y: S A D D L E B AC K VA L L E Y R A L L I E S TO P R OT E C T S C H O O L S Saddleback Valley Unified School District' teachers, whose salaries are among the lowest in the area, have been working almost a year without a contract. SVUSD's offer of a 1.65 percent raise is inadequate and will make SVUSD less competitive and attractive in a time of increasing need for teachers. Saddleback Valley Educators Association President Barbara Schulman says, "e way to value our hardworking, caring and dedicated staff is to continue to hire top talent. One of the ways is to offer a competitive salary. It is a disservice to the students, community and SVUSD that their teachers don't feel valued." CTA President Eric Heins joined Saddleback educators at a "Rally to protect our schools" on May 12 to support a fair nego- tiated settlement. By Cynthia Menzel, Mike Myslinski, Ed Sibby and Frank Wells. #OurVoiceAtTheTable "Where is the accountability for the public funds? It's like the wolf running the henhouse." — Candy Woodson, APLEA member and one of nine educators fired from charter school Academy of Personalized Learning 35 May / June 2016

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