California Educator

August 2016

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Page 38 of 59

SOUTH BAY TEACHERS WIN WITH STUDENT-CENTERED APPROACH Teachers in the Southwest Teachers Association (SWTA) focused a year- long effort around student-centered organizing and won community support for an outstanding contract settlement in June. During negotiations that began in May 2015, SWTA members continually pushed for improvements to district schools in the interest of students and the community. This included more planning time for teachers to strengthen instructional skills and increased counseling and nursing services, along with better pay, health benefits and stipends. DOS PALOS FINDS EXTRA $1.8 MILLION IN DISTRICT COFFERS When school districts are not transpar- ent about money, it hurts kids and it hurts teachers. That was the sentiment when members of the Dos Palos/ Oro Loma Teachers Association (DPOLTA) discovered Dos Palos Oro Loma Joint Unified School Dis- trict (DPOLSD) was hoarding nearly $1.8 million. With assistance from CTA, DPOLTA leaders examined district budget doc- uments, specifically those related to Fund 40, a special reserve for capital projects. "Unrestricted funds totaling nearly $1.8 million have been transferred from the general fund into line items such as Fund 40, making the money unavailable to teachers and students, the community and other employees," says Marty Thompson, DPOLTA president. Despite the district receiving an increase of $3.1 million in ongoing, permanent funding for the current school year, DPOLSD has not budged from its 1 percent salary increase offer. Teachers are asking for a 6 percent pay hike in 2015-16, and an additional 6 percent in 2016-17. The teachers' proposal is necessary to attract and retain quality teachers, says Thompson. DPOLSD and DPOLTA declared impasse in bargaining and are going through a medi- ation process. LONG BEACH PUSHES FOR PAR Teachers Association of Long Beach (TALB) is reactivating its Peer Assistance and Review (PAR) program, which has been mothballed for the past five years, in tandem with negotiations. With 2016-17 as a pilot year, TALB hopes to have a new PAR program in place for the 2017-18 school year. The goal is to provide all teachers the opportunity to enhance their professional abilities. NATOMAS TEACHERS REACH TENTATIVE AGREEMENT Aer months of oen contentious negotia- tions, the Natomas Teachers Association (NTA) and the Natomas Unified School District (NUSD) have reached a tentative agreement. Both sides agreed to keep class sizes from increasing, and to create a committee for annual safety training. The agreement also calls for a 4.5 percent salary increase over two years. The agree- ment is still subject to ratification by the NUSD Board and NTA members. "This agreement addresses our concerns for student learning and condi- tions," says NTA President Phil Cox, who expressed deep gratitude to Natomas' parents and community. "We realize how much this community values and supports its teachers. That means the world to us and strengthens our resolve to continue to work collaboratively with parents and community members in an effort to make Natomas an even better school district." By Cynthia Menzel, Mike Myslinski and Ed Sibby. #OurVoiceAtTheTable BARGAINING ROUNDUP "We realize how much this community values and supports its teachers. That means the world to us and strengthens our resolve to continue to work collaboratively with parents and community members." — Natomas Teachers Association President Phil Cox Details of these stories at 37 August 2016 In an informational picket in July, Yuba City Teachers Association members advocate for student needs and urge the Yuba City Unified School District to make teacher recruitment and retention a priority. Mostly due to 42 resignations at the end of the 2015-16 school year, the district had 40 unfilled positions in July.

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