California Educator

October 2016

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Page 35 of 51

Yuba City Teachers Settle and Get Respect Educators in Yuba City received support, love and respect during a sev- en-day strike that ended in settlement on Sept. 19. The strike mobilized and gave voice to students, parents and the community. Yuba City Teachers Association members voted 506-15 to ratify an agreement that allows educators to better support students, and provides educators more collaboration time and three professional development days. They gain more input into the Local Control Accountability Plan and allocation of Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) funds to help students with high needs. The new contract stipulates an 11.1 percent salary increase over a three-year period beginning 2015-16. Previously, district teachers on average earned 13 percent less than the statewide average, which led many to leave for better-paying jobs and hurt students' education. "In terms of retaining teachers, longevity pay will be permanently placed on the salary schedule, which hopefully will encourage experi- enced teachers to stay in our community," says YCTA President Dina Luetgens. "In terms of respect, we have a written understanding that gives us a seat at the table so our voice on strategic decisions will be heard, especially in how state monies received through the LCFF are spent on programs to improve student achievement." Some 71 percent of Yuba City students are considered having high needs (low-income students, foster youth and English learners), which means the district should receive an extra $21 million annually at full funding of LCFF in three or four years. YCTA argued that to give stu- dents the education they deserve, some of the revenue should go to across-the-board raises to help recruit and retain quality teachers. Last year alone, Yuba City lost 10 percent of its teachers because of the lack of respect from the district. Left: During the Yuba City strike, 3,000 community members and educators rally outside a YCUSD school board meeting. Above, the packed school board meeting; below, support for striking teachers. Bargaining Roundup Details of these stories at Fresno: Push for Smaller Class Sizes Fresno Unified School District has reached a tentative agreement with the Fresno Teachers Association on a new contract ; negotiations continue on Nov. 2 . F TA is calling for smaller class sizes and more nurses and social-emo- tional suppor t for students, and had invited parents and communit y to bargaining sessions with the district in a push for transparenc y. A session in late September drew more than 200 people, many of them educators. District staff walked out, and questioned the legality of FTA's move. FTA contends its actions are within the rules and the law. FTA demands no more than 30 students in high school classes, with fewer than that for lower grades. FTA also asks for full-time nurses, social workers and psychologists at each school. FTA's leadership says it will not back down from open bargaining sessions. "I think we're stronger with the more people that know what's going on, while management thinks they 're stronger the less people know," says FTA Associate Executive Director Mo Kashmiri. " The question is, what do they have to hide? Why are they afraid of public accountability?" 34 advocacy Photos by Len Feldman

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