Tentative Agreement: September 9, 2015

 

Why did we take a 3% raise when we refused it before?

We were offered a total of 4% increased salary before, now we are getting a total of 6% increased salary.

3% of our increase is not really a raise, we have to work for it.

That is half-true, the value of the 3% is worth far more that the workload required. You are now getting paid for some of the extra time you put in.  This is just a small measure recognizing your hard work.

Riverside and Perris secondary make way more money than us, are we still way behind?

Yes, they are still ahead of us, but Riverside has an 8 hour day and Perris Secondary has 30 minutes more of student contact time than we do.

Why did we take a bonus for 14-15 instead of a salary increase?

The district receives both one-time and ongoing money.  For 14-15 there was one-time money but not ongoing money for salary.  So we had the opportunity for a bonus, but not a salary increase.

Why are we putting one-time money on benefits? Our families are being put through a financial hardship with the high costs of benefits.  What about next year?

While we are using one-time money for benefits this year (.75%), we will be using a portion of the 3.5% in 16-17 to continue it. (2.75% to salaries and .75% to the benefits cap)

Why did we already negotiate for 16-17? Shouldn’t we wait?

All indicators from the state budget and CTA bargaining have shown that next year will be a lean year.  We thought it was important to make sure that we got a raise now for next year.  This does not mean that we are done.  While we cannot bargain for money in 16-17, we will continue to work on contract language.  We will also gear up in September of 2016 so when we negotiate for 17-18 we will do it from a position of power.

Why is Special Ed always left out?

Paula Brannon worked hard with Troy K. to get more for our SPED and we will continue next year to get more language.

What is happening with Elementary Prep Time?

Now Elementary Teachers can choose when to take their prep time, at the beginning of the student day or the end.  You will have to make the decision each year and advise your administrator.

What happened to the district’s offer of step 25?

It was not offered in the end and would have been available ONLY to those that have worked in our district for 25 years.  Only a select few would have received it.

The District had an ending balance of over $8 million, can’t the district afford to give us more?

First we want our district to make sure they are operating in the black.  CTA and your negotiating team knew about the ending balance when the agreement was made.  An ending balance does not equal salaries.   We can demand to bargain the money but ultimately the budget belongs to the district.

When will we get all of this money?

The end of October check depending on if our membership ratifies it and the Board approves it.

Grievances

What is a grievance?

A grievance is a way of reinforcing the contract. When the contract is violated by administration a grievance can be filed. It can only be done when we can point to an area in the contract where there has been a violation.

What is the process of filing a grievance?

  1. Level 1 is informal and with the administrator. It is usually oral, but can be written. Our first job is to try and rectify the situation at the site level. If you are not satisfied, you can go to level 2.
  2. Level 2 is written on the district grievance form, more formal, but still at the site level. If you are still not satisfied, you can go to a level 3 grievance.
  3. Level 3 is written on the same district grievance form, but it goes to the Superintendent’s office. If the association is not satisfied, the grievance committee and executive board can go to level 4.
  4. Level 4 is mediation and not binding. This costs the association money. We split the cost with the district. If the association is still not satisfied, we can take it to arbitration or Level 5.
  5. Level 5 is arbitration and binding. This also costs the association money. We split the cost with the district. The decision of the arbiter is final and sets a precedence for future interactions with the district.

What if I don’t have a grievance? Can I do anything?

YES!! We can look at other ways to alleviate your problems. Just talk to your site rep or union representative.

What is the timeline for a grievance?

Grievance-Flow-Chart

Contract Issues

What does inclement weather mean in the contract?

According to the MOU that was extended and signed for this year:

This contract language was created for when teachers lost their prep, recess break, or part of their lunch during the day. It was to assure that they would be able to leave when they were inconvenienced. It does not just apply to weather. If you had to keep students in at lunch, prep or recess because of a lock down, low air quality, etc. this comes into effect. On the other hand, if your administration makes sure you are not inconvenienced on a rainy day…it does not come into effect. (See faq on letter and spirit of the contract.)

What do you mean by Spirit and Letter of the contract?

  • The SPIRIT signifies what the people at the negotiation table were trying to accomplish with the language, but may not have made it clear enough. The spirit of the language MAY still stand, even though the language is a bit different.
  • The LETTER of the contract is the actual written language with minimal interpretation.

Curriculum Council

How do I become a member of the Council?

Usually we will send out an email requesting subject areas or grade level areas where the Council is lacking. Email the VVTA office and request an application. Fill out the application and then email it back to the VVTA office. The application will then be reviewed by VVTA and the District. You should be notified one way or the other within 2 weeks.

When does the Curriculum Council Meet?

Usually the Secondary Curriculum Council will meet on the first Wednesday of the month and the Elementary Curriculum Council will meet on the third Wednesday of the month. The council will usually not meet during the State testing month.

What are the duties of Curriculum Council members?

  • Bring information from school sites on curricular issues.
  • Show up at each scheduled meeting and participate in the discussions.
  • Take back the information gained from council meetings to the school site.
  • Serve on ad hoc committees as needed.

How to become involved

What can I do to become more involved in the union?

  • Attend all the 10 minute meetings at your site. There should be one a month run by your site rep. It is only 10 minutes and gives you tons of information.
  • Attend the three General Membership meetings each year. Usually one in September, one in January and one in March.
  • Wear your union shirt once a month with the rest of your site.
  • Call your state representatives when there is an educational issue on the ballot and inform them of the teacher’s point of view.
  • Volunteer for and attend union committees.
  • Go to union conferences and get informed.

Are there any union committees I can serve on right now?

The Organizational Committee

  • This committee works on getting our union organized and strong through activities that build solidarity.
  • It keeps track of activities and events.

The Elections Committee

  • Notifies the membership when there is an election and what it is for.
  • Gives the membership the timeline for the election.
  • Creates candidate application forms and mails them out to interested parties.
  • Goes through applications and creates a ballot from those running.
  • Counts the ballots once they are all in from school sites.

The ValPac

  • This committee is a political action committee that helps to organize our members on political issues and looks for which political candidates we need to endorse.

Employee Classification

What is my job classification and what does it mean?

There are only 4 classifications for certificated, public school employees:

  1. Substitute
  2. Temporary
  3. Probationary
  4. Permanent

What are my rights under my classification?

CTA has a great page explaining this, please go to:

http://www.cta.org/Member-Services/Member-Engagement-Center/Classification-in-a-Nutshell.aspx

Question… How does a shared contract work? As far as pay and benefits…

You would get paid according to YOUR rate for each day you work. The benefits are different…one of you could take all the benefits and the other opt out because they have them from another source. If you both take them, they are MORE expensive because you are paying for two sets of benefits for ONE job. Call the VVTA office if you have more questions.

Observations and Evaluations

What is the difference between a walk-through, an observation and an evaluation?

There are only 4 classifications for certificated, public school employees:

  1. Substitute
  2. Temporary
  3. Probationary
  4. Permanent

What is the timeline for Evaluations?

CTA has a great page explaining this, please go to:

http://www.cta.org/Member-Services/Member-Engagement-Center/Classification-in-a-Nutshell.aspx

Why do we have to get evaluated, observed, etc?

The purpose of the observation and evaluation process is to make us better teachers. I know it is hard to have someone come into our rooms and evaluate what we do, but sometimes we need a fresh look at what we are doing in order to grow. So when we are observed and evaluated, there are a couple of things that should be happening in order to facilitate that.

  1. We should be observed frequently.
    1. For probationary teachers, that should be once a month. This is based on bargaining notes. The reason for this is that you want to be seen and given a chance to grow. If you are only observed right before the evaluation and you get Needs Improvement or Unsatisfactory, there is usually only one way to go and that is out. If it is once a month and you show growth, it will prove your worth.
    2. For tenured teachers it should be 2 – 3 times before each evaluation. This gives you a chance for growth and change.
  2. When the observation has NI or U, it will have a mini – improvement plan on it. Most likely on the attachment. This gives you a focus for what you must work on in the next couple of weeks before your next observation. This will also be the focus of the next observation.
  3. Each observation needs to be followed by a conference explaining what was good and where there is need for growth.
  4. The evaluation will take into account the previous observations and the growth you have shown in this evaluation cycle.

Meeting Free Wednesdays

What are the Meeting Free Wednesdays for this year?

Here is the link to the Calendar Folder.

What is the contract wording for MFW?

Click here for the contract language on MFW.

Non Reelect vs. Resigning

I have been told I will be non reelected, should I resign?

The link below is to a paper from a lawfirm on probationary teacher rights.

http://www.ernesttuttlelaw.com/downloads/Probationary-Teachers-Rights.pdf

Elections

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