ABI Directive

posted Feb 12, 2013, 7:17 AM by Yuba City Teachers Association   [ updated Apr 22, 2013, 6:13 PM ]

Hello YCTA

Today you may receive by U.S. Mail a directive from the District to use ABI Gradebook.  Included will be protocols developed by YCUSD (attached) and presented at the Bargaining Table.    YCTA and YCUSD have been engaged in bargaining.  On Feb. 1, 2013, the District notified YCTA of its intent to no longer engage in bargaining regarding the implementation of ABI.  YCTA is working with CTA legal to file our objections to this act of bad faith bargaining.   I was waiting to write this email as we sought legal counsel.

This one is a long one but the story has been dragging on for quite some time.

 I provide for you a “brief” overview of the timeline.


August  2011, teachers in grades 6-12 received a letter from the school board president to begin implementation of ABI gradebook. 


September 2011, YCTA asserted our right to negotiate the impacts and effects of that decision in a letter to the District.  EERA gives us the right to bargain wages, hours and working conditions.


November 2011, The District attempts to deny of right to negotiate in letter from their attorney.


November 2011, YCTA responds at the negotiating table to assert multiple impacts and effects of the decision and builds the case for our right to negotiate.  The attorney for the District acknowledges we have the right to negotiate.  But there is no further discussion of ABI during that session or multiple sessions to follow.


February 2012,  a principal pressures teachers to begin using ABI gradebook.  YCTA responds to reiterate our demand to bargain by issuing a cease and desist letter.  The District may not unilaterally implement while negotiations are in progress.


April 2012, YCTA passes a package proposal to the District that included the following language to address ABI gradebook.   The District had failed to bring any proposal to YCTA regarding ABI Gradebook prior to this.  We were and are prepared to negotiate.

ABI Gradebook from YCTA proposal (4/23/12 included in package proposal)


Teachers may maintain a separate gradebook and post only progress updates on the ABI gradebook.  There shall be no mandate that the ABI Gradebook must be used as the sole grade program for a teacher.  No teacher shall be required to update an ABI gradebook more than once in a single grading period.  If we can reach a package proposal settlement that includes preps at grades 6-8, this minimum required reporting shall be twice per grading period.

Access to a teacher’s gradebook shall be limited to only those with a need to know to inform educational decisions for a student.  A teacher’s gradebook shall not be accessed for purposes of discipline nor evaluation.  A teacher’s gradebook shall be viewed as a confidential document whose access should be limited to those persons with a need to know to inform educational decisions.

Data entry using ABI gradebook is more time consuming as is the resulting communication with parents.   As such the District shall continue to explore more effective means of on-line gradebook access.  Teachers with more efficient, flexible or simply alternative grade programs may continue to maintain these options.

The District and Association shall meet and negotiate protocols to inform parents, guardians and other parties with a right to know the parameters of use of ABI gradebook.  The District shall provide annual notification to parents regarding the protocols related to on-line grading.  The District shall post these protocols directly within the ABI access window.  These protocols shall include information regarding the expectations of individual communications between teacher and parent.


May 2012, YCTA receives a package proposal from the District and there is no response to our ABI proposal nor any discussion from the District at either negotiations session in May.


September 2012, YCTA issues a second cease and desist after district administrators direct teachers to begin using ABI gradebook.   We once again assert our right to negotiate prior to implementation.


September 2012, the Superintendent responds in a letter with multiple inaccuracies.  YCTA responds to address inaccuracies and continues to assert our right to negotiate impacts and effects.  YCTA begins to prepare for filing an unfair practice charge with PERB (Public Employees Review Board). 


December 2012 the District presents proposed protocols for use of ABI at the bargaining table with YCTA.  Discussion continued in bargaining session in January 2013.


February 2013 Assistant Superintendent Walters sends a letter to YCTA indicating intent to unilaterally impose.  Once again we seek legal counsel to compel the District to bargain.  There are multiple inaccuracies in this letter that YCTA will formally cite in our responses.   YCTA has delineated impacts and effects that are negotiable in correspondence as well as at the bargaining table.  YCTA had declined to develop protocols with the District away from the bargaining table since to do so would undermine our efforts to bargain the impacts and effects.  We were and are prepared to engage in negotiations, the District has used multiple strategies to deny our right to do so rather than to simply engage in the discussions at the table.   YCTA has a duty as well as a right to negotiate the impacts and effects of this decision.  We simply ask the District to engage in those discussions rather than continue the subterfuge to avoid negotiating with YCTA.

Many have found ABI Gradebook to be useful tool to inform students and parents.  Others have preferred their former methods of communication even using their own websites and superior gradebook software programs.  Each of us has made professional decisions to compile and calculate final grades for our students.  YCTA seeks to negotiate the impacts and effects of the mandated use of ABI Gradebook.  We have a duty and right to do so before a unilateral implementation.

Look back at teh timeline.  Note all of the attorney time spent attempting to deny our right to negotiate.  The District could simply negotiate with us and move forward.  Consider the cost of today's mass U.S. Mail delivery.  YCTA simply seeks fair and reasonable negotiations.

Read carefully the District protocols that they developed.  Yesterday the District complied with YCTA's request for the source documents for their protocols.   The seven day deadline comes from Startford Connecticut.  Click here for their 2011/2012 salary schedule.  Their sources were limited to Stratford, CT; Montrose, NY; Dallas TX; Monterrey, CA; Montgomery, MD; San Mateo, CA; Buffalo, NY; Milton, WI; Highlands Ranch, CO; Lake Lucerne, NY; and Columbia, SC.

Check out the attached protocols from Vacaville School District in CA that YCTA provided the District last year. 

YCTA will continue to assert our right to negotiate.  We ask you to continue to support our bargaining team.  We must stand together and demand that the District RESPECT US, VALUE US AND NEGOTIATE WITH US.  It is through our collective action that we have the power to tell our District we expect more.  They place ever increasing demands on your time and fail to negotiate with us to improve our working conditions.

Watch for my next email with the salary comparison from Marysville.  Our power to compel our District to treat us differently is the direct result of SOLIDARITY. 
Are you ready to STAND TOGETHER?  Are you willing to remain passive in the face of these actions?  Let's all play an active role in supporting our Bargaining Team.