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18 Answers about the 2016 Yuba City Teachers Strike-

posted Sep 3, 2016, 4:59 PM by Yuba City Teachers Association   [ updated Sep 8, 2016, 3:52 PM ]

  • The Fight for a Fair and just Contract
  • Unfair Labor Practice Charges
  • The Strike

Q1: What are the issues in the current dispute between YCTA and YCUSD Administration and School Board?

Due to the statewide teacher shortage crisis, teachers are leaving YCUSD for better pay in neighboring districts.  YCTA wants YCUSD to bring teachers’ salaries in line with the statewide average by investing in a salary schedule that will attract and retain qualified teachers for Yuba City students now and in the future.

 

During negotiations for the 2015-16 contract:

 

·         YCTA proposed a 13 percent salary increase for all teachers for the 2015-16 academic year because of the exodus of teachers leaving to neighboring districts for better pay and working conditions.

 

·         YCUSD proposed zero percent, that is, nothing on the salary schedule for 2015-16, with one-time pay for additional hours.  This was despite receiving $42 million in additional state funding and providing YCUSD management salary increases that brought managers to the statewide average. Throughout negotiations, YCUSD misled parents and community members regarding bargaining proposals. The fact is the district’s proposals were all the same “take it or leave it” and “all or nothing” packages. Some items were reworded, and no substantive changes were offered.

 

After the fact-finding process was completed, YCTA still tried to reach an agreement.

 

·         YCUSD refused to offer a reasonable settlement for 2015-16, attempting to bypass 2015-16 completely. 

·         YCUSD emailed YCTA an illegal “package proposal” offering a “take it or leave it” three-year (2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19) conditional successor contract that:

o   Requires teachers to give up on 2015-16 entirely.

o   Requires teachers to waive their legal rights.

o   Proposes extra work without full compensation.

o   Dictates salary increases could be arbitrarily reduced at the district’s discretion.

o   Takes away YCTA’s legal right to bargain.

·         YCTA is committed to resolving negotiations for 2015-16.

 

Q2: Can the YCUSD afford the teacher’s proposal?

Yes.  The Yuba City Unified School District realized a significant increase in its revenue budget over the past few years, thanks to the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF). LCFF provides for base grant funding, and provides to districts like YCUSD with a high number of “Unduplicated Pupils,” defined as English Language Learners, Foster Youth, and students who qualify for free/reduced lunch, additional “supplemental and concentration grant funding.” 

 

YCUSD could easily choose to invest supplemental and concentration grant funding to create a more competitive salary schedule, in an effort to attract and retain more experienced and better qualified teachers that will improve the quality of education students receive and result in improved student achievement.

 

YCUSD’s own financial records show the district ended the 2015-16 year with an unrestricted reserve in their “Estimated Actuals” of over $13.9 million. The cost of a 1 percent increase for YCTA’s nearly 700 teachers is $526,640.  In 2015-16, YCUSD salaries were 13 percent below the statewide average. Therefore, YCTA is requesting a 13 percent increase in an effort to address the pay gap. 

 

A 13 percent increase would only cost the District $6.8 million and would still leave YCUSD with an unrestricted ending balance of just over $7.1 million.  YCTA’s financial analysis of YCUSD annual teacher salary placement costs from 2014-15 to 2015-16, and again from 2015-16 to 2016-17, shows a significant saving to the district.  This cost saving is realized because teacher replacement costs are substantially lower than the cost of experienced veteran teachers leaving YCUSD to work in neighboring districts for higher pay. New teachers should be qualified and have full credentials.

 

Q3: So, what has happened in bargaining in 2015-16?

Last fall, YCUSD management rejected YCTA’s proposals. The parties reached impasse in March 2016 and began mediation. Mediation ended, and the two sides were certified to fact-finding, the final step in the negotiations process under the Educational Employment Relations Act (EERA). Since fact-finding ended, YCTA initiated conversations with the YCUSD in an effort to find a way to resolve 2015-16 negotiations.  Unfortunately, no agreement was reached. 

 

Q4:  Why isn’t YCTA willing to accept the YCUSD management’s offer?

YCUSD is attempting to bypass 2015-16 completely. YCUSD’s last illegal “package proposal” offered a “take it or leave it” conditional successor contract that included nothing for 2015-16 (see Q1 above).

 

Q5: Why isn’t the YCUSD management willing to consider YCTA’s proposal?

YCTA is not sure.  YCUSD paid School Services, Inc. to conduct an independent salary analysis that recommended putting more resources into attracting and retaining qualified teachers if the district was having problems attracting and retaining teachers. Attracting and retaining teachers is a YCUSD-identified goal in the district’s Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP).

 

YCUSD is losing in the competition for great teachers to neighboring districts.  Seventy-four (74) great teachers left YCUSD for these districts before the school year started, and the district has been unable to replace them.  YCUSD’s failure to compete has resulted in at least 20 classrooms of students in YCUSD beginning the year without a teacher with at least a preliminary credential.  YCUSD has resorted to interns and other teachers with emergency credentials.  Emergency credentials do nothing to address the urgent problem of attracting and retaining qualified teachers.  This exodus of teachers must be addressed without further delay.

 

YCTA’s proposal is fair, just and affordable.  (See the Q7 LCFF question below.)


Q6: Is YCUSD refusing to invest its resources to support educational excellence?

Yes.  It is unconscionable that YCUSD is inflating unrestricted funds while our students suffer and some of our best teachers leave for better pay in neighboring districts.

 

In 2013-14 the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) established a historic overhaul of California’s school finance system, shifting resources to the state’s neediest students by directing additional funds to districts with high populations of students receiving Free/Reduced Price Meals and/or identified as Foster Youth or English Learners. 

 

Under the LCFF, districts like Yuba City Unified School District (with a more than 70 percent “unduplicated pupil count”) receive much-needed additional resources to provide more for their students and communities.  This great opportunity can help the district attract and retain the highest quality educators possible in the midst of a statewide teacher shortage crisis.

 

 YCUSD BRL/LCFF Increases

2010-11 (BRL)     $63,540,168

2011-12 (BRL)     $63,561,590

2012-13 (BRL)     $64,138,504

2013-14 (LCFF)   $79,629,087

2014-15 (LCFF)   $92,040,540

2015-16 (LCFF)   $106,056,094

2016-17 (LCFF)   $113,288,291

YCUSD BRL/LCFF Increase

since 2010 is 78.3 percent

 YCUSD Total Available Funds

2010-11                $112,131,937

2011-12                $118,231,703

2012-13                $115,462,401

2013-14                $122,466,107

2014-15                $131,211,100

2015-16                $146,821,840

2016-17                $151,792,896

Total Available Funds Increase

since 2010 is 35.4 percent

  

Q7: Since the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) provides increased resources, schools and districts are required to account for how those resources will be spent through their Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP). Did YCUSD identify attracting and retaining teachers as a District goal?

Yes. Under LCFF, the District is required to engage “local stakeholders,” including teachers, parents and community members, and seek input in the development of its Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP). The LCAP identifies priorities on how the district will invest its LCFF including “supplemental and concentration grant” funds. 

 

While YCUSD identified improving student achievement as a district goal, YCUSD did not allocate funds to invest in creating a competitive salary schedule that will attract and retain the best teachers for our students. 

 

YCTA has joined with parents and community members to ask the district to find a way to do what’s right for our students. [Find the LCAP priorities here.]

 

Q8: Is it legal for YCTA teachers to strike?

Yes. After the exhaustion of impasse procedure under the Educational Employment Relations Act (EERA), YCTA has the legal right to strike.

 

Q9: Is YCTA planning for a strike?

Yes.  Effective Thursday, September 8, 2016, YCTA members will be on strike.

 

Q10: What does going on strike mean for YCTA teachers?

It means that all teachers, counselors, coaches, nurses, speech and language pathologists, school psychologists and librarians will refrain from teaching and performing any other YCUSD duties for the duration of the strike. YCTA members will walk picket lines, attend rallies, and take other actions to make the strike visible and effective.

 

Q11: Are teachers prepared to strike?

Yes.  YCTA members had record turnout and a 95 percent “yes” strike authorization vote, indicating they are willing to strike for a fair and just settlement that creates a more competitive salary schedule to attract and retain more experienced and better qualified teachers to continue to improve student achievement.

 

Q12: What will happen to students while YCTA teachers are on strike?

Only parents have the right to make decisions for their own children.  Parents have the right to this information from the YCUSD:

1.                   Who is teaching my child today?

2.                   Is the teacher in my child’s classroom credentialed, or are they working on a substitute permit?

3.                   Who is planning the lessons that my child will receive today, and what is that content?

4.                   Who is supervising my child during lunch and recess, and before and after school?

 

Q13: Could teachers’ participation in a strike lead to dismissal or other disciplinary action?

No. In a legal strike, it is unlawful for the YCUSD management to attempt to dismiss or discipline any YCTA member for participating in the strike. It is a violation of state law to attempt to dismiss or discipline an educator for exercising the right to participate in a lawful job action such as a strike.

 

Management has already tried to demoralize teachers in advance of the strike by requiring teachers to turn in keys at the end of the day, even if they’re not done working with students.  Sadly, we’ve heard of intimidation tactics against teachers, parents and education support staff.

 

Based on complaints filed by YCTA, the California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) issued a legal complaint against the Yuba City Unified School District (YCUSD) alleging that YCUSD violated state law when it adopted a series of board resolutions earlier this summer threatening to discipline employees who exercise their legally protected right to strike.

 

Based on current and past experience, we must be prepared for the superintendent and perhaps other administrators trying to weaken the teachers’ resolve by instilling fear, creating anxiety and encouraging teachers to cross the picket line.

 

Q14: Will teachers be paid while they are on strike?

No.  Teachers are on strike to protect the teachers and our families, to ensure our ability to continue to serve our students, and to provide our students with high-quality teachers to help them succeed academically.

 

As some teachers have pointed out, show us how you spend your money and we will show you what you really care about.  We must remember that teacher working conditions are student learning conditions.

 

Q15: Now that a strike has been called, does YCTA have a strike fund?

Yes.  Supporters can donate to the YCTA Strike Hardship Grant created for YCTA members on strike who may be facing severe financial difficulties.  Donations may be made out to the YCTA; put “Strike Hardship Fund” in the memo. Please mail checks to the YCTA office - 1095 Stafford Way, Suite A, Yuba City, CA  95993.

 

Q16: What might YCUSD do now that a strike has been called?

The district is claiming to have 700 substitutes ready to work during the strike and is offering a wage of $330 per day for each substitute, a wage higher than the District currently pays to some of its own credentialed teachers.  The usual sub pay is $125. YCUSD prefers spending resources fighting teachers, rather than investing in solutions that provide our students with the best teachers possible.

 

Q17: Is YCTA supported by community groups and other unions?

Yes.  It is clear by the expression of support from our parents, local businesses and community members that YCUSD students come first!  Parents, teachers, local community and businesses stand united as stakeholders desiring the best possible education be provided to our students.

 

Q18: Can this be resolved?

Yes. YCTA is committed to reaching a viable resolution with the District for 2015-16.  The teachers of Yuba City remain committed to negotiating in good faith.  We need a partner who is willing to do the same.  



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