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Negotiations Update from the SRVUSD
Posted 2/10/20

 

The District is committed to providing the community with up-to-date, accurate information that explains how it and the Board of Education will continue to support students, staff and its educational programs using the fiscal resources available. We are communicating with you as part of a series of communications which aim to make this process accessible and open to our broader community . 

 

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Each year, the San Ramon Valley Unified School District (SRVUSD) enters into negotiations with each of its three bargaining units. The District recently reached a tentative contract agreement with California School Employees Association (CSEA), our larger classified bargaining unit. Negotiations with Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which also represents classified staff, will continue later this month. We are continuing to negotiate with San Ramon Valley Education Association (SRVEA), our largest union, representing certificated staff including teachers, nurses, counselors, psychologists and various specialists, as we will further explain below. Through negotiations with all of its employee groups, the District strives to settle contracts that support students, value educators and support staff, and maintain fiscal responsibility over the long term. 

 

As you may be aware, the District has been negotiating since October with SRVEA for a new 3-year contract. The two parties held bargaining sessions on five separate dates before SRVEA declared impasse a few days before Thanksgiving Break.  Tentative agreements were reached on several articles before impasse was declared. Mediation sessions, facilitated by a neutral mediator, were held January 8, January 23, and today, February 10. Believing that no additional progress could be made with his assistance, the mediator today declared an end to the mediation phase. 

 

During today’s session, the District presented its last, best, and final package offer to SRVEA for a new contract, which included:

  • An ongoing, on-schedule increase of 2.56%, (0.06% of which is devoted to the Retired Employee Benefits Trust). This offer is higher than the salary increase proposed by SRVEA.

  • A maximum cap for elementary class sizes, with payments for teachers whose classes exceed that cap 

  • An improvement in the staffing ratio for Middle School Counselors, from 650:1 to 600:1

  • A 0.5% increase to the top step of the SRVEA salary schedules, rewarding our most experienced educators

  • An expansion of earned coursework allowed for advancing on the salary schedule

  • An increase in K-12 staffing of school psychologists, which would increase staffing by 5 full-time psychologists district-wide

  • Increase in the number of years of transferrable service credit for new employees hired from outside of SRVUSD from 7 to10 years implemented over 3 years 

  • An allowance for Speech/Language Pathologists, Psychologists, Social Workers, and Nurses to count private sector experience for salary placement

  • A new stipend for educators who have earned a doctoral degree

  • A new article providing personal and academic freedom for educators

  • Significant new contractual rights and reemployment procedures for “temporary” teachers

  • Increased support and compensation for teachers reassigned to another school within the district

  • More opportunities for collaboration between site administrators and SRVEA leaders regarding required additional duties outside the classroom 

This proposal built upon and expanded the significant improvements to salaries and working conditions negotiated between the District and SRVEA just last March. Those provisions included a 4.18% ongoing salary increase (0.18% of which was invested in the Retired Employee Benefits Trust); improved staffing ratios for Nurses, Counselors, and Teacher Librarians; a reduction in the staffing ratio for Grades 4-5; caseload maximums for various Special Education assignments; maximum daily student contact limits for secondary teachers with overage payments for exceeding those limits; and, an additional 50 minutes per week of preparation time for elementary teachers. To do this, the District dedicated its entire unallocated reserves of $9.6 million over a 3 year period.

 

If the District were to agree to all of SRVEA’s current proposals, the District would be on a path to insolvency.  Unfortunately, despite our best efforts to address SRVEA’s interests and remain fiscally responsible, SRVEA’s bargaining team rejected the offer and requested certification to fact finding, the next stage of this process. The District’s team reiterated its interest in continuing to negotiate with SRVEA as we proceed into fact finding. We will continue communicating with you in the coming days. 

 

The Board of Education, your elected group of five community members, remains committed to prioritizing its employees by negotiating a contract which honors our educators and staff, while maintaining a sound and responsible budget over the long term. Our Board carefully considers each and every aspect of negotiations and takes their responsibility as representatives of the community seriously.  The Board and District remain optimistic that a settlement can be reached, and we look forward to collaboratively continuing negotiations and reaching an agreement as expeditiously as possible.