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May 28

District Administration Outright Violates Bargaining Agreement

E-mail sent to Board President Adrienne Waterman, Vice President Hazel Wilson, Trustee Ace Stewart, Trustee Raymond Mommsen, Trustee Tony Ubalde on Monday, May 28, 2012:

Please see the e-mail sent to Cheri Summers with a cc to Dr. Ramona Bishop along with an e-mail from Mr. McKelvy, Principal at Cooper Elementary. It needs to be noted on the outset that when this became an issue (and VEA does not believe it is an issue – see information from CDE below), at no time did anyone from the District try to contact VEA to try to work on a resolution. Ed Code language allows districts to reduce the school year. VEA will pursue another Unfair Labor Practice charge as well as having every member impacted by this action from the District file grievances.

Further, in another outright violation of the VEA/VCUSD Bargaining Agreement, school sites are being told to modify their bell schedules for the 2012-13 school year so that all levels of schools have aligned bell schedules. The VEA/VCUSD Bargaining Agreement under 5.11 specifically states that any changes to the student or teacher day needs to use site based decision making. There are specific timelines in place that have already passed. When members have pointed this out to site administrators, they have been told the decision is coming from the District Office. The attitude seems to be that the contract doesn’t matter and the District can do whatever it pleases.

It seems astounding to me with less than two weeks remaining in the school year and after teachers already took another paycut with the paycut day on May 18th that the District would choose this insensitive course of action. Let’s just put more salt into the wound by increasing the duty day without any rational explanation being offered by anyone.

Interest based bargaining is built on trust. It would appear that the District has forgotten that piece of this process.

I will be at the District Office tomorrow morning at 8:30 and hope to be back in my office at noon if anyone would be willing to discuss this. I’ve offered to discuss this with both Cheri Summers and Dr. Bishop on Friday (see e-mail below) and have yet to have any response to the e-mails sent. I’ve been met with nothing but silence.

Language from the California Department of Education on “furlough” days:

How did furlough days impact the number of required instructional minutes required by the state? Weren’t temporary salary reductions a more viable solution?

Given the severity of the state fiscal crisis and its impact on school budgets, legislation allowed for a reduction in instructional minutes equal to the reduction in the number of school days.

Up until July 2009, school districts were required under the California Education Code to provide 180 days or more or instructional time per calendar year. In 2009, section 46201.2 was added stating that until the 2012-13 school year, districts “may reduce the equivalent of up to five days or instruction or the equivalent number of instructional minutes” without a penalty from the California Department of Education. This means that the state will pay school districts for 180 days worth of average daily attendance (ADA-approximately $35 per unit per student) even if the district only has175 school days. This gives the district some needed funds to make up for the budget cuts the state made to education.

E-mail sent to Principals at Cooper, Mare Island, Vallejo Charter School, and Wardlaw on Monday, May 28, 2012:

Principals,

Please see the e-mail below that I sent to Cheri Summers this past Friday. Since you are increasing minutes to the duty day without it being bargained, VEA will demand extra service agreements for all members whose duty day has been increased. It is unfortunate that the District has chosen this route, instead of trying to come to the table to discuss this with VEA.

E-mail sent to Chief Academic Officer Cheri Summers and Superintendent Dr. Bishop on Friday, May 25, 2012:

“Cheri,

VEA is issuing an immediate CEASE and DESIST on the proposed increase in the duty day for our unit members at the following school sites: Cooper, Wardlaw, Mare Island, Vallejo Charter and any other school sites not specifically named in the letter sent on May 24, 2012.

It is unfortunate that VEA is having to take this position when the more appropriate response from the District could have been giving VEA a call to figure out how to meet the possible issue with not meeting instructional minutes. Not having these types of necessary conversations with VEA and other Bargaining Units is what contributes to the lack of trust that exists between our members and District Administration.

VEA expects a rationale behind this decision and is willing to meet with the District as soon as possible. However, any increase to our members duty day is a significant violation of the VEA/VCUSD Bargaining Agreement and will be met with the appropriate legal action. This legal action will include an immediate filing of an unfair labor practice charge being filed against the District if the District does not immediately stop with this course of action.

Feel free to give me a call so that we may arrange a time to discuss this issue.”

E-mail sent by Principal Mr. McKelvy:

Good Evening Cooper Families,

Due to the furlough day that was recently held, many schools will have to adjust their school day to meet the minimum number of minutes as required by California Education Code. As of May 29, Cooper well be extending the day for students by 7 minutes. This means that the dismissal time will be at 2:07 on Monday and Tuesday and on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at 3:37 . There will be no changes in the kindergarten departure time on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday – they will still be dismissed at 1:35. We apologize for this inconvenience, but our goal is to have no audit findings that could further negatively effect district finances. Thank you in advance for your understanding.

Sincerely,
Lucius McKelvy