Bargaining Update – February 27, 2014

February 2014

  • The VEA Bargaining Team met with the District on Thursday, February 27, 2014.
  • We continued to bargain on the following articles: WAGES, HOURS, SAFETY, CLASS SIZE, EVALUATIONS, Clean-up Language, Outstanding MOUs, and MEMBERS’ RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS.
  • We received a disappointing response to our wage proposal from the district.
  • We have let the district know that we will only accept an increase in wages that honors your hard work and acknowledges your sacrifices.
  • We will continue to keep our members up-dated. However, in order to comply with the tenants of bargaining, we cannot be specific with information.
  • We have scheduled additional dates in order to move the process forward more quickly.
  • Our goal is to present a proposed contract for ratification by the beginning of May.
  • At this point it is critical that members get involved!
  • VEA’s Action Team will be putting together a plan… please look for it at Rep Council.

 

For immediate bargaining updates, please send your personal email to your bargaining contact below:  

Janny Latnojannylatno@sbcglobal.net : Loma Vista, Highland, Wardlaw, and Solano Middle

Marneé McKenzie– eenram@aol.com : Cave, Cooper, Steffan, Pennycook  and Hogan Middle.

Carol Bishopcarolouise@comcast.net :  Jesse Bethel, Vallejo High, Franklin Middle and Hogan Middle

Leanne Dudenleanne.duden@gmail.com : Mare Island, Patterson, Federal Terrace, and Vallejo Charter

Diane Klingeklinge149@aol.com :  Glen Cove, Peoples, Beverly Hills, and Vallejo Charter

Kathy Hellfeierkhellfeier50@comcast.net :  Widenmann, Dan Mini, and Lincoln

Election Results

Congratulations to Marneé McKenzie (Vice President) and Katie Vevoda (CTA State Council Representative).

Good News for Vallejo Schools!

Governor’s Budget Would Give Schools $10B in Additional Funding

Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday unveiled his $106.8 billion general fund budget proposal for the 2014-2015 year, saying it is “very good news.” [Read the governor’s news release   and full budget summary.]

The governor told reporters that the budget would provide an additional “$10 billion for the schools of California after years of drought, cuts, and pink slips for teachers.”

CTA President Dean E. Vogel praised the governor for the new spending plan, saying: “The governor’s proposed budget will help our public schools and colleges continue to heal after years of devastating cuts.”

The governor said his administration is convening meetings of stakeholders to address the issue of maintaining the financial stability of the California State Teachers’ Retirement System. Read more about CalSTRS’s unfunded liability.

The release of the budget proposal is the first step in a long process that ends in the adoption and signing of a state spending plan before the July 1 start of the 2014-15 budget year.

California Falls to 50th in School Funding in Education Week Survey

The newest  Education Week survey of education funding finds that California has hit 50th among the states in per-pupil funding, a key measure of financial commitment to public schools. According to the report, California fell from 49th to 50th in per-student funding in the 2010-11 school year. According to the report, California spends $3,500 less per student than the national average and $11,000 less per child than the top-ranked state of Wyoming.

CTA Supports Proposed Regulations for Local Control Funding Formula: Educators to Testify Next Week

CTA members will be testifying on Thurs., Jan. 16, in Sacramento before the State Board of Education about the proposed regulations for implementing the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF). The LCFF is boosting appropriations for all schools, with additional allocations to schools with large segments of English learners, children from low-income families, and foster children.

CTA has worked hard to encourage the SBE to adopt regulations that will provide schools, parents, and educators with the flexibility needed to implement the program effectively. These quick points explain how the proposed regulations improve education, help students who need it most, involve parents and the community, strike the right balance between accountability and flexibility, and support continuous transparency.

Read CTA’s letter urging the SBE’s support.

Contact the members of the State Board of Education and urge them to adopt the draft regulations that CTA is supporting.  You can reach all of them by calling the State Board of Education at (916) 319-0827.
 
The members of the Board are:
  • Dr. Michael Kirst, State Board President
  • Dr. Ilene Straus, State Board Vice President
  • Ms. Sue Burr
  • Dr. Carl A. Cohn
  • Mr. Bruce Holaday
  • Dr. Aida Molina
  • Ms. Patricia Ann Rucker
  • Dr. Nicolasa Sandoval
  • Ms. Trish Boyd Williams
  • Jesse Zhang, Student Member 
Learn more about them on the State Board of Education webpage.
Help Defeat These Bad Bills
Education Committees to Hear CTA-opposed Bills
The Assembly Committee on Education on Wed., Jan. 15, is expected to hear CTA-opposed AB 815 by Assembly Member Connie Conway (R-Tulare) that would expand the universe of schools that could implement the parent trigger law. Current implementation of the deeply-flawed law has lacked transparency and led to many parents feeling lied to and deceived. There is growing evidence that parents are not actually the ones behind these parent trigger initiatives, but rather wealthy corporate special interests that want to push their agenda to privatize all schools in California.

Meanwhile, the Senate Education Committee is expected to vote on CTA-opposed SB 559 by Senator Bob Huff, Chair of the Republican Caucus. It would move the preliminary certificated layoff notification date from the current date of March 15 to May 15, and the final layoff notice deadline from May 15 to June 15. The changes create more uncertainty for students and would make it much harder for a laid-off teacher to apply for work in other districts in a timely manner.

Contact Your Lawmaker in Support of This One!
Assembly Member Pushes Bill to Protect Student Safety

The Assembly Committee on Education will also vote on AB 135, a CTA-supported bill by Assembly Education Chair Joan Buchanan (D-Alamo), which would require all school districts to have a board policy about their child abuse and reporting responsibilities and to review it annually with their employees. It aims to help strengthen student safety. CTA believes local school districts and state agencies must take all necessary steps to prevent any type of child abuse and neglect.

Click through to CTA’s Legislative Action Page to get in touch with your lawmakers!

Bargaining Brief

We met with the District on Friday 12/20/13 from 9:00-12:00.  Although we discussed wages, there was no agreement. We will meet again on Thursday 1/23/14. As we continue with negotiations, VEA’s Organizing Team will let you know how you can support our bargaining efforts.

Putting Educators’ Professional Rights on Trial Hurts Students, Wastes Taxpayer Dollars and Time

Putting Educators’ Professional Rights on Trial Hurts Students, Wastes Taxpayer Dollars and Time

                Contact:  Frank Wells, CTA, (562) 708-5425 and Fred Glass, CFT, (510) 579-3343    LOS ANGELES
– A Los Angeles Superior Court judge has ruled the deeply misguided Vergara vs. State of California lawsuit may proceed to trial denying the state of California’s, California Teachers Association’s (CTA) and the California Federation of Teachers’ (CFT) motion for summary judgment against it.  CTA and CFT remain firmly committed to protecting learning and teaching environments, despite today’s ruling which will put on trial the professional rights of teachers. The judge said the decision to deny the request to dismiss the case in no way indicates the trial’s outcome.“While today’s ruling against the summary judgment is not surprising, it’s disappointing as putting professional rights of teachers on trial hurts students,” said CTA President Dean E. Vogel.  “This most recent shenanigan by corporate special interests and billionaires to push their education agenda on California public schools is resulting in a waste of taxpayer dollars and time – time that should be spent focusing on providing a quality education to all students as the economy improves.  CTA will continue to fight to ensure we have qualified and experienced teachers in the classrooms whose rights are respected as set forth by law, and not subject to arbitrary and capricious behavior or favoritism.”

The suit challenges five Education Code statutes claiming they violate the Equal Protection clause of the California state Constitution.  If there are legitimate problems with education laws, they should be addressed through the legislative process where parents, educators and all community members can be heard.

“It is deceptive and dishonest to pretend that teacher due process rights are unfair to students,” said CFT President Josh Pechthalt, parent of a ninth grade student in the LAUSD.  “Students need a stable, experienced teaching workforce.  They won’t have one if this lawsuit succeeds in gutting basic teacher rights.  The problem with layoffs, for instance, is not the procedures devised to ensure transparent decisions about who is to be laid off and how.  What is unfair to students about layoffs is that they happen in the first place.  The way to provide a good teacher in every classroom is to provide sufficient funding.  Instead, the organizations behind this lawsuit seek to scapegoat teachers for underfunding, lack of resources and profound poverty in a growing number of communities.  Teachers welcome authentic efforts to improve the teaching profession but this lawsuit is about dividing parents, teachers and students, not solving problems.”

The backers of this lawsuit, led by a Silicon Valley millionaire, include a “who’s who” of the billionaire boys club and their front groups.  Their goals have nothing to do with protecting students, but are really about undermining public schools and weakening employee unions.

Vallejo hands out student supplies

Vallejo hands out student supplies

                        by Sherry Posnick-Goodwin

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Many families can no longer afford to buy school supplies for their children in Vallejo, a community hard-hit by the economic downturn. So for the last three years, members of the Vallejo Education Association have stepped up to the plate and donated school supplies for district students.

“We decided to do this because more kids were coming to school without pencil and paper, and we heard so many sad stories of struggling families,” says Ron West, a fourth-grade teacher at Steffan Manor Elementary School who coordinates community outreach for the chapter. “We asked ourselves realistically, ‘What could we do to help?’ We came together as a chapter and our 800 members agreed to spend $15,000 of dues money so students could start the year off on the right foot.”

The “Hand to Hand” giveaway was suggested by VEA member Bill Innes as a means of helping students, giving back to the Vallejo community and creating goodwill with parents. Approximately 2,000 students received goody bags this year.

As in previous years, donations were handed out in September by VEA members at several community locations. Students and their families stood in long lines to gratefully receive goody bags stuffed with pens, pencils, notebooks, coloring pencils, crayons, erasers, bookmarks and, for older students, calculators. The Vallejo Friends of the Library got involved and donated books that were put on tables for students to choose from.

“It’s definitely helpful,” said Rochelle Williams, who brought 12-year-old Marquez Thomas to a giveaway event at a local library.  “A lot of parents are in very hard times, and the way things are, we can’t afford to buy school supplies. Everybody is struggling. When something is free and educational, you can’t beat that.”

Davis Jones, who has a disability and is raising two grandchildren who attend middle school, said that he didn’t think he would be able to provide supplies out of his own pocket, and appreciated that teachers were “giving back” to the community.

Ernestine Myers brought her granddaughter Helen Collins. “She’s been excited all day,” said Myers. “You don’t see nice things like this happen much anymore. This is so nice of the teachers and so positive.”

“As educators, we understand that investing in our students and schools means investing in our community’s future,” says VEA President Cristal Watts. “Families are struggling, and it feels good to help provide children with the school supplies they need and deserve.”

NEA Foundation offers grants for innovative ideas to better the profession

NEA Foundation offers grants for innovative ideas to better the profession

Nationwide, the NEA Foundation announced that it is awarding 42 grants totaling $159,000 to support educators’ efforts to improve teaching and learning. The NEA Foundation awards two levels of funding, $2,000 or $5,000, for two primary categories of grants to public education professionals: Student Achievement Grants for initiatives to improve academic achievement, and Learning and Leadership Grants for high-quality professional development activities.

A team of 20 educators, many of whom are former grantees, carefully reviewed all applications and evaluated each one against a set of criteria. Funded grants were selected for the quality of the proposed ideas and their potential for enhancing student achievement. The latest grants were awarded to educators in 25 different states.

The NEA Foundation has invested more than $7.1 million in grants to support the work of almost 4,500 educators from every state in the country to help students succeed. Each year, the Foundation awards approximately 150 Student Achievement and Learning & Leadership Grants.

To learn about these educators’ projects, visit NEA Foundation’s Grantee Archive, where you can search for grantees and projects by most recent, grade level, subject, state, or keyword. Visit the NEA Foundation’s Featured Grantees page to watch videos and read short profiles about NEA Foundation grantees and their successful grant work.

The NEA Foundation awards its grants to educators three times a year. The next grant deadline is February 1, 2014. Application forms and a video with step-by-step instructions on how to apply can be found in the Grants to Educators section of the NEA Foundation website.

About the NEA Foundation The NEA Foundation is a public charity supported by contributions from educators’ dues, corporate sponsors, and others who support public education initiatives. The NEA Foundation partners with education unions, districts, and communities to create powerful, sustainable improvements in teaching and learning. Visit www.neafoundation.org for more information.

Bargaining Brief – December 2013

  • December 12, 2013
  • The district presented an offer based on the 1st interim budget report.
  • VEA made a counter-proposal.  We will meet again on Friday, December 20, 2013.
  • December 8, 2013
  • The VEA Bargaining Team met with the District on Thursday, November 21st.
  • The District presented comparative data on salaries and health benefits.
  • VEA presented a wage proposal.
  • Dr. Bishop was present for these discussions.
  • Our upcoming bargaining sessions are scheduled for December 12th and 20th.
  • We are committed to bargaining the best possible wage increase.

Special Election

There will be a Special Election for VEA Vice Preseident and CTA State Council Representative. Voting will take place from Wednesday, December 11 through Thursday, December 19th at each school site.
[notice]There will be a Special Election for VEA Vice Preseident and CTA State Council Representative.  Voting will take place from Wednesday, December 11 through Thursday, December 19th at each school site.[/notice]

VEA’s Toys for Tots Drive

VEA’s Toys for Tots drive was a huge success!  Many thanks to all those who participated. The toys were delivered into the welcoming hands of our Armed Forces at Rep Council on December 5th.  Donations will continue to be accepted at many drop-off points including Toys ‘R’ Us in Vallejo and Solano Mall.  More information can be found at www.toysfortots.org