UESF Team Pushes SFUSD for Compensation Proposal and
Puts Forward Major Safe and Supportive Schools Training Proposal
Bargaining Update 4 – March 28, 2017
The UESF Bargaining Team met with representatives from the SFUSD at the bargaining table last Tuesday, March 21st. A day before dozens of UESF members offered incredible testimony at City Hall on the impact the affordability crisis is having on educators in every corner of the City, the UESF team pushed the district representatives to put forward a compensation package that will meet the crisis head on.
Both UESF President Lita Blanc and Executive Vice-President Susan Solomon stressed to the district that their initial wage offer should recognize not only the crisis at hand, but should demonstrate respect and commitment to the thousands of educators who work for the SFUSD. The UESF leadership also refused to accept the false dichotomy of cutting services to students as a necessary “trade-off” for increased wages, instead stressing that if any cuts are necessary, they should come as far away from teaching and learning as possible. The UESF team also reminded the district that they had yet to offer a promised presentation on the SFUSD’s restricted budget, the portion of the budget that is earmarked for specific purposes.
In 2014, the SFUSD Board of Education passed the Safe and Supportive Schools resolution, a landmark effort to address issues of racial inequality in the SFUSD. UESF was an early supporter of the resolution, and has worked to ensure its successful implementation. As part of that commitment, the UESF team put forward a major proposal on Tuesday on professional development to support Safe and Supportive Schools. The proposal calls for two of the first three teacher training days at the beginning of the school year to focus on (1) school-wide, class-wide, and individual student behavior plans, (2) restorative practices, and (3) special education inclusive practices. The trainings would be available to all certificated members, including substitute teachers.
The team also proposed that the design and facilitation of these training sessions first be offered to qualified and willing UESF members at the sites or from other district sites, instead of outside consultants.
The proposal is powerful because it supports three critical areas identified by UESF members: Student behavior plans, special education inclusive practices, and restorative practices. Parents and the larger education community also understand the importance of PD in these areas as a critical way for educators to support the most at need students. The proposal would place UESF members, the actual educators implementing the Safe and Supportive Schools Resolution, in charge of developing and implementing the trainings, another key priority identified by members. Another major benefit of the proposal is that it is virtually cost-neutral for SFUSD.
At the table on Tuesday, the UESF team also put forward two new proposals for paraprofessionals. With TK-12 schools set to close for the entire Thanksgiving week in the coming school year, many paras will be pushed to the financial limit during the November/December holiday season, when there are far fewer days of work. In order to make sure paras, who often live paycheck-to-paycheck, are able to get by that week, the UESF team proposed an additional two floating holidays for all paraprofessionals.
In order to ensure that paraprofessionals have a successful beginning to their careers in the SFUSD, the UESF team also proposed that all newly hired para-educators receive on-site in-service training within five days of their first day on the job. The district was open to the idea, but countered that the training should take place within the first twenty days.
The UESF team reiterated that paraprofessionals who serve in the absence of a teacher should receive additional pay for that work. District negotiators have counter-proposed that no paraprofessional should be requested to serve in the place of an absent teacher, even in an emergency.
Finally, the UESF team put forward a proposal increasing district support for tuition for mandated Special Education authorizations to $2,000, up from $1,500.
The next bargaining session is set for Tuesday, April 4th. UESF has also called for a major rally at the Board of Education meeting on April 11th. Save the date and look for more information soon!
Bargaining Update 3: Budget Discussions are An Issue of Priorities
March 9, 2017
The SFUSD has made it clear that in order to provide essential salary increases for teachers, para-educators, and other front-line educators, that certain tradeoffs will be necessary in the broader budget. Unfortunately, the tradeoffs they have publicly shared with parents and the broader community typically involve cuts to programs and staff that directly impact student learning and success.
From UEF’s perspective, the issue is one of priorities. We believe that any cuts the district makes should come as far away from critical teaching and learning as possible. Frankly, the first place to look is directly at 555 Franklin. For example, financial documents filed by the SFUSD show that the Central Office budget, which is just a portion of 555 Franklin, has grown from $14.7 million in the 2011-2012 school year to $19.3 million this year – a 32% increase! Surely there is space to not only streamline, but to re-align a good portion of that funding.
As budget discussions are underway at the school sites and throughout the district, it is imperative that we hold the district accountable to the core mission of supporting our students and the educators who directly serve them. It’s that simple.
UESF Seeks Parity for Para-Educators for Leaves
At the bargaining table on Tuesday, after a morning work session by both sides, the UESF Bargaining Team met for two hours with district representatives. Most of that time was devoted to UESF counter-proposals on leaves for both certificated and classified members. A key goal of the UESF team is to achieve gains for para-educators that are already in the certificated contract. The improvements we proposed included setting a guaranteed minimum daily pay for those using extended sick leave days for pregnancy leave and allowing two parents to take family leave, if both are SFUSD employees.
During the discussions, the district also proposed eliminating the language in the contract that allows for para-educators to provide emergency coverage for absent teachers in response to our previous proposal to compensate para-educators who are being asked to do so. Paras covering for teachers in the classroom is such a frequent practice at so many schools in the SFUSD that we can only wonder what their proposal would mean practically in the classroom. What other options do schools have in an emergency situation?
In our effort to get all of the information we need about the district’s finances, the UESF team continues to demand more transparency from the SFUSD in their budget reports, including greater details on the district’s restricted budget, which covers programs such as
UESF members at the UESF LCAP and organizing meeting Wednesday night wear red in support of International Women’s Day. Ready to get organized at your school site? Contact UESF Organizing Director Sarah Wilson at swilson [at] uesf [dot] org.
In our effort to get all of the information we need about the district’s finances, the UESF team continues to demand more transparency from the SFUSD in their budget reports, including greater details on the district’s restricted budget, which covers programs such as Special Education and Early Education.
During talks Tuesday, the UESF team also proposed to maintain the status quo on sabbaticals in response to the district’s proposal to temporarily suspend the program.
The next bargaining session will take place on March 21st.
Para Working Conditions, Maternity Leave, and Sabbaticals Discussed at the Table
March 1, 2017
At our second bargaining session on February 28, 2017, UESF made two proposals to address working conditions for para-educators. First, in order to ensure that para-educators get the support they need at the beginning of their careers, we proposed that in-service training be provided for newly hired paras within five days of hire. Second, in recognition of the all-too-common reality that para-educators are called upon to fill in for absent teachers, we also proposed additional compensation for any who are asked to do so.
In order to align our contracts with new California Education Code rules providing for improved maternity and paternity leaves, which went into effect on January 1, 2017, the District proposed substantial changes to contract language for both certificated and classified members. The Bargaining Team is carefully reviewing all of these proposed changes to make sure we are getting maximum benefit for our members from the new legislation. We are also continuing to seek parity between the classified and the certificated contracts, as we have for many years.
The UESF Bargaining Team also called on District negotiators to clarify the cost of a 1% raise for our members. Last week, Interim Superintendent Leigh incorrectly stated in a memo that a 1% across the board increase for UESF members would cost the SFUSD almost $5 million. After being called out on the mistake, the District stated that the accurate figure for a 1% raise for UESF members is $4.2 million, and that the higher sum included administrative salaries. But even this seems high, as the initial figure we received from the SFUSD for a 1% raise for all UESF members was $3.7 million. We are seeking verification from the district what the accurate number truly is, along with all supporting documentation.
At the table, the district also proposed eliminating all sabbaticals for the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 school years, seeming to hedge on their commitment to reinstating them after that. The reason given for the proposal was the teacher shortage, and no explanation was given as to what they would do with the cost savings.
The Bargaining Team is continuing to analyze the district budget in advance of talks on compensation. The team is also developing proposals around special education, professional development, and safe and supportive schools. The next round of negotiations will take place on March 6, 2017.
March 8th LCAP Discussion & Organizing Meeting
All UESF members are welcome at our UBC training on Wednesday, March 8th in the auditorium of Rosa Parks Elementary School (1501 O’Farrell St.).
From 4:00-5:00 p.m., we will take part in a conversation with district representatives from the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) Task Force. Members of the task force will share information about the budget & LCAP development process, provide context for SFUSD’s budget picture for the next few years, and hear from UESF members about our priorities.
From 5:00-6:00 p.m., we will hold a contract campaign organizing meeting, when we will hear an update from members of the UESF Bargaining Team, discuss site-based organizing strategies, and discuss parent and community outreach.
Please RSVP online.
Report on Opening Day of Negotiations
February 15, 2017
The first session of formal contract negotiations between UESF and SFUSD took place yesterday. We started with introductions of UESF’s and SFUSD’s bargaining team members to each other, followed by UESF communicating our belief that SFUSD must identify funds for a substantial across the board raise for all our members.
Both sides reviewed and agreed to ground rules for our meetings, which included our proposal that Executive Board members who are not on the Bargaining Team will be able to attend negotiating sessions as observers. The District presented its budget report for its Unrestricted General Funds, including its three-year projections for the 2017-18, 2018-19, and 2019-20 school years. At UESF’s request, SFUSD also presented the QTEA budget and agreed to provide UESF with the figures for its Restricted Funds, those which are earmarked for specific purposes, such as Special Education and Early Education. SFUSD declined our request for a presentation on the budget of SPARK, the District’s philanthropic arm which channels corporate and other donations to targeted programs within the District.
Upon UESF’s request, the District also provided us with an overview of its Local Control Accountability Plan, which accounts for the allocation of the funds that SFUSD receives from the state through the Local Control Funding Formula, tax revenue generated by Proposition 30, to be followed next year by its extension, Proposition 55.
The District’s most recent budget projections will inform the work of the UESF bargaining team, which will be meeting next week, as it has several times already, to continue our work of crafting and further developing our initial proposals. Beginning on February 28th, we are scheduled to meet with the District every Tuesday for the remainder of the school year.
Click here for a complete list of the members of the UESF Bargaining Team, and for links and resources for our contract campaign, check out the resource portion of this web page.
Special thanks to Cassondra Curiel from Visitacion Valley Middle School and Dante Popalisky from Washington High School who spoke up at last night’s Board of Education meeting, sharing their stories of how the affordability crisis is undermining their ability to deliver a quality public education to our students. To watch a video of their testimony, click here and then click on item ‘J. Public Comment on General Matters.’ If you would like to share your story with the media or at an upcoming Board of Ed meeting, please send an email to UESF Communications Director Matthew Hardy at mhardy [at] uesf [dot] org.
In recognition of our contract talks opening with the SFUSD on Valentine’s Day, we asked educators throughout San Francisco what love means to them. Thanks to all who responded! Please check out and share this Facebook photo album for a sample of the dozens of UESF members who submitted their photos!In recognition of our contract talks opening with the SFUSD on Valentine’s Day, we asked educators throughout San Francisco what love means to them. Thanks to all who responded! Please check out and share this Facebook photo album for a sample of the dozens of UESF members who submitted their photos!
What Love Means to UESF Members
In recognition of our contract talks opening with the SFUSD on Valentine’s Day, we asked educators throughout San Francisco what love means to them. Thanks to all who responded! Please check out and share this Facebook photo album for a sample of the dozens of UESF members who submitted their photos!
Contract Campaign for Stable, Safe, & Supportive Schools Begins February 14th
Schools encouraged to hold t-shirt days on Tuesday and take photos with “Love Means” cards to kick off negotiations
February 10, 2017
On Tuesday, February 14th the UESF bargaining team will sit down with representatives from the SFUSD to begin contract negotiations. The talks begin as the SFUSD is projecting the need to fill 664 certificated positions next school year, one out of every seven teachers who work in the district. And the turnover crisis for paraprofessionals is perhaps even worse, with many positions still unfilled months into this school year.
The affordability crisis continues to destabilize our schools, pushing more and more educators out of the City every year. The impact is clear to everyone: Our schools are being hit hard and the ability to deliver the education every student deserves is being threatened. Stable schools become even more important in light of the developing national political situation. Ensuring that our school communities have the stability and strength to take care of our students and their families requires educators who live in the communities we serve.
We are ready to stand up for our students, but we need the district’s help in order to do so.
To start the campaign, we ask that all school communities begin holding weekly t-shirt days, starting with next Tuesday, February 14th. If you need more t-shirts, please fill out and return this order form with payment to the UESF office and we will bring them to you as soon as we can.
Let the SFUSD Know What Love Means to You as We Start Our Contract Campaign
As the first day of negotiations begins on Valentine’s Day, we ask UESF members to take a photo with our first action card of the campaign, “Love Means“. Send photos to mhardy [at] uesf [dot] org and they will be posted online. A handful of rank-and-file educators will also speak out at the Board of Education meeting on Tuesday night, making sure the district leadership understands the human cost to the deepening affordability crisis.
Staff at Drew Elementary lead the way on our “Love Means” message to the SFUSD!