Will SFUSD Get the Message?
At the General Membership meeting last night, 97% of the 1880 UESF members who participated voted to authorize a second strike vote. The overwhelming vote is a strong rebuke to the San Francisco Unified School District, which is attempting to take advantage of the budget crisis by extracting tens of millions of dollars from our pockets, and permanently eliminating a fair chunk of our contract.
Last night we sent a message loud and clear to the San Francisco Unified School District. It is time for the district to stop seeking unilateral cuts and sweeping program changes, and to start treating us with respect and to recognize what we have done to keep this district afloat.
But will they get the message?
Two years ago, the SFUSD came to us and asked for $39 million in sacrifices. Although the district started that school year with $50 million in reserves, we were persuaded to take a temporary cut in pay and training to help keep the district afloat. Now, two years later, the district reserves have increased to $56 million and the SFUSD again is seeking millions in cuts.
It isn’t just the staggering amount that led to our record first strike vote, but the fact that the cuts the district seeks will forever change our contract.
See for yourself. Notice how many times you see the word ‘permanent’ in a sample of what the district is demanding:
- 9 furlough days over each of the next two years (for a total of 18 non-school days)
- Elimination of 3 Professional Development Days over each of the next 2 years.
- Permanent increase of K-3 class sizes to 25 (a 25% increase for Kindergarten)
- Permanent increase in Special Education class sizes
- Permanent elimination of teacher rights in Special Education
- Permanent elimination of 27 school days from the Early Education school calendar (up to a $5,570 yearly cut for teachers, and a $3,044 yearly cut for paras)
- Permanent elimination of Department Head positions
- Permanent elimination of Advanced placement prep periods
- Permanent eliminations of teacher sabbaticals
- Permanent salary reduction for day-to-day substitutes of up to $4,000 per year
- * Permanent elimination of CORE substitutes
Our successful vote last night was first in a two-step process to call a strike. A second vote would be required before we walk a picket line. But it is our sincere hope it will never come to that.
We are committed to a negotiated settlement, and we will continue to bargain in good faith. But as the overwhelmingly results of the strike vote demonstrate, we are willing to do what it takes to protect our classrooms and our profession. It is up to the SFUSD to determine how we proceed.