Your bargaining team is working hard to secure a fair and appropriate contract for the 2018-19 school year. Unfortunately, the district team has a radically different plan for what your job will look like next year. Here are some documents that you should feel free to share with community members if they ask how they can support their teachers: Which way forward? Financial Report
Washington Educator Association- Representative Assembly 2016
Last week, during Spring Break, your treasurer James Stevens and I spent a few days in Spokane representing our local association at WEA Representative Assembly (RA). Think of RA as the “congress” of our statewide association, where priorities are established, rules and topics are voted on, Statewide offices are elected, and the agenda is set for the next year. It was a pleasure and an honor to join nearly 1000 educators in working on behalf of our members, and being inspired by their enthusiasm, passion, and ideas.
You can read a summary of what happened at Rep Assembly here!
Governor Inslee's Budget Proposal (12-21-2015) After the last legislative session, the Washington Supreme Court reminded the Legislature that they were failing their paramount duty to fully fund education. That reminder came in the form of a $100,000/ day fine until the make appropriate progress. This past week, Governor Inslee put forward his plan to make the necessary progress. There is a lot of good in this proposal, which, of course, doesn't go far enough, some highlights include: Raising starting teacher salaries, and adding an additional 1% pay (above the COLA's already improved, to all teachers; Funding k-3 class sizes of 17; Increase funding to open some 6500 spots for state-funded pre-school for low income families; and many others (reports here and here). You will note this does not address class size 4-12 (the goal of the legislature in the past was to reduce these numbers to 25), meaningfully address capital construction costs to build new classrooms that will be necessary with the reduced class size, or fund the appropriate improvements to veteran teachers' salaries.
Levy for Learning! (12-21-2015) On February 9th, 2016 the Ridgefield School District will be holding a levy election. The Levy is to fund basic programs in our schools, including smaller class sizes, teacher recruitment and retention, technology, and operating costs. The levy will replace the last levy, which is expiring.
I would encourage our members to support the levy in any way you can. There will be upcoming opportunities to make phone calls, wave signs, and there will be a fundraising dinner on January 9th. Your association is donating $400 to support the levy election, and an additional $500 is being donated by WEA Riverside, one of our parent organizations.
For more information about the levy, you can watch the video here, or read the information here.
Bargaining Update September 13th Your bargaining team spent 8 hours in negotiations yesterday, and made tremendous progress. We are tantalizingly close to a deal, but at the last moment, the district's negotiators felt like they could not accept our final proposal within the parameters the School Board had set for them.
We Need Your Help: We are asking EVERY TEACHER to show up for a general membership meeting at the high school library at 4:30 PM on Tuesday, September 22nd. We will have a brief informational meeting, Ratify the Evaluation Letter of agreement, and then walk across the quad to attend the meeting of the school board. While just your presence is enough, if you would like to speak in support of REA and your bargaining team during public comment, that would be appreciated.
We are confident that if our membership shows up to a school board meeting en masse, it will give the board the added incentive to agree to our last proposal, and sign a contract with REA.
Your bargaining team is scheduled to meet Saturday, October 3rd with the district to continue negotiations. However, with a big enough show of support, the district may simply call us and agree to our last offer. Please help us make this happen.
Bargaining Update, August 24th: Your bargaining team met with the district today for the final time before school starts. While we may have hoped for a speedy resolution, none was forthcoming. The district and REA negotiating teams continue to make progress, but do not have agreement in some of the big priorities for both sides. Your bargaining team will continue to bargain for you on September 13th, 25, and 27th. These are 2 Sundays and a Friday afternoon.
What does it mean for me? Our current contract "expires" on August 31st. However, all provisions of the contract will continue to be in full force and effect until the new agreement is ratified by the REA membership (you) and the School Board. District and REA negotiators do have an agreement to make any and all financial changes to the contract that are negotiated retroactive to September 1st. This means if you get a TRI increase, for an example, they will back pay your September TRI amount.
What can I do about it? We know it can be hard, but please trust and support your bargaining team. We want to get the contract right. For the time being, that means more than getting it on time. You may also be asked to speak about an issue, or show up for a union event. You can always contact your bargaining member and ask them for information, or give them input.
Thank You I have really been warmed and humbled by the support and thoughtfulness that you have shown. Like teaching, bargaining can be difficult, frustrating work, punctuated by brief moments of stunning appreciation and joy. Our members have been one of the bright spots in this negotiation, and I thank you for being a part of it!
Bargaining Update July 14: First the good. With less than a week's notice, in the middle of the summer, we were able to get 40 people to a bargaining meeting! I was humbled by the turnout, your professionalism, and the number of people who stayed to observe. As rough as this process has been, you all fill me with awe and determination to do what's right for you. I can also say you really impressed President Rob Lutz from Evergreen EA, President Linda Peterson from Battle Ground EA, Lynn Davidson from WEA Riverside, and the District Team. Even Dr. McCann did a double take as he walked by! Another good thing is that all of you were there to witness the district's first substantial move toward a fair bargain. The district made more movement toward our priorities on the 13th, than it had yet (or since). However (the bad); we are still lacking agreement on several key issues, including many of our top priorities, and many of the district's main priorities also. We have additional dates scheduled to try to resolve these issues on August 12th and August 24th, and anticipate needing both days.
There is a possibility that we will not have reached a final agreement by August 31st, which is the last day of the current contract. If that should happen, the current contract with all of its provisions, requirements, and protections continues to operate until a replacement agreement is reached.
Any agreement negotiated between your association and the district will need to be ratified by you, the members. We would love to be able to offer you the full agreement for a vote on the 1st day of school (August 25th), but our top priority is to get a fair deal, not a punctual one. I will continue to update you as negotiations proceed, and, as always, feel free to contact me or your contract team member with any questions.
Bargaining Update July 7: After a difficult day yesterday, we came to the bargaining table with a basic question: Was the district negotiating team ready to speak substantively about Class size, Compensation, or Protections for teacher time. The district team found themselves short of the required standard. We then asked when they would feel ready to do so, and they gave us Monday, July 13th at Noon. Accordingly, we are in recess until then. Please check your home emails for additional information. If you did not receive an email from me today, please email me and let me know!
July 5th: We have a budget (tentative agreement/ framework/ most of the details?) from the state!
The Good: -COLA is restored at 3% over the two years (with the expectation that it will continue to increase by 3% every two years thereafter). -1.8% salary increase for teachers over the 2-year budget: This looks like 3% next year and 1.8% more in 2016-17. -All day, Every Day, Kindergarten funded in 72% of districts for 2015-16, and everywhere 2016-17. -A small increase in State funding for teacher insurance costs (from $768/ month to $780/ month). -Funding toward i-1351 for Kindergarten to 3rd grades, radically reducing class size in these grades. -NO taking away of levy funding, which funds TRI, class size reduction, etc! -NO requirement to use SBAC in evaluation! -NO taking away of bargaining rights for teachers!
The Bad: -That 1.8% raise, that goes away after 2 years. -Grades 4-12 get no class size reduction as required under i-1351. -Teachers on retirement plan 2 would see 1% increase in pension costs. -Health insurance cost increases are likely to wipe out most, all, or more than all of the salary/ insurance increases. -Our district is one of the 28% of districts that will NOT get all day every day kindergarten in 2015-16. We will get that in 2016-17. -The state did NOT fund money to build classrooms to put all the new classes their budget will pay for.
The Implications for bargaining: -The district will be getting much more money to fund things like smaller class sizes in k-3, which means more of our levy dollars can go to reduce class sizes in 4-12. This will help us hold them accountable there. -The district will save money on all day every day Kindergarten, and can use that money to reduce class size elsewhere. -We will need to fight to make sure the (one time) 1.8% salary increase will be extended past the two years the state is funding it.. -The district may be more intransigent regarding TRI increases and contributions to insurance costs, arguing that the state has funded those so they don’t need to. -The district may fight class size reductions 4-12 citing space issues. -Your bargaining team will continue to push for the best deal for our members, including the priorities of better pay, help toward insurance costs, reducing class size district wide, and protecting planning, recess, and preparation time for teachers.
May 22nd: Two key state legislators will be holding town halls in the area this Saturday, the 23rd, specifically to get input about school funding issues. These are Senator Ann Rivers and Representative Brandon Vick. 10:30-11:30 AM at Camas Public Library, meeting room A/B 625 NE 4th Ave, Camas 1:30-2:30 PM, Clark County Fire and Rescue station 26, 21609 NE 72nd Ave, Battle Ground I urge all members who care about class size, COLA, teacher pay, SBAC, Common Core, or other education issues being debated to attend one or both of these meetings! Saturday, June 13th: WEA is considering an education Rally in Olympia on June 13th. Please let me know if you would be interested in attending such an event. Officer Elections on June 17th: We will be electing our officers for the 2015-16 school year at our general membership meeting on June 17th. If you are interested in running for any of the following positions, please email Joe Thayer and let him know. We will also be accepting nominations at the election. REA President: -Running: Joe Thayer REA Vice President: -Running: Stephanie Bloom REA Treasurer: -Running: James Stevens REA Secretary: Running, Erik Nosler RA Representatives to WEA (2 positions): (Update: Will be held in the Winter once specific dates are known) -Running: Joe Thayer and Sharon Floyd End of year events: REA is happy to announce that we are able, through a grant from WEA-Riverside, to fund staff end of year events for our members at each of the 4 schools. Whoever is planning and or hosting these events should talk to your building fund representatives to ask how much is allocated for your building. We would like 15 minutes at each event to provide members with a bargaining event. May 13th: Given the tight time frame, the ongoing bargaining process, and our commitment to our students, REA will not be joining the May 13th walkouts. We are in support of the demands of our fellow districts, including that the legislature make real effort towards funding professional compensation for teachers, the voter approve class size reductions, and their paramount duty to provide an ample education to all of Washington State's children. However, we feel that this walkout would hurt out community members and our students, without changing the political calculus in Olympia. Rather than walking out, we are encouraging our members to write, call, or email their state senators and representatives, or join in rallies outside the school day.
Bargaining Update: After meeting twice with the district representatives, your bargaining team has become convinced that this year will provide for a very challenging set of negotiations. In addition to a complex legislative session which will dramatically impact many aspects of our contract, the district is proposing significant takeaways that are insulting and unacceptable. Your bargaining team representative will be communicating details with you as well. Furthermore, the district is unable or unwilling to schedule dates to continue bargaining until July 6th. Please support your bargaining team member in the challenging and important work they will be doing on your behalf this Summer. Ask how you can get involved, and help them negotiate the contract you deserve!
Bylaw Changes: As approved by our executive board and a vote of our members, we have amended our bylaws regarding attendance at WEA Rep. Assembly. Starting this year, attendance at RA is optional according to the decision of the REA executive board. We continue to see RA as an important event, and plan on sending our full allotment of representatives as often as possible.
Create your own unique website with customizable templates.