DISTRICT AND NTA MOVE FORWARD IN NEGOTIATIONS FOR 2019-2020
Parties Meet in Back-to Back Sessions #2 and #3
Exchange Proposals on 10+ Articles/Appendices; Sign First Tentative Agreement
NTA Makes First Compensation Proposal: 10% Over Three Years
This is Newark Unified School District’s (NUSD) third Negotiations Update for 2019-2020 contract negotiations between the District and the Newark Teachers Association (NTA). The District will distribute the Negotiations Update after meetings with NTA to inform our community on the progress of negotiations.
Bargaining teams for NUSD and NTA held their second and third negotiations sessions for the 2019-2020 school year on June 5 and 6, 2019. Both bargaining teams were well-prepared, productive and efficient in presenting and discussing more than 10 contract articles and appendices. The teams also signed their first tentative agreement on Evaluation. Highlights of the meetings, by subject area, are as follows:
COMPENSATION – NTA PROPOSES 10% OVER THREE YEARS: As requested by the District, NTA provided its initial compensation proposal prior to the summer break. The Association proposes:
- 10% increase in salary over three years: 3% raises for each of the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school years and a 4% increase for 2021-2022.
- Increase advanced degree stipends (M.A., M.S., M.Ed., M.B.A, NBCT) from $1000 to $1200 and add a new stipend for Board Certification in Behavior Analysis.
- Establish Science Camp Stipend of $250 per overnight.
- Pay newly hired unit members on the last workday in August (instead of September).
- Move SDC teachers, Resource Specialists, and the Special Education Preschool Lead Teacher to higher paid salary schedules.
- Pay in-house sub rate ($40) by the hour instead of per period. Pay per diem if in-house subbing is caused by “school business” (e.g. District inservices and trainings).
CLASS SIZE – NTA PROPOSES LOWER NUMBERS; REMOVAL OF BOARD AUTHORITY TO SET TK-3 CLASS SIZE; AND CAP ON SPECIAL EDUCATION STUDENTS IN REGULAR CLASSROOMS: NTA proposals include the following:
- Eliminate the current “class size limit (CSL)” and “class size maximum (CSM)” system and replace it with “normal class size” maximums.
- “Overage pay” of $150/month per student over the “normal” maximum ($60/period/student in secondary grades) after the ninth (currently seventeenth) instructional day in elementary, and eighth (currently sixteenth) instructional day in secondary grades.
- TK-3 class size maximum of 20 (currently 24 CSL/28 CSM).
- Remove Board of Trustees’ current authority to increase the TK-3 CSL/CSM to 29/31 only at the beginning of each school year.
- TK-3 P.E. and science specialist class size maximum of 20 (currently 29).
- Grades 4-6 class size maximum of 28 (currently 31).
- Establish new class size maximum of 26 for grade 4-6 combination classes.
- Elementary P.E. and science specialist class size maximum of 28 (currently 34).
- Secondary (grades 7-12) class size maximum of 31 (currently 155 daily contacts).
Special Education Class Size Proposals – All New:
- NTA proposes: “The number of students with IEPs and/or 504 plans shall not exceed 10% of the total class size in general education classes.”
- School Psychologists: 500:1 general/special education student ratio/psychologists.
- Mild/Moderate SDC: TK-6: 12; 6-12: 12.
- Autism Specific and Moderate Severe SDC: TK-6: 8; 6-12: 10.
- If “disabling conditions” of students “creates an excessive burden” on a teacher, there will be a consultation process to “resolve the issue” by providing “additional training” or “additional resources” to the teacher (e.g. a classified aide or equipment). If the teacher does not agree with the proposed resolution, s/he could file a grievance all the way to arbitration to determine how to “resolve the issue.”
REASSIGNMENT/TRANSFER – NTA PROPOSES NEEDS OF UNIT MEMBERS AND SENIORITY SHOULD BE PRIORITIES IN FILLING VACANCIES AND REMOVING PRINCIPAL AUTHORITY ON REASSIGNMENT DECISIONS. NTA proposals include:
- “Professions needs of unit member(s)” and “length of service with the District” would be the primary criteria for filling vacancies.
- Only if unit members are equally qualified under these two criteria can the “needs for the efficient operations of the District,” including the needs of students, be considered.
- For reassignments, a staff determination that the needs of the site can be met by a particular selection shall be final.
- This would eliminate current authority of the principal to determine that the staff’s selection does not meet articulated site needs.
RECOGNITION: The parties have exchanged several proposals and are narrowing differences over language on defining the unit and the consultation process for the creation of new unit classifications.
ASSOCIATION RIGHTS: The parties have agreed to most of the language implementing changes in state and federal law, providing Board meeting agendas/materials to NTA, and Association access to new employee orientation. Work continues on consultation processes and Association President leave of absence.
WORK YEAR: The parties have agreed to language specifying how workdays are established for unit members with longer than standard work years (e.g., counselors, speech therapists, psychologists, nurses). Differences remain over NTA proposals to make the new teacher orientation day mandatory/paid at per diem, and elimination of the principal’s authority to call a one hour site meeting on the first teacher work day.
District: Citing a 30% teacher absenteeism rate on professional development and teacher workdays, the District proposes language to emphasize attendance on these days are just as mandatory as on student instructional days. The same applies to Back to School Night, Open House and Report Card Night. There is no “unilateral absenteeism” permitted for teachers to decide not to attend by taking personal necessity/business leave. The District also proposes to require part time teachers to attend staff meetings in direct proportion to their part time assignment.
NTA: The Association proposes to eliminate all PLC and collaboration time. Instead, all such time would be “unencumbered teacher preparation time.” The Association maintains that Friday afternoon collaboration activities “are wasteful.” NTA also proposes that all staff meetings (reduced from 20 to 10 hours per year) are voluntary unless an agenda is provided 24 hours in advance; adjunct duties (including travel time) are limited to the lesser of two activities or six hours per year and mileage shall be paid for travel for adjunct duties.
LEAVES: The parties have agreed to District-proposed language updating this Article due to changes in the law in areas such as child bonding leave. The District has proposed prohibitions on the use of personal necessity/business leave on professional development days and teacher workdays for the reasons explained above in “Work Day.”
EVALUATION – FIRST TENTATIVE AGREEMENT: The parties signed their first tentative agreement to address circumstances in which a Peer Coach/Advisor becomes a principal at the site of the unit member s/he assisted in their former role. The parties also agreed to update the Evaluation Handbook to incorporate legal changes, and changed the date to provide the tentative list of permanent employees to be evaluated. The parties signed a Memorandum of Understand (MOU) enabling these changes to be put into effect immediately for the 2019 2020 school year.
NEXT STEPS – NEGOTIATIONS TO RESUME IN THE FALL
- The parties scheduled five more bargaining sessions.
- Negotiations will resume on September 4, 2019.