Tag Archives: PAE2015

Bargaining Update July 28

From: Lacey Unseth [WA] [mailto:LUnseth@WashingtonEA.org]
Sent: Tuesday, July 28, 2015 12:16 PM
Subject: Bargaining Update July 28

What’s at stake?

Pasco’s teachers are in the midst of contentious contract negotiations that, depending on events, could potentially interrupt back-to-school plans this September. Here’s a look at what’s at stake:

Great teachers are leaving and not enough new teachers find our district an attractive place to work.

· Veteran educators and newcomers are leaving Pasco in droves. The reasons? Low pay, a lack of critical supplies and materials, a culture of distrust by administrators toward staff, and poor leadership or administrative blunders that force teachers too often work nights and weekends just to keep schools running. Combine that with constant flavor-of-the-month directives from out-of-touch administrators, and Pasco’s teachers are saying something must change.

Our administration has lost sight of what’s important: supporting teachers and helping students learn.

· The budget facts are clear: Educators are told to try to teach without enough basic supplies: white board markers, text books, curriculum, and computers, in part because district leaders tell the community they will spend millions of dollars more on teaching and teaching support that they actually do. Without the proper tools, we’re less successful as teachers, and our students suffer as a result.

· Too much testing is robbing us of our time to teach. Parents recognize that testing mania is popular among politicians and bureaucrats, but it hurts our students.

· While district leaders tell the community that the Pasco’s greatest spending growth will be for teaching and teaching support, in reality during the past five years, the greatest percentage growth in spending has been for even more administration, a 20 percent increase. Despite the growing ranks of bureaucrats, district leaders are failing in their basic duties, including not supplying basic curriculum in many classrooms, and failing to smoothly plan for new schools.

Hard-earned tax dollars are being squandered by an administration that seems unable or unwilling to manage our schools competently.

· District leaders continually argue that no money is available, but the reality is that district leaders are blocking tens of millions of dollars from ever reaching students.

· The $30+ million currently stashed away unspent is money that our local farmers, business owners, church congregations and parents paid in hard-earned taxes to provide quality schools.

· After criticism arose, Supt. Saundra Hill issued a memo explaining that at least $29 million would remain off-limits from helping students: Instead, Hill said her priority is to set aside multi-million reserves for topics as nebulous as an “encumbrance carryover,” “reserve for other carryover,” “interfund loan receivable,” and, despite that it’s now mid-2015, a $1.7 million “reserve for FY (fiscal year) 13-14 Net Rev./Exp./Transfers Out.”

What can you do?

Teachers work one-on-one with students every day, and see the problems that result from our district leaders’ misplaced priorities. Parents know to trust our opinions.

Spread the word by explaining to friends why these issues matter. Use social media, or quick chats in grocery store checkout lines, or in email letters-to-the-editor to the local paper. Put a “We Support Our Teachers!” sign in the window of your business, or car window. When asked, “What do teachers want?” Be clear: “We want kids in our community to get a great education!”

Most importantly, put Aug. 12 on your calendar. It’s critical that all PAE members attend our general membership meeting, 6 p.m. Aug. 12 at 1328 N. Road 28, in Pasco, the Steamfitters’ union hall. We’ll let you know whether a resolution is in sight, and discuss what next steps PAE members want to take, up to and including a possible strike if our contract issues remain unresolved. Please mark your calendars for this very important meeting.

Advertisements

Bargaining Update July 23rd

From: Lacey Unseth [WA] [mailto:LUnseth@WashingtonEA.org]
Sent: Thursday, July 23, 2015 5:41 PM
Subject: Bargaining Update July 23rd

What’s behind the district’s mediation request?

On Wednesday, PAE and PSD met for what was planned as a full day’s bargaining session, with the district due to offer a full counter proposal to the issues PAE presented Tuesday. But prior to presenting its proposal, the district declared it would not agree to spend any more money on Pasco’s students or teachers until PAE started pulling money items out of our package. It was the second time in two days the district suggested teachers should start bargaining against themselves, while they just wait for us to give up on our requests.

The district was not done attempting to delay and deny, however. Supt. Saundra Hill’s lead bargainer then announced the district would stop negotiating any financial matters until a mediator from the state Public Employees Relations Commission is sent to Pasco.

The district’s demand for mediation is yet another deliberate attempt to slow down the process, hoping we will give up sooner or later. Procedurally, the state needs to assign a mediator. The mediator needs to coordinate dates with PAE and PSD that also fit the mediator’s schedule. Once the mediator arrives in Pasco, both sides need to take time to bring the mediator up to speed on their proposals and what has occurred already. Typically, the mediator then puts each side in separate conference rooms and shuttles back and forth, listening separately to each side and then relaying the proposals to the other group. Unlike a courtroom judge, a mediator does not have the power to decide what the final settlement will be; he or she can only try to pressure both sides to reach consensus.

Before recessing, PAE Chief Bargainer Matthew Polk directly asked Hill’s team why the district is trying to push teachers into a strike, instead of bargaining in good faith.

Their team had no answer, other than to say they’d be willing negotiate so long as PAE’s requests don’t have any monetary cost to the district.

The Association has repeatedly told Hill’s team, as well as other Booth building administrators, that PSD’s old style of bargaining and labor relations is no longer acceptable. We also have communicated this message directly to Pasco’s School Board through board-level grievance presentations. Again, one must ask: does Saundra Hill really have a desire to address the concerns presented by the Association? The answer is “NO.” Hill instead continues to believe the Association will back away from the needs of our members and Pasco’s students. While Hill’s misreading of our resolve will ultimately prove futile, she is letting precious time to bargain slip away. With a potential strike vote Aug. 12, and the first week of school only five weeks away, the clock is ticking.

Our members have been clear about the issues the district must address: curriculum, testing, compensation, planning time, work load (including 6th grade transition), special education, TPEP, and a desire to work in a positive work environment. Hill’s team continues assert the district cannot figure out what the issues are.

As the clock continues to tick, it is time for members and parents to tell Saundra Hill that the district needs to meaningfully address the concerns of our teachers and the community — after all, our issues impact every student, and therefore every taxpayer.

We are not giving up simply because Hill refuses to acknowledge educational needs of our district’s teachers and students. Meanwhile, we will wait for the superintendent to get her act together. Through August 12 your bargaining team needs members from all schools go help put pressure on the district to bargain in good faith.

* All schools need to be represented at the July 27 bargaining support work team meeting at 4 p.m. at the WEA-SE office.

* Contribute an hour or two to help make informational signs, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Tuesday July 28, and Wednesday July 29, at the PAE office.

* Join in informational picketing Aug. 4 and 5. Times and location set after mediation site is selected.

* Walk select targeted neighborhoods to invite parents and other voters to PAE’s Community Budget Forum Aug 1-10.

* Attend the Community Budget Forum 7 p.m., Aug. 11. Location determined July 27.

* Attend the PAE General Membership Meeting Aug. 12, Steamfitters Local 598, 1328 N Road 28.

Bargaining Update July 22nd

From: Lacey Unseth [WA] [mailto:LUnseth@WashingtonEA.org]
Sent: Wednesday, July 22, 2015 6:29 AM
Subject: Bargaining Update July 22nd

Helping the district understand our priorities … again

Tuesday was another short day of bargaining, with the district’s team calling for a recess after only 90 minutes at the table to work on contract language they’ll present Wednesday.

“We don’t understand what your priorities are,” the district’s team complained.

In bargaining shorthand, our administration is suggesting, “We want teachers to start giving up some of the things you want, to start bargaining against yourself. Then we won’t even have to address many of your concerns.”

We’ve told the district again and again. We’re not giving up this year on what our teachers need. Our students have concerns that must be addressed. We’re hanging in there until their bargaining team truly listens and responds. We’re not giving up and going back to the old way, just because Supt. Saundra Hill chooses to ignore us.

So what are our priorities?

Our students. Our profession. Our lives.

What are our priorities?

Righting the wrong of our administration for reaching deep into the wallets of our community to take their tax money in the name of better schools — and then not using it for schools. Our priority is using that money — for our community’s students and teachers and classrooms — instead of deliberately wasting it in trumped-up reserve accounts to make it off-limits for our students’ needs.

Teachers hate to say our priority is money. We’re not in this profession to get rich or to be demanding. But we know we need to keep great teachers in Pasco, and we’re watching them leave in droves. We need enough hope for our future that we can afford to stay in here, and in teaching. We need curriculum, supplies and materials for our students. We need lower class sizes. We need adequate caseloads in special-ed and for counselors and specialists. We need work hours that allow us a bit of time off on nights and weekends to still see our families, which means we need more frontline teachers and paras to share the additional work. And yes, that costs money.

It’s obscene that our district sits on more than $30 million dollars and won’t spend it on our students, especially when administrators know the district will get more than $14 million in new money this year. It’s insulting that our bargaining team has repeatedly shared our members’ concerns and needs and frustrations — a list that is long and deep because we’ve made do for years by going without — and the district team’s reply is to say they don’t understand what we need.

What are Saundra Hill’s priorities? We can only guess based on her behavior. It appears Hill prefers to push our community into a strike instead of helping our students learn. It appears that hoarding tax money as a way to hang onto a personal sense of power is more important than helping teachers and students. It appears watching great teachers leave is less of an issue for Hill than offering professional wages, even when plenty of money is available.

What are our priorities? We want Pasco to once again be a district where we can be proud to work, and where we know our students get the best education we can give. We want an administration that sets aside its self-interest and excuses. We want a return to doing what’s right. We need an understanding when you ask our community for money for schools but refuse to spend it, that that leads us to believe that Saundra Hill is, at best, guilty of perpetuating a bait-and-switch on taxpayers, or at worst, orchestrating a financial fraud on our community.

Bargaining Update July 21st

From: Lacey Unseth [WA] [mailto:LUnseth@WashingtonEA.org]
Sent: Tuesday, July 21, 2015 2:05 PM
Subject: Bargaining Update July 21st

Are Pasco’s teachers ready yet to say, ‘Never mind?’

Another day at the bargaining table with no significant progress to report.

And that speaks volumes: It was the district’s turn Monday to submit a significant bargaining package. But it turned out to be more-of-the-same snail-paced incremental minutia, making it clear Supt. Saundra Hill has little interest in resolving the key issues that are hurting Pasco’s teachers and students. The district’s strategy is apparently based on little more than an empty prayer that sooner or later we’ll give up and go home.

“Today I felt insulted,” one PAE bargaining team member lamented afterward.

PAE’s bargaining team was scheduled to meet with the district at 9 a.m. Monday. The district team asked for a delay until noon to work on their proposal after failing to complete their homework over the weekend. It was 1:30 p.m. before the district appeared at the table.

Then, in an example of just how out-of-touch administrators are with frontline teaching, one of the district’s solutions on Monday was to suggest adding one minute a day of elementary planning time. Yep. One single minute!

“It was an embarrassment that that they would even propose what they did,” another PAE team member noted.

Equally embarrassing were the district’s contortions as it looks for ways to reject up to $1.7 million in I-1351 money, insisting that class size funds are available only if Pasco adds new classrooms. I-1351 specifically allows the money to be spent in other ways, such as hiring additional teachers to help with small groups or high-needs students.

The district appeared to suggest it is backing away from its demand to unilaterally pick Asuris as next year’s health plan for teachers. But given the district’s shaky record for good-faith interpretation of our contract provisions, it was notable that the district’s submission failed to mention Premera as an option. “The district will provide Pasco Association of Educators the option of offering Asuris Northwest Health medical plans to its members for the 2015-16 plan year.” Period, the district noted. No mention of “an option of offering Premera,” or how our “mutual” determination of a plan will be resolved if the district demands Asuris — and PAE members still want Premera.

The district idled away another chunk of time trying to decipher what its own proposals meant. In one example, the district suggested paying $25 a day for six days or less of unused sick leave, up to a maximum of $300. PAE asked how that would work exactly, since 6 times $25 is, ahhh, $150.

PAE continues to advocate for adequate curriculum, supplies and materials; workable class size and caseloads; specific concerns for our bilingual and special-ed teachers, counselors and specialists; professional pay and recognition of work we often do after-hours; reduced testing; fair, professional and consistent administrative practices; and affordable, high-quality health insurance. It’s clear that with more than $30 million uselessly idling away in reserves and more than $14 million in additional new state funding, money is not the issue in Pasco. The only question is how long the district will take to recognize adding a minute here or $25 there is not a serious solution. It’s an insult.

· You can show your support for PAE today! Join us from 4-6 p.m. Tuesday for a Grievance Hearing presentation to the School Board at Booth. Only PAE members can attend. District administrators have denied/missed timelines on a number of PAE grievances: 6th grade transfer, SBAC impacts, lack of curriculum, etc. PAE President Greg Olson and WEA UniServ Rep. Steve Lindholm will present. Members can’t address the board, but we can remind the district we are united and these grievances affect all PAE members. Wear red.

· It’s critical that all PAE members attend our general membership meeting, 6 p.m. Aug. 12 at 1328 N. Road 28, in Pasco, at the hall generously offered by our union brothers and sisters in Steamfitters Local 598. We’ll let you know whether a resolution is in sight, and discuss what next steps PAE members want to take, up to and including a possible strike vote if our contract issues remain unresolved. Mark your calendars for this very important meeting. Our next bargaining session is Tuesday at PAE’s office.

Monday Morning Update

From: Lacey Unseth [WA] [mailto:LUnseth@WashingtonEA.org]
Sent: Monday, July 20, 2015 11:27 AM
Subject: Monday Morning Update

Who’s right?

As you read in Friday’s update we’ve gone through another day of bargaining, with PAE pointing out what we need for students to succeed, and Superintendent Saundra Hill’s administrative team saying no.

PAE is continuing to advocate for adequate curriculum, supplies and materials; workable class size and caseloads; specific concerns for our counselors, specialists, bilingual and special-ed teachers; professional pay and recognition of work we often do after-hours; reduced testing; fair, professional and consistent administrative practices; and affordable, high-quality health insurance. It’s clear that with more than $30 million uselessly idling away in reserves and more than $14 million in new, additional state funding, money is not the issue in Pasco. Yet Hill’s administrative team continues its attempts to obfuscate, avoid and even go backward on helping our members and students.

So … Who’s right?

That question will loom increasingly large for PAE members and our community unless Hill’s negotiating team decides to show satisfactory progress in the coming days to successfully resolve these issues. But are we right? Or is the district?

* We know Pasco teachers need and deserve professional pay. Sixty-five percent of our teachers have advanced degrees. We face increasing challenges, higher expectations and additional hurdles every year we stay in our chosen profession. We work longer and longer hours, but without additional pay. Increasingly, teachers are leaving the district — or leaving the profession entirely — and inadequate compensation is a huge factor. We are passionate about our profession, but teaching remains just that: a profession, not an appointment from God. We need to be paid as professionals, and should be expected to work reasonable hours. When extra duties are demanded of us, we should receive appropriate additional compensation. On professional pay, we are right.

* We know our students need adequate materials and supplies to help them succeed. Curriculum isn’t just a basic cost of running our schools. It isn’t just a basic expectation of teachers, parents and students. It’s the law. Too often, we have to devote our time to make up for mistakes by administrators who are misinformed, or out of touch with best education practices or the real needs of our students. Many of us have to design our own curriculum materials from scratch, or individually translate the limited district materials available into the languages our students need. Through administrative bumbling or a misguided notion that money in the bank is more important than money used to support students, Pasco’s teachers have gone without far too long. On curriculum and materials, we are right.

* We know which tests help us understand where our students are strong, and where they are struggling. Heaping on more tests, more reports and more paperwork, doesn’t help Pasco’s students learn. Testing is not teaching — and teaching must come first. We have too much testing in Pasco. On less testing and more time to teach, we are right.

* We know that once students arrive at school, the most important variable is the teacher in the classroom. It’s not an assistant superintendent of academic progress. Or a deputy superintendent of testing and assessment. Or an under-secretary for learning and knowledge. Or even more administrators who go to seminars and then expect teachers to adopt the flavor of the month. On making more teachers a higher priority than more administrators, we are right.

* We understand that policies and procedures and the administrators who deliver them have a sound role in our students’ education. But they stop being helpful if those policies are unequally applied, or if flexing administrative muscle becomes more important than helping students excel. We are calling for an end to administrative bullying, retaliation and inconsistent administrative practices. On

administrative consistency, we know we are right.

Our being right hasn’t yet meant that Saundra Hill is willing to do what’s right. So far the district has done little more than smile and nod before again saying ‘no’ to the solutions for these problems and issues.

That’s why it’s critical that all PAE members attend our general membership meeting, 6 p.m. Aug. 12 at 1328 N. Road 28, in Pasco, at the hall generously offered by our union brothers and sisters in Steamfitters Local 598. We’ll let you know whether a resolution is in sight, and discuss what next steps PAE members want to take, up to and including a possible strike vote, if our contract issues remain unresolved. Mark your calendars for this very important meeting!

Bargaining Update July 17

From: Lacey Unseth [WA] [mailto:LUnseth@WashingtonEA.org]
Sent: Friday, July 17, 2015 11:14 AM
Subject: Bargaining Update July 17

Putting the district on notice

Sometimes contracts are hard to settle because no money exists to pay for the solutions required. Sometimes settlements are difficult because the other side misunderstands our resolve to fix longstanding problems that hurt our schools, our profession and our students. And occasionally, compromise is impossible because one side believes they are the boss, we are the employees, and no one is going to tell them how they’re going to run things.

It’s clear that with more than $30 million uselessly idling away in reserves, money is not the issue in Pasco. On Thursday, PAE worked to make it clear it would be a mistake to miscalculate our members’ resolve. And the district’s dog-eared mantra of “Just Say No!” isn’t going to work here anymore.

PAE emphasized that the district needs to come to the table with factual information about the district’s policies and proposals instead of misleading statements. We laid out a roadmap for honest discussion and appropriate compromise — a path that can bring both sides to a mutual agreement. We also presented an alternative vision, with escalating actions by PAE members up to and including the possibility that schools will not open on schedule in September, if they continue their attempts to obfuscate, avoid and deny.

Our bargaining team’s goal is to bring you a settlement that addresses as many of the concerns you raised as possible, including curriculum, supplies and materials; class size and caseloads; specific concerns for our counselors, specialists, bilingual and special-ed teachers; professional pay and recognition of work we often do after-hours; reduced testing; fair, professional and consistent administrative practices; and affordable, high-quality health insurance. Our message to the district is that it’s no longer business the way they’d like: it won’t work to offer us a few crumbs and then deny our key issues. We understand that these issues are important, and you expect substantial progress.

After a frank discussion Thursday morning about whether the district understands the need to find appropriate resolutions, the rest of the day was largely spent listening. PAE completed its in-depth proposal on TPEP procedures and contract language. The district team then discussed the TPEP changes they envision, including striking or limiting TPEP exemptions for ESA’s, counselors, librarians, TOSAs, instructional coaches and curriculum specialists if they provide academic instruction. The district plan would also allow teachers on focused evaluations to be forced onto the more cumbersome “comprehensive” evaluation system at the whim of their evaluator, without reason or explanation. And the district would roll back its responsibility to provide adequate professional development in advance of one’s evaluation so long as some PD is offered yearly. The district would also forego many of its obligations to share evaluation details with teachers, and end the current requirement to give a contract to second-year provisional teachers who received top-level proficient or distinguished evaluations.

It’s critical that all PAE members attend our general membership meeting, 6 p.m. Aug. 12 at 1328 N. Road 28, in Pasco, at the hall generously offered by our union brothers and sisters in Steamfitters Local 598. We’ll let you know whether a resolution is in sight, and discuss what next steps PAE members want to take, up to and including a possible strike vote if our contract issues remain unresolved. Please mark your calendars for this very important meeting. Our next bargaining session is Monday at Booth.

A special thanks for the support from our colleagues! On Thursday, Robinson sent their best wishes and appreciation, not to mention balloons and munchies, to start our bargaining team’s morning right!

Mark your calendars and get ready to make some noise!

From: Lacey Unseth [WA] [mailto:LUnseth@WashingtonEA.org]
Sent: Thursday, July 16, 2015 4:25 PM
Subject: Mark your calendars and get ready to make some noise!

Mark your calendars and get ready to make some noise!

Little in the district’s actions so far suggests that Supt. Saundra Hill is serious about finding a contractual resolution to our concerns over inadequate curriculum, supplies and materials, over-crowded classes, disparate and unprofessional administration practices, or our need for professional pay and continued quality medical insurance.

PAE members need to help our superintendent and the district bargaining team understand that these issues are important to us, they matter to our students and their families, and they need to be resolved as part of our negotiations to begin a new school year.

So, please mark your calendars, give a little of your time, and stand up to make some noise so that the district understands they need to come to prepared to bargain, not to just once again say, “No!”

* Monday July 20: 8:15 a.m.. Support our Bargaining Team as they begin a new week of negotiations! Wear your red shirts and join other members at the Booth Building parking lot (1215 W. Lewis St.) on Monday, and again Wednesday.

* Tuesday July 21: (Tentatively 4-6 p.m.) Grievance Hearing presentation to School Board at Booth. Only PAE members can attend (not students/parents). District administrators have denied/missed timelines on a number of PAE

grievances: 6th grade transfer, SBAC impacts, lack of curriculum, etc. This is a presentation to the board by Greg Olson and PAE UniServ Rep. Steve Lindholm. Members cannot speak at this meeting, but we can remind the district we

are united and these grievances affect all PAE members. Wear red.

* Wednesday, July 22: 8:15 a.m.. Same plan as Monday to support our Bargaining Team, but let’s get some new faces out there! If you can’t make it Monday, then help support the cause on Wednesday. If you were there on Monday,

convince a friend or colleague to replace you, or show your support again. We’re asking you to be there for 30 to 45 minutes … (Just remember, the Bargaining Team gets to be there all day, and sometimes late into the night!)

* Tuesday, July 28: 6:30 p.m., Pasco School Board Meeting: We need to show the district we are united and committed to achieving a fair contract. Our teaching environment is our students learning environment. Wear red.

* Tuesday Aug. 11: (tentative 7 p.m. start, location to be announced.) Community Budget Forum sponsored by PAE. Pasco’s taxpayers sacrifice to support our schools, and yet our superintendent refuses to spend tens of millions of those

dollars on teachers or students. This forum will help the public understand in depth how their money is being needlessly hoarded, questionable spending practices by our administrators, and how new spending priorities will give our

students the chance for more successful futures.

* Wednesday, Aug. 12: 6 p.m. General Membership Meeting. It’s critical that all PAE members attend our Aug. 12 general membership meeting at 1328 N. Road 28, in Pasco, (a meeting hall generously offered by our union brothers and

sisters in Steamfitters Local 598). We’ll update you on negotiations, and we should have a good indication of whether a contract resolution is in sight. PAE’s leadership team will discuss what next steps PAE members might take, up to

and including a possible strike vote if our contract issues remain unresolved. Please mark your calendars for this very important meeting!

* Monday Aug. 31: (6 p.m. tentative start, location to be announced). General Membership Meeting. Our current contract expires at midnight on Aug. 31st. This is will be our final meeting to determine whether we are ratifying a new

contract that has been tentatively agreed upon by our bargaining team, or finalizing action plans the night before school had been scheduled to begin.

This is not a comprehensive list of events between now and Aug. 31. We expect more activities will be added, including informational picketing and possible protest actions as PAE members begin returning to their schools in preparation for school this fall. Stay tuned for more updates.

0

Bargaining Update July 13th

From: Lacey Unseth [WA] [mailto:LUnseth@WashingtonEA.org]
Sent: Monday, July 13, 2015 11:58 AM
Subject: Bargaining Update July 13th

An illuminating discussion, but likely not intentional …

On Friday morning, the PAE bargaining team was greeted by a first wave of union members who enthusiastically sent the bargaining team into the Booth Building for our fourth day of bargaining. Thank you to the dozens of members who participated on a summer morning! This is what NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia calls “Good Crazy”! We will continue to work hard for our members!

PAE began the day by presenting our Special Education proposal and the need for adjusting class-size language to reflect “case load” for Elementary Life Skills Classes. Currently, Pre-School and Kindergarten Life skills teachers may have as many as 30 students. Once again, the district showed that it has no understanding or respect for what members do for students by responding with: “There is more to case load than numbers of students teachers supervise.”

At least they didn’t say “babysit.” Nonetheless, their word choice is a subtle reminder of how district administrators have lost sight that our passion and goal is to teach and to educate.

In other portions of our proposal, PAE presented language to clarify inclusion procedures and the contractual requirement that members receive training prior to having inclusion students placed in their classrooms. When PAE’s bargaining team presented several scenarios where training was not being provided and members were not receiving the necessary support, the district Special Education department once again showed it has little understanding or concern for members by stating: “I was unaware that trainings were not being provided.” This was further compounded with the admission that: “I don’t know what is going on at Ochoa.”

With so many administrators at Booth, how can district management have so little clue about what transpires in our special education classrooms?

Fruitful discussions transpired over PAE’s comprehensive TPEP proposal. We are hopeful the district will take to heart our concerns related to increased workload and the need for continuity in the evaluation process.

The bargaining teams ended Friday’s session agreeing that PAE would complete our presentation when we return to the bargaining table next Thursday, July 16, and that the district would be prepared to respond with a full counter-proposal as well.

Bargaining Update July 10

From: Lacey Unseth [WA] [mailto:LUnseth@WashingtonEA.org]
Sent: Friday, July 10, 2015 9:10 AM
Subject: Bargaining Update July 10

Is the district’s strategy to pick a fight with its own teachers?

Thursday marked the third day of bargaining between the district and Pasco’s teachers, but instead of making significant forward progress, the district is moving the wrong direction on key issues.

· The district is moving the wrong way on keeping great teachers: Instead of addressing systemic problems that are driving away Pasco’s teachers, such as low pay, lack of adequate materials and curriculum, over-crowded classes and unprofessional administrators, the district is offering a simpler fix: an earlier deadline to resign, after which you are locked into your contract and can’t leave even if you want to. Currently, employees must announce by July 15 if they intend to leave. The district wants to move that back two weeks, to July 1.

· The district is moving the wrong way on student contact time: Thursday’s proposal included more release days for high school conferences, while ignoring PAE’s proposals to reduce testing and increase the amount of time teachers can spend, you know … teaching.

· The district is moving the wrong way on reducing overcrowded classes: The district tried to bluff that the state won’t send more class-size money unless the district opens new classrooms, and said it may choose to decline $1.66 million in class-size funds. PAE pointed out that was incorrect and misleading: State law specifically allows for other options to use class size reduction money even when additional physical space is not available.

· The district continues to move the wrong way on sixth-grade teaching roles: Despite having largely agreed this spring to allow sixth-grade teachers to teach in their subject-area specialty, the district tried to resuscitate its whacky plan allowing them to force teachers to teach all curriculum subjects whether they are qualified or not. The community understands that’s nuts: In an editorial headlined, “Pasco’s sixth-graders deserve expert teachers,” the Tri-City Herald quoted PAE Chief Bargainer Matthew Polk saying, “Kids deserve to have math experts be their math teachers,” and then the editors offered their own two-word conclusion: “He’s right.”

· The district is moving the wrong way on pay: The only ongoing raise proposed by the district was one extra day of pay for extra responsibilities. Meanwhile, the district now wants to tie “deemed done” incentive pay to specific tasks, such as parent conferences, open houses, SBAC conferencing and additional testing, etc. PAE has proposed an 11.2 percent pay increase for teachers, matching the salary increase given to state legislators.

· The district is moving the wrong way on using tax dollars responsibly: After apparently forgetting that our school district is an institution of learning, not a savings bank, the district still refuses to spend almost any of its obscene reserve fund on students and teachers. With more than $30 million already wasting away in reserves, and nearly $14 million in new money headed to Pasco in the recently completed state budget, the district notes that new spending in its contract package totals only $1.59 million. Even more embarrassing, the bulk of that increase — $906,300 — would disappear after a single year. The remainder ($686,850) is considered an ongoing increase, but even that includes $90,000 for increased substitute pay. So with some $44 million at its fingertips, the district is willing to commit only $596,850 — just over a half-million dollars — to ongoing support for Pasco’s teachers. That is out of an overall budget this year of more than $179 million, or an increase of 0.33 percent.

· The district is moving the wrong direction on health insurance: Although the district has agreed to put an additional $88,000 into our insurance pool, on Thursday it confirmed its hope to remove teachers’ voices from decisions on insurance providers, and switch to the insurer teachers already resoundingly rejected, Asuris.

WEA staff bargainer Steve Lindholm took the district to task for appearing to be trying to deliberately stick its fingers in teachers’ eyes with these proposals, instead of working collaboratively to resolve real problems in Pasco’s schools that hurt teachers and students.

The teams will be right back at the bargaining table Friday morning (July 10). Thank you for the support of those members who were able to come support PAE’s Bargaining Team. Our intent is to settle this contract amicably, but if the district wants to force a battle of wills, they need to understand we are ready.

Support our team Friday morning at 8:30

Johanna and I attended this. I think I need to create a bargaining scorecard to track issues.

From: Lacey Unseth [WA] [mailto:LUnseth@WashingtonEA.org]
Sent: Monday, July 6, 2015 2:47 PM
To: Lacey Unseth [WA] <LUnseth@WashingtonEA.org>
Subject: Support our team Friday morning at 8:30

This Friday, show you care about fair pay, real insurance, and real curriculum.

The district has continued to send signs in negotiations that it doesn’t understand Pasco’s teachers share real issues that need real solutions. So on Friday morning, we need you to help administrators realize there are standards they, too, are expected to meet.

We’re asking PAE members to support PAE’s Bargaining Team, arriving by 8:30 a.m. for 15 minutes outside the PSD Booth administration building (1215 W. Lewis St.) Wear red. Show up a few minutes earlier to make a sign with your message (we’ll provide supplies), either reminding the district’s bargainers that our issues are important to you, or simply to voice your support for PAE’s team.

Despite unspent reserve funds exceeding $30 million, the district so far has rejected a majority of PAE’s bargaining proposals and even responded with take-backs. Most critically, the district wants to deny PAE members a voice in selecting our insurance provider. The district suggests the carrier they choose for us will be Asuris.

Although the district refuses to recognize our issues, PAE has not backed away from its proposals, which include:

* An 11.2 percent pay increase for teachers, matching the salary increase given to state legislators.

* Increasing the individual insurance allotment from $70 to $100 per FTE, plus increasing the district contribution to our insurance pool.

* Additional pay when teachers are “voluntold” to fill in for missing substitutes during planning time.

* Converting time-sheeted Tier Days to “deemed-done” days so our pay recognizes the extra work we do but eliminates the

paperwork hassles.

* Clear, consistent student discipline procedures that are supported and enforced by administrators so that classroom learning isn’t

continually disrupted.

* Additional planning time for elementary teachers.

* Lowering class sizes by two students per classrooms, and lower daily maximums for PE and other specialists to match daily limits for other

classes.

* Fixes for special-ed caseload language to reduce huge disparities that have arisen under the district’s current contract interpretations.

* Changes to selecting department heads, with leaders being elected by building staff instead of hand-picked by the administrator, plus the

creation of department-heads for other grade levels beyond high schools.

If these and other contract issues matter, show your support by joining us briefly at 8:30 a.m. Friday.

%d bloggers like this: