Colette Burgess, Preschool Administrator, Florida Discovery Center
David Sanchez, Principal, Coombs Alternative Education Campus (AE, BISS, NHHS)
Shane Hilde, Dean, Coombs Alternative Education Campus (AE, BISS, NHHS)
Kelly Daly, Principal, Nicolet Middle School
Laurie De Souza, Vice Principal, Nicolet Middle School
Frank Chavez, Dean, Nicolet Middle School
Matt Valdivia, Principal, Banning High School
Lanell Hardy, AssistantPrincipal, Banning High School
Christopher Cerbone, Dean/AD, Banning High School
From the Superintendent’s Office:
Negotiation Update From the Superintendent's Office
September 8, 2017
The Banning Unified School District (District) would like to make some clarifications regarding negotiations with the Banning Teachers Association (BTA).
As many of you are aware, after months of negotiations, the District and BTA have not been able to find a common ground in the current contract negotiations. Both negotiation teams submitted their last, best and final offers at the last negotiating session, which unfortunately has led to an impasse. In sum, this means that both parties have reached a point where further negotiations are futile – without state assistance, starting with an appointed mediator. Contrary to a recent statement by the BTA President, both parties previously agreed to enter into this process under the jurisdiction of the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB). Despite the prior, mutual decision to enter into this process with PERB, based on recent communications with BTA, it appears that BTA no longer desires to jointly file a request for impasse determination with PERB. Nevertheless, the District is still in the process of filing an impasse request with PERB to secure the assistance of a neutral mediator. The District hopes that a neutral mediator can assist the parties in resolving the impasse quickly. The District is ready and willing to work together to find agreement on outstanding issues. This resolution will allow us to focus on providing our best service to our students.
CONTRACT ISSUES - IMPARTIAL RESOLUTION PROCESS
The District remains committed to honoring the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the District and BTA. The CBA provides for a fair and impartial dispute resolution process (called the "Grievance Procedure") with the assistance of an arbitrator. Under this process, if BTA believes that the District violated, misinterpreted or misapplied contract language, BTA can utilize and avail itself of the agreed-upon grievance procedures. At the end of the grievance process, if BTA is dissatisfied with the outcome of the grievance process, BTA can request arbitration. In arbitration, an impartial arbitrator is selected to decide upon the disputed interpretation of terms found in the CBA, or to determine disputed facts upon which the application of the CBA depends. The impartial arbitrator hears evidence, reviews all facts provided by both the District and BTA, and renders a decision on the issues submitted by the parties. Therefore, at all times, BTA can avail itself of the grievance process to resolve alleged violations of the contract between the District and BTA.
For the 2017-2018 school year, Nicolet Middle School will have a new bell schedule. The regular schedule begins at 7:45 AM and ends at 2:40 PM. The normal work day for Nicolet teachers is thirty (30) minutes before and thirty (30) minutes after the regular hours in which students are required to be present at school. Weekly early release days are now Thursdays. S.M.A.R.T. Thursdays begin at 7:45 AM and end at 12:39 PM. The purpose for this schedule revision was to increase academic time, add an additional minute to each passing period, and create equity among all District students. In other words, the District desires to ensure that teachers at Nicolet provide a commensurate amount of valuable instructional time to their students, as is provided to other students of the District. In addition, we must emphasize that the District has no intention of increasing instructional time at our elementary sites nor at Banning High School. The current time allotted supports the District's needs and ensures student achievement.
2015/2016 CONTRACTED SALARY INCREASE
Last year, all BTA unit members (non-administrative certificated staff) received a 2.5 percent increase to the salary schedule, effective July 1, 2016. The teacher work year was increased by 5 paid days for professional development. Additionally, all salary schedule cells (levels) were increased by $2,000.00, effective July 1, 2016. Furthermore, all BTA unit members' health and welfare benefit caps were increased by $1,056.00. The total costs of these benefits and salary increases given to BTA unit members was approximately $2.0 million last year, which is the equivalent of an 8.16% average raise. This places BTA unit members on par with the overall compensation packages of comparable school districts in the region.
Let’s Set the Record Straight
The District would like to clarify rumors regarding negotiations with the Banning Teacher’s Association (BTA).
As a learning institution we are committed to strengthening our organization to provide all of our students with a meaningful opportunity to become well-rounded, educated individuals. The District is committed to ensuring students receive the best education including appropriate instructional time, and passing periods which allow adequate time for use of the restroom.
For the 2017-2018 school year, Nicolet Middle School will have a new bell schedule. The regular schedule will begin at 7:45 AM and end at 2:40 PM. Weekly early release days are now Thursdays. Smart Thursdays begin at 7:45 AM and end at 12:39 PM. The purpose for this change is to increase academic time, add an additional minute to each passing period, and create equity among all students and teachers at Banning Unified School District.
In addition, the District is not interested on increasing academic time at the Elementary schools nor at Banning High School. The work hours for teachers at the TK-5 sites and Banning High School have proven adequate in serving the needs of our students.
Despite several months of diligent efforts, contract discussions between the Banning Unified School District (District) and the Banning Teachers Association (BTA) have now stalled, resulting in an impasse in contract negotiations. Accordingly, the parties have mutually agreed to file a joint request for mediation assistance from the California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB).
After years of making painful cuts to our school programs during California's prolonged recession, the District is pleased and grateful that the recovering economy and the State's new funding model, the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) has brought some increased funding from Sacramento. In sum, LCFF allows funds to be spent for educational purposes, but also requires that school districts must improve or increase services for high-need students in proportion to the increased funding they receive through the LCFF process. Further, although LCFF increases funding to support improved or increased services for high-need students, the District continues being under the 2006-2007 enrollment of 4,698 students, which results in an ongoing annual loss of funding of as much as $1M. Additionally, CalSTRS employer retirement contribution increased 1.85% and CalPERS contribution increased 1.64% in 2017/2018 alone. These increases are approximately equal to a 1.5% impact on the Unrestricted General Fund Budget. As such, the District's goal is to use funds efficiently and strategically to develop greater student services and greater student learning.
The District believes that every student in the District community deserves the opportunity to have an excellent education to prepare them for lifelong success, taught by committed educators and that such educators deserve to be properly compensated in exchange. Unfortunately, the BTA and the District were not able to come to agreement on how to make these goals a reality this past school year, resulting in the current breakdown of negotiations for our next contract.
The District has proposed a $550.00 increase to each salary cell (level) for all certificated unit members on the salary schedule (from the General Fund) for the upcoming school year;
The District's proposal is on par with overall compensation packages of comparable school districts in the region. Refer to the attachment provided by Anthony Garcia, BTA President to Alfredo Andrade, Board President. (Click here to view document)
BTA is requesting a 3% salary increase. This is in excess of the 1.56% State Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) slated to be received by the District. In addition, they are requesting to reduce the work year by 1 day and deletion of the 16 single additional hours on Smart Days. The total reduction in time worked is approximately 4 days with no salary reductions.
As a result of such differences, unfortunately, the parties have reached a point where further negotiations, without the assistance of a mediator are futile. Once the Public Employees Relations Board (PERB) certifies parties for impasse, a mediator will be appointed and the District hopes that a neutral mediator can assist the parties in resolving the impasse quickly. The District is anxious and remains committed to working on finding agreement on outstanding issues so we can all focus, once again, on bettering the education of the children of Banning Unified School District.
The District remains steadfast in our goal of achieving a world-class education and working with BTA for the benefit of our children. We look forward to accomplishing this objective with our teachers, staff, and community in the very near future. We are committed to the success of each and every student.