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School board ratifies new contract between Pleasanton Unified and teachers union

Also: Corresponding pay increases, benefit boosts approved for district management

Months of tense negotiations between the Pleasanton Unified School District and the Association of Pleasanton Teachers, including a vote authorizing teachers to strike, came to an end when the Board of Trustees unanimously approved a final employment agreement with the teachers union last week.

The final vote comes after APT members voted last month to authorize a strike during impasse with the district. Teachers rallied outside the district office several times recently but did not stop working at any point in time. The two sides reached a deal in negotiations on Nov. 8.

Under the agreement, teachers' pay on the salary schedule will increase across the board by 4.5% retroactive to July 1. A one-time payment of $2,000 for the 2020-21 school year -- prorated based on assigned full-time equivalent (FTE) hours -- will also be given to union members.

The hourly rate for the professional rate for certificated staff members also increased from $32.15 to $46.86 (which is column one, step one of the teacher salary schedule in PUSD), effective on Jan. 1. Standardized stipends for middle school coaches, music programs and special education teachers will also be retroactive to July 1.

Starting in the 2022-23 school year, PUSD will increase the allowable service credit for newly hired teachers to a maximum of 15 years. Assistant superintendent of human resources Julio Hernandez told the board that the district's previous six-year maximum "puts us at a disadvantage when we're recruiting teachers to our school district."

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Reducing class sizes from 33 students down to 31 for fourth and fifth grades are among the main terms in the agreement not related to salary.

APT President Michelle VerKuilen addressed the board at the Nov. 18 board meeting, and said the organization's goal "is to support our students."

"What does supporting our students look like?" VerKuilen said. "It looks like educators, union leaders, district management, site management and our school board, all coming together to make decisions that put students at the forefront. It means when budgets are developed and implemented, the dollars stay as close to students as possible."

"Our passion is our work," VerKuilen added. "We do not take our roles in our students' lives lightly, and when our input and offerings are passed over and ignored, we not only feel devalued but dismayed that what is important for our pupils will not be occurring."

Trustee Mary Jo Carreon was among the board members that mentioned the "very, very painful process" of negotiations this year, and shared her own experiences with being on a negotiation team while still a teacher.

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"What really made that successful was when we did something called interest-based bargaining. I'd really like us to have a conversation about us moving in towards that direction," Carreon said.

Carreon explained, "You come together and say 'these are my interests, these are my concerns, let's work together to solve the problems.' And I really feel strongly that if we can get back to that place, that we would be more successful and there'd be less anger and bad energy that was going around."

Trustee Mark Miller said he was "delighted" to reach an agreement with APT, "but I'm actually deeply saddened by the way that we got here."

"I wholeheartedly believe we would have come to the exact same agreement we're at today without going through the unilaterally declared impasse and fact-finding process," Miller said.

"It is my sincere hope that the next time around we can start from a place where we assume positive intent," Miller added. "That we dialogue constructively on the shared interests of best serving our students now and in the future -- it's a long game -- and that we treat each other with respect and dignity."

The estimated financial impact of the deal is just over $6 million, although the district's Business Services Department said the "exact cost won't be known until payroll runs."

As part of PUSD's "me too" clause for its executive management contracts, all district managers and confidential employees will receive "a $2,000 one-time allocation for 2020-2021, and a 3.6% increase to the salary schedule for 2021-2022, effective July 1." Non-executive management/confidential employees will also receive 50% of Kaiser single coverage or $1000 cash in lieu, effective July 1. The district's cabinet members are not included in the agreement.

The board voted on the management contracts in a separate hearing on Nov. 18, during which Board President Joan Laursen said the benefits are part of improving total compensation to attract and retain current and future employees. Qualified candidates for district management positions will often "get down to the point at which they find out we don't offer benefits and they say thanks but no thanks," according to Laursen.

"We want to improve the total compensation packages for all of our employees in order to retain and attract the best employees we can possibly keep and hire," Laursen said. "That being said, we have made changes to the management contracts" including "aligning the managers contracts with the type of step and column increases that happen for teachers."

"It isn't built-in raises forever, it isn't some abnormal thing, it's alignment with what we're offering on the salary schedule for our certificated employees," Laursen said, noting that "it is common practice to offer 'me too' to management."

"We're talking about moving our district into a more competitive place, and that means we need to provide the type of compensation that's not totally salary," Laursen added.

"We're talking about moving our district into a more competitive place, and that means we need to provide the type of compensation that's not totally salary," Laursen added.

Trustee Steve Maher said teachers have told him they want to restore benefits that were replaced years ago with increased compensation, and, "I was here when I was a teacher and we had it, and now it's gone."

"I wish we never would've got rid of it because once you lose it, it's difficult to get it back because of the expense, but it looks like now is the time," Maher said.

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School board ratifies new contract between Pleasanton Unified and teachers union

Also: Corresponding pay increases, benefit boosts approved for district management

by / Pleasanton Weekly

Uploaded: Tue, Nov 23, 2021, 10:30 am
Updated: Tue, Nov 23, 2021, 12:28 pm

Months of tense negotiations between the Pleasanton Unified School District and the Association of Pleasanton Teachers, including a vote authorizing teachers to strike, came to an end when the Board of Trustees unanimously approved a final employment agreement with the teachers union last week.

The final vote comes after APT members voted last month to authorize a strike during impasse with the district. Teachers rallied outside the district office several times recently but did not stop working at any point in time. The two sides reached a deal in negotiations on Nov. 8.

Under the agreement, teachers' pay on the salary schedule will increase across the board by 4.5% retroactive to July 1. A one-time payment of $2,000 for the 2020-21 school year -- prorated based on assigned full-time equivalent (FTE) hours -- will also be given to union members.

The hourly rate for the professional rate for certificated staff members also increased from $32.15 to $46.86 (which is column one, step one of the teacher salary schedule in PUSD), effective on Jan. 1. Standardized stipends for middle school coaches, music programs and special education teachers will also be retroactive to July 1.

Starting in the 2022-23 school year, PUSD will increase the allowable service credit for newly hired teachers to a maximum of 15 years. Assistant superintendent of human resources Julio Hernandez told the board that the district's previous six-year maximum "puts us at a disadvantage when we're recruiting teachers to our school district."

Reducing class sizes from 33 students down to 31 for fourth and fifth grades are among the main terms in the agreement not related to salary.

APT President Michelle VerKuilen addressed the board at the Nov. 18 board meeting, and said the organization's goal "is to support our students."

"What does supporting our students look like?" VerKuilen said. "It looks like educators, union leaders, district management, site management and our school board, all coming together to make decisions that put students at the forefront. It means when budgets are developed and implemented, the dollars stay as close to students as possible."

"Our passion is our work," VerKuilen added. "We do not take our roles in our students' lives lightly, and when our input and offerings are passed over and ignored, we not only feel devalued but dismayed that what is important for our pupils will not be occurring."

Trustee Mary Jo Carreon was among the board members that mentioned the "very, very painful process" of negotiations this year, and shared her own experiences with being on a negotiation team while still a teacher.

"What really made that successful was when we did something called interest-based bargaining. I'd really like us to have a conversation about us moving in towards that direction," Carreon said.

Carreon explained, "You come together and say 'these are my interests, these are my concerns, let's work together to solve the problems.' And I really feel strongly that if we can get back to that place, that we would be more successful and there'd be less anger and bad energy that was going around."

Trustee Mark Miller said he was "delighted" to reach an agreement with APT, "but I'm actually deeply saddened by the way that we got here."

"I wholeheartedly believe we would have come to the exact same agreement we're at today without going through the unilaterally declared impasse and fact-finding process," Miller said.

"It is my sincere hope that the next time around we can start from a place where we assume positive intent," Miller added. "That we dialogue constructively on the shared interests of best serving our students now and in the future -- it's a long game -- and that we treat each other with respect and dignity."

The estimated financial impact of the deal is just over $6 million, although the district's Business Services Department said the "exact cost won't be known until payroll runs."

As part of PUSD's "me too" clause for its executive management contracts, all district managers and confidential employees will receive "a $2,000 one-time allocation for 2020-2021, and a 3.6% increase to the salary schedule for 2021-2022, effective July 1." Non-executive management/confidential employees will also receive 50% of Kaiser single coverage or $1000 cash in lieu, effective July 1. The district's cabinet members are not included in the agreement.

The board voted on the management contracts in a separate hearing on Nov. 18, during which Board President Joan Laursen said the benefits are part of improving total compensation to attract and retain current and future employees. Qualified candidates for district management positions will often "get down to the point at which they find out we don't offer benefits and they say thanks but no thanks," according to Laursen.

"We want to improve the total compensation packages for all of our employees in order to retain and attract the best employees we can possibly keep and hire," Laursen said. "That being said, we have made changes to the management contracts" including "aligning the managers contracts with the type of step and column increases that happen for teachers."

"It isn't built-in raises forever, it isn't some abnormal thing, it's alignment with what we're offering on the salary schedule for our certificated employees," Laursen said, noting that "it is common practice to offer 'me too' to management."

"We're talking about moving our district into a more competitive place, and that means we need to provide the type of compensation that's not totally salary," Laursen added.

"We're talking about moving our district into a more competitive place, and that means we need to provide the type of compensation that's not totally salary," Laursen added.

Trustee Steve Maher said teachers have told him they want to restore benefits that were replaced years ago with increased compensation, and, "I was here when I was a teacher and we had it, and now it's gone."

"I wish we never would've got rid of it because once you lose it, it's difficult to get it back because of the expense, but it looks like now is the time," Maher said.

Comments

Jeff
Registered user
Birdland
on Nov 24, 2021 at 12:50 pm
Jeff, Birdland
Registered user
on Nov 24, 2021 at 12:50 pm

Will Haglund and his cabinet also get the 4.5% that teachers are getting?
Trustee Miller,
I agree that the negotiating process this time around was difficult; especially for teachers and parents. It is important to clarify why it became ugly. The negotiating process was contentious because the superintendent and his cabinet secured generous raises for themselves (3.5% each year plus benefits) before settling with teachers. This was approved by the Board. And when negotiating with teachers the district wanted to offer less than one percent. The superintendent was responsible for the tension and conflict, and you all are responsible for supervising and evaluating him.
Trustee Laursen,
I agree - let's make PUSD competitive again. But, let's do it for teachers as well.


Kathleen Ruegsegger
Registered user
Vintage Hills
on Nov 24, 2021 at 2:28 pm
Kathleen Ruegsegger, Vintage Hills
Registered user
on Nov 24, 2021 at 2:28 pm

The article states the cabinet and other non-represented groups will get the increase. I am glad for the teachers, but what a s*** show this was because of Haglund. He needs to be sent packing, along with board members who voted for their contracts.


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