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What? COLLECTIVE ACTION! SCTA Field Trip to the State Capitol!!

 Why? CTA-opposed SB 1530 (Padilla) has cleared the Senate and is scheduled for a hearing before the Assembly Education Committee. This legislation is meant to divert attention from the failure of LAUSD management to comply with current law, and instead GUTS YOUR DUE PROCESS RIGHTS. This labor-friendly committee is an optimal place to kill this anti-labor bill, but WE NEED YOUR HELP! We need a line of teachers who will come to the microphone at the hearing and say “My name is xxxxxx xxxxxxxx and I teach xxxxx grade at xxxxxxxxx school and I oppose SB 1530.” It will be fun. Trust.

 When and Where? Wednesday, June 27th — 1:30pm at the California State Capitol in the Assembly Education Committee room 4202 (4th floor).  

 If you need more information on this bill, visit

Please RSVP your attendance or inquiries to Seth Bramble at, who will provide more information to those planning to go on this adventure.


Ah, summer!   As most teachers know, summer is the time for catching up on reading, and your SCTA Organizing Committee has prepared this list of suggested titles to learn about important education policy debates that are currently affecting us, and which could affect our profession in the coming years.

Diane Ravitch

First, if you have not yet read Diane Ravitch’s monumental work on the state of public education in this era of corporate reform, Death and Life of the Great American School System,  now is the chance.   The book is available in an expanded and revised paperwork edition and for Kindles and other e-readers.

Dr. Ravitch recently started her own blog,, which has quickly emerged as an important daily read for anyone interested in “a better education for all.”  Her range of topics is impressive, but always she writes with a passion for the teaching profession,  a respect for teachers and an unflagging commitment to a well-rounded education for all children.  Do check it out.

Tenure and Seniority

Our district made some significant changes to layoff procedures this year that are affecting many of our members. Seniority-based pay and layoffs are a bedrock of union rights, but many may wonder why they are so essential.

The NEA has good basic piece explaining “what tenure is and what tenure is not.”

Teacher Marc Epstein writes in the Huffington Post in defense of seniority, including a bit of a history lesson.  While his article focuses on New York,  Epstein reminds us that seniority pre-dates unions and owes its origins to civil service reforms and efforts to remove arbitrariness, patronage, graft and corruption from hiring and firing practices.


For more on this topic, including a list of articles from different authors presenting a variety of views, please see Larry Ferlazzo’s list of The Best Articles For Helping To Understand Both Why Teacher Tenure Is Important & The Reasons Behind Seniority-Based Layoffs.


By the way, Larry Ferlazzo is a SCTA member from Luther Burbank High School, who is a considered one of the most prominent and prolific teacher-bloggers in the nation; his blog is called  Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day.


Priority Schools, So-Called “Failing Schools” and School Improvement

Questions have come up about the priority school program in our district. This list of articles, again from Larry Ferlazzo, gives a nice overview of the school reform plans that the federal government requires: The Best Resources For Learning About The Four School Improvement Grant Models.  In our district, Oak Ridge Elementary is the only school that the state has designated for this reform and is eligible for this particular grant program.   Some of the articles here reach more broadly and challenge the “shut it down” mentality for so-called “failing schools” that calls for dismissing teachers, closing schools and converting them to charters.  These articles offer suggestions for school improvement that are rooted instead in community engagement and teacher professionalism.


Race to the Top

Under Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, the federal government has been moving its reform efforts towards a program called Race to the Top. The program requires states to apply and compete for federal education funds,  but to qualify states have to enact a number of very onerous and costly reforms. California Governor Jerry Brown and Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson figured that it would cost the state more money they it would ever get to do this, and declined to apply for the Race to the Top program.     The federal government, however, has opened the program up for individual school districts or consortia of districts to apply directly without going through their state officials.    Our district may be going down this road in the future, and it is a dangerous one that should be avoided.


Education Week has  a  good comprehensive piece  on what districts must do to qualify for Race to the Top funding. (Interestingly, the article headline refers to the program as a “contest.”)


Sacramento’s own Kate Lenox, of the Sacramento Coalition to Save Public Education, recently penned this warning about to the Sacramento City Unified School District that the Race to the Top grant “may not be worth its cost.”

For more much more on Race to the Top, Larry Ferlazzo again has it covered:  The Best Resources On “Race To The Top.”


~  Thanks to Alice Mercer for compiling this list.



Health Benefits Update

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   2012-13 Health Benefit Changes

Please review the following attachments concerning the benefits changes that resulted from the new two year collective bargaining agreement.  We hope this will provide you with some clarity around the plans and their benefit levels.  All new plans will begin in September.  We will keep you informed about the dates for open enrollment and the benefits fair. 

As a result of our new two year agreement effective July 1, 2012, there will be changes to the medical plans and eligibility. Below is a summary of changes to the District’s benefits and rates effective July 1, 2012.

Health Net

Office Visit Copay Change – The office visit copay for the Health Net HMO plan is changing from $5 per visit to $15 per visit. This copay change also applies to vision exams obtained through your medical group.

Emergency Room Copay Change – The emergency room copay is changing from $25 per visit to $75 per visit. The copay is waived if your visit results in you being admitted to the hospital from the emergency room visit.

Prescription Copay Change – The retail prescription copays for up to a 30 day supply are changing from $5 to $10 for Generic, $15 to $20 for Brand and $35 remains the same for Non-Formulary. The mail order prescription copays for up to a 90 day supply are changing from $10 to $20 for Generics, $30 to $40 for Brand and $70 remains the same for Non-Formulary.

Current Plan  New Plan Effective 7/1/12 
Health Net HMO 5KF $5 OV, Rx $5/$15/$35, Chiro  Health Net HMO Custom 5KF $15 OV, Rx $10/$20/$35, Chiro 
Annual Deductible (individual/family) None None
Annual Maximum Copayments (individual/two-party/family) $1,000 / $2,000 / $2,500 $1,000 / $2,000 / $2,500
Physician/Specialist Office Visits $5 copay $15 copay 
Room & Board Hospital Inpatient (semi-private) No charge No charge
Outpatient Services No charge No charge
Emergency Room Services (waived if admitted) $25 copay $75 copay 
Urgent Care Services(waived if admitted) $20 copay $20 copay
Ambulance Services No charge No charge
Chiropractic Care $10 copay up to 30 visits per calendar year $10 copay up to 30 visits per calendar year
Vision Exams $5 copay $15 copay 
Self-Administered injectables No charge No charge
Prescription Drug Copay (Retail Pharmacy – 30 Day Supply) $5 Generic / $15 Brand /$35 Non-Formulary $10 Generic / $20 Brand /$35 Non-Formulary


Prescription Drug Copay (Mail Order – 90 Day Supply) $10 Generic / $30 Brand /$70 Non-Formulary $20 Generic / $40 B /$70 Non-Formulary


The information presented in the chart is a summary only. The information does not include all of the detailed explanation of benefits, exclusions and limitations. Plan participants should refer to the Evidence of Coverage (EOC) document for coverage details. In the event information in this summary differs from the EOC, the EOC will prevail. 

Contract Ratified

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Our new 2-year contract that the teachers ratified by a huge margin, has been approved by the District.

Tentative Agreement Ratified

The votes have been counted and by an overwhelming majority the new two year tentative agreement has been approved by SCTA.  The agreement will now head to the SCUSD board for final approval from the District.  We would like to thank you all for voting and participating in the ratification process.

  • The last agreement allowed the district to make two “openers” or to open our contract on two issues.
  • The district has closed its $28M shortfall and submitted a balanced budget, but could still be at risk for negative certification from SCOE.
  • The current state budget is dependent on a state tax measure passing in November. If it does not pass, there could be a $15M cut that would be triggered after the election and hitting around mid-way through the school year.
  • If we had not come to an agreement, the district could “impose” a “solution” and then take us to “fact-finding” with an arbitrator, which would have left us with no other option than to strike. In the current fiscal climate, the arbitration process has not been favorable to teacher unions, and has been finding for districts more and more often.

What does this deal do?

  • It closes the contract with very limited openers for two years.
  • It has two sets of cuts for teacher salary and benefits, the larger of which would only take effect in the event the tax measure in November does not pass.

What are some of the main points?

  • There will be two furlough days (that will be taken on Monday and Tuesday of Thanksgiving week) within a new calendar that was tentatively agreed to contingent on ratification of this agreement. Our pay will be adjusted to reflect fewer working days without affecting service credit for STRS retirement.
  • The $95 monthly contribution being made for CSR will end.  Step and column increases will occur.  Most salary cells will not see a reduction in their paychecks in the 2012-13 and 2013-14 school years.
  • Co-pays for Kaiser will go to $10 per visit, $10 for prescription medications, and $75 for emergency care; HealthNet will go to $15 for office visits, $75 for emergency room, and the prescription tiers will go to $10, $20, and $35 respectively.
  • No evaluation in the 2012-13 School year for teachers who will be teaching split grade elementary classes.
  • Married couples or domestic partners that are both employed by the District and will have one health plan that covers both employees.
  • The rebate received by members with only single insurance will be eliminated.
  • A salary increase originating from the June 14, 2010 agreement that was due to be applied to the salary schedule next year will be deferred until July 1, 2014.
  • If the initiative fails, there could be up to an additional 10 (ten) furlough days with salary reductions to reflect the loss of those work days.
  • If the initiative fails the district will not be able to pull teachers from classrooms for “trainings” by having a substitute cover the class, but will instead need to schedule it during furlough days.
  • We anticipate the District will use the savings from this agreement to being back as many of our laid off members as possible.
  • A silver-lining is that we can stop the additional furlough days from happening by ensuring the tax measure passes. It is going to be in our interest to work as hard as possible to pass this initiative. If we don’t, and it doesn’t pass, we will feel it in our pocketbooks to the tune of around $3,000 per member.

Tentative Agreement

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Sacramento City Teachers Association and

Sacramento City Unified School District 

2012-1013 and 2013-2014 Fiscal Years

 The Sacramento City Teachers Association (“SCTA”) and the Sacramento City Unified School District  (“District”),collectively referred to as “the parties” have considered their mutual interests and recognized the value of and benefit of a positive  long-term relationship.


A. Weaknesses in state revenues have burdened State and local governments.

B. The Governor and State Legislature are attempting to craft a state budget that will impact the local school districts’ revenues in a constrained fiscal environment.

C. As a result,state education funding for the District  has been diminished in recent fiscal years.

Accordingly, the parties agree as follows:

1.  The parties recognize that this Agreement  anticipates that the state school finance system will remain substantially unchanged as prescribed in current law.  If there is a significant change in the funding system (e.g., “sweeping” of categorical funds, weighted student formula,or some other significant structural change in funding),the District will provide  prompt written notification to the SCTA of its belief that such a change has occurred. Based on this notification, the parties  will meet promptly thereafter to negotiate modifications to this Memorandum that attempts to carry forward the intent of the current agreement while also conforming to the relevant changes in the school funding system.

2. Reduction of the 2012-13 and 2013-14 Work Years

Each unit member’s work year and corresponding compensation shall be reduced by a total of two (2) days in each of the 2012-13 and 2013-14 work years. The days that shall be eliminated from each unit member’s work year shall be non-work days,and shall be determined by mutual agreement of the parties.  The value of each day shall be calculated at the rate of .54% and the salary schedule for the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 work years shall be reduced accordingly.

3. Possible Further Reduction of the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 Work Years

If the initiative  titled {(TEMPORARY TAXES TO FUND EDUCATION. GUARANTEED LOCAL PUBLIC SAFETY FUNDING” is not passed by the voters in November 2012, and the failure of this initiative results in a loss of base revenue limit to the District as specified below, each bargaining unit member’s work year and corresponding compensation shall be reduced by up to an additional ten (10) days in 2012-13 and possibly carried forward into 2013-14, as follows:

A) If  by January 1, 2013, it is known that the state shall reduce the District’s 2012-13 funded base revenue limit per student (BRL/ADA} by more than $50/ADA below the current level of $5,211due to failure of the initiative, and this loss is not offset by other potential unrestricted increases in state or federal funding,each bargaining unit member’s work year shall be reduced by one day for every $28 of funded BRL/ADA reduced (or major portion  thereof) beyond the first $50 of funded BRL/ADA reduced, up to a maximum often (10) days beyond those already provided for in Paragraph 2 above. The salary schedule shall be redu.ced by 0.54% for every day cut. If the initiative  fails and if by January 1, 2013 there is a reduction in the District’s funded BRL/ADA of more than five hundred dollars ($500), the parties agree to implement the 10 day reduction and to re-open negotiations to discuss the impact of the funding reduction. Paragraph 1shall supersede paragraph 3 {A).

 B) This reduction in the work year and salary schedule, if any, shall continue into 2013-14 unless the District’s 2013-14 funded BRL/ADA is increased by $50 per student or more beyond that provided in 2012-13. In that case, one work day (and corresponding increase in salary) shall be added to the work year for every $28 of funded BRL/ADA increased {or major portion thereof) beyond the first $50 BRL/ADA increase,up to full restoration of the days (and corresponding salary) reduced in Paragraph 3A above.

 C)  If the District receives any increase in its funded BRL/ADA for 2012-13,or an increase in funded BRL/ADA for 2013-14 that exceeds that necessary for full restoration of the days (and corresponding salary) as specified in Paragraphs 3 A & B above,the parties agree to immediately reopen negotiations to bargain over possible enhancements to bargaining unit members’ compensation.

 D) If state law does not allow the school year to be reduced up to ten (10) days in either year,the parties shall reopen negotiations for the sole purpose of determining if/how unit members’. compensation may be reduced to accommodate a temporary reduction in pay/benefits that equates to the difference in what has already been reduced due to loss of days and the maximum possible loss of ten (10) days’ pay {per the formula detailed in subparagraphs 3A & 3B above).

 E) The designation of days for reduction shall be by mutual agreement of the parties. In the event of no agreement regarding the designation of the work days to be eliminated, those days shall be taken at the end of the work year.

 F) Any days as prescribed in paragraph 2 and 3A above shall be taken around a District shutdown day. All District employees (excluding child development and adult education as needed to administer their programs) will take these as non-paid days and facilities shall be closed (e.g.,Christmas Day).

 G)  The District acknowledges the importance of teacher’s uninterrupted instructional minutes with students. In an effort to honor that time the District and SCTA agree to work together to significantly reduce the number of District Initiated Absences (DIA).  If the language in subparagraph 3A or 3B is triggered in either the 2012-13 or the 2013-14 school years the parties agree to work together to create a process for the continuation  of any training during that school year.

 4.  Effect of Reductions

 A) For 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 school years, the SCTA salary schedules shall be revised in accordance with Paragraphs 2 and/or 3.

 B) To avoid a negative long-term impact on service credit towards retirement,and taking into account the current requirement of one hundred seventy-five (175) days to meet the standard of full time for retirement credit,the District shall implement the work year reduction to avoid impacting services credit towards retirement to the extent allowed by law.

5. Health Care Adjustments

Effective the 2012-2013 plan year, the health plan covering bargaining unit members shall be amended to provide the following:

A. Those unit members under the Kaiser plan shall have a co-pay for office visits of $10, an emergency room co-pay of $75,and prescription coverage of $10.

B. Those unit members under the Health Net plan shall have a co-pay for office visits of $15, emergency room co-pay of $75 and tiered prescription coverage of $10, $20 and $35.

C. Jn the event that a unit member has a spouse or domestic partner who is also employed by the District, the District. shall pay only for one plan to cover the unit member and his/her spouse/domestic partner.

D. The seventy five dollar ($75) per month rebate paid to employees with employee-only health insurance coverage will be eliminated.

6. Subsection 4d of the June 14, 2010 agreement between the district and SCTA provides:  ”On July 1, 2012 the savings shall be applied to the SCTA salary schedule as a flat dollar amount on each cell.”  This payment shall be deferred until July 1, 2014 when the saving shall be applied to the SCTA salary schedule.

 7. Except as otherwise provided in paragraphs 1and 3,the-terms of the collective bargaining agreement between the parties’ shall be closed for the 2012-2013 and the 2013-2014 school years.

 8. Teachers who are assigned to teach split classes (more than one grade level) shall not receive an evaluation per Article 6 of the collective bargaining agreement in the 2012-2013 school year.

 9. This tentative  agreement shall not be effective until and unless it has been ratified by SCTA and approved by the District’s Board of Education. The SCTA and District bargaining team acknowledge that by their signatures below they are entering into a good faith commitment to support this Agreement and take whatever actions are necessary to obtain the approval of the parties they represent.














‘–s7o5mith, President





Dave Fisher, Chairperson
































News Messenger May 29th

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May 29, 2012


Don’t Panic!  If you have not received your letter with your date and time to come in for surplussing, it’s because the district mailed them last Friday, May 25.  The district is calling those teachers who are going to surplussing this week with the assumption everyone will receive their letters by the end of this week.  If you haven’t received a call or a letter we have the list so please call SCTA if you need clarification. 


Many of you have received the lifetime benefits status request form by mail.  We knew there would probably be some questions about this complicated matter, and there were.  This is the opportunity to clarify with the district whether you meet the  requirements under the old rules, or if you fall under the new classifications.  For those of you who have 10 years AND are at least 55 years old qualify under the old rules-and please note; you do not have to retire by July 1, 2013, you merely need to meet the qualifications.


This Friday is the End of the Year/Retiree Picnic.  Everyone is welcome! The more the merrier!  Plenty of food, plenty of sunshine, and plenty of great friends and family all munching down on burgers, hot dogs, “snausages,” fruit, chips, dessert and other stuff.   Everything starts at 3:00 pm and ends at 6.  See you there!

Last Friday night in an emergency meeting, the SCUSD School Board unanimously voted (Gustavo Arroyo was not present) to reject a decision reached in recent layoff hearings by the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), which invalidated many of the lay-off “skipping” criteria that the District had used for issuing pink slips. The ALJ (who served as an independent third party) found:

• Many priority school skips were invalid.

• A number of math skips were invalid.

• Some special education, dual language and Accelerated Academy skips were invalid.

• The District could not bar reassignment of more senior teachers to a priority school.

The ALJ’s ruling would have resulted in 90 pink-slipped teachers being called back to work for the coming year.   Because the Board chose to reject part of the ruling, approx.. 60 of those teachers will be issued permanent lay-off notices.


Interestingly, in the San Francisco Unified School District last week, an ALJ invalidated similar lay-off skipping at select Superintendent Zone schools.  Unlike our Board, the trustees in San Francisco chose to accept the ALJ ruling.


SCTA strongly opposed the Board’s action Friday night.   For the reasons explained below, we consider the Board’s decision among the most egregious in memory and a direct assault on the future of our local.


  • SCTA strongly supports efforts to make every school in this District a nurturing, highly professional and academically successful place.  This was most recently demonstrated when our members overwhelmingly voted to voluntarily give back to the District $95/mo. of each member’s pay for two years in order to fund lower class sizes District-wide in the critically important K-3 years.  Teachers supported this even though, for most, such a program would not alleviate the crowding and strain at the grade levels in which they teach.  We did it because it was the right thing to do for our students, especially the very large number of high needs students and families we serve District-wide.


  • We are a Title 1 District with 85 schools and about 65% of the students living in poverty.  Nearly a quarter of our students are designated as English Language Learners.  These high needs students are not solely concentrated in the seven schools Superintendent Raymond designated as his priority schools, but are spread out in a majority of our schools throughout the District.


  • The decision by the Superintendent to concentrate District funding and attention to seven designated priority schools has created a situation where precious resources, including staffing guarantees, are being funneled away from the many other high needs schools and kids throughout the District.  Especially during this time of unprecedented fiscal crisis, this policy decision must be critically analyzed both to its ethical basis and its compliance with state law, which is what the ALJ was duty-bound to consider.


  • During the lay-off hearings, the District failed to provide sufficient evidence to convince the ALJ that all of the priority schools special staffing guarantees (“skips”) were justified under state law.  This ruling does not in any way call into question the enormous dedication the teachers at the seven priority schools have demonstrated over the past two years.  Rather, it underscores the failure of the District administration to provide for the needs of the students at the seven priority schools at the same time as it provides for the needs of the students at the District’s 78 other schools.


  • This District failure perhaps can best be seen in the plight of Luther Burbank High School.  Like Hiram Johnson High School, Burbank is a school serving students from high poverty neighborhoods with large numbers of English Language Learners. Statistics show Burbank with a larger student population, larger English Language Learner population and larger high poverty population than Johnson (nearly 100%).  Burbank, however, is not a designated Superintendent priority school.  This is largely due to the work of Burbank’s long-time principal, Ted Appel, in attracting a stable, experienced staff who have worked well together over the long haul to create successful academic and social programs for the students.  However, due to the staffing and resource demands of the Superintendent’s priority school program, Burbank is set to lose nearly a quarter of its staff and the continuing viability of its unique programs, including the only International Baccalaureate program in the District.


  • The ALJ’s ruling is a warning to the Board that some of the Superintendent’s priority school staffing program was likely illegal.  Heeding the ruling would have provided the Board with the opportunity to critically consider the impacts of this program District-wide, not merely at the seven priority schools.  Since the timing of this ruling would have brought back 60 more pink-slipped teachers, while leaving in place the priority school teachers, no student, teacher or program would have been harmed.


  • The Board could have chosen to direct to the Superintendent to work over the next year with SCTA to seek resource solutions that are equitable and respectful of the needs of all our District students, schools and teachers, without undermining the progress at the seven priority schools.


  • The Board could have rejected the cynicism, divisiveness and fiscal irresponsibility on display in the email sent to Hiram Johnson High School staff by the school principal, Felisberto Cedros, who wrote, “[T]he Superintendent is inclined to ignore the Administrative Law Judge’s ruling and force SCTA to file a lawsuit against the District; that can happen with the support of the Board of Education.”  [Italics mine.]


  • The Board could have decided that it needs to follow the law.


  • Instead, the Board chose the path outlined in Mr. Cedros’ email: “force SCTA to file a lawsuit against the District….”  In doing so, it demonstrated its eagerness to rob from our students and families by spending ever-more-precious education dollars on lawyers instead of kids.

    We are currently exploring all avenues in response.  We will keep you updated.

SCTA has endorsed the following candidates for the Sacramento County School Board:

These races are critical because of recent actions the superintendent of the county has taken to interfere in our contract negotiations, and the county approving charter school applications for schools in our district (the Margaret Fortune schools).

 To help with Harold Fong in Area 7 (Hollywood Park, Stockton Ave parts of South Sacramento)

Robert Lynch at 916-452-4591 (office) or 916-549-4272 (cell)

Sacramento City Teachers Association 5300 Elvas Ave in Sacramento

Phone banking at SCTA is starting next week 4pm-7pm Monday through Thursday


To help with phoning or walking for Estelle Lemeiux in Area 4 (Citrus Heights, Carmichael, Orangevale)

  • Mondays: Phone Banking 4:30pm-8pm
  • Tuesdays: Phone Banking 4:30pm-8pm
  • Wednesdays: Phone Banking 4:30pm-8pm
  • Thursdays: Phone Banking 4:30pm-8pm
  • Fridays: Phone Banking 4:30pm-8pm
  • Saturday (5/19 only): Walk and drop only 10:30am-1pm

Meet at the San Juan TA Office (916)487-7582
5820 Landis Avenue in Carmichael, CA

Contact: Bill Simmons (916)947-6018


To help with phoning or walking for Heather McGowan in Area 5 (Folsom, Orangevale, Rancho Cordova)

Please contact Zak Ford at 916-927-9772 Ext. 229 (office) or 916-813-6658(cell)


 SCTA has endorsed the following candidates Sacramento City Council candidates:

 Rob Kerth  (District 2)

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 5:30-8pm, phonebanks

Saturdays @10am, precinct walking

All events take place at 400 Slobe Ave. Please contact Natalie Rojas at for more information.

 Terry Shanz (District 4)

 Kevin Mc Carty (district 6)

 Bonnie Pannell (District 8)