News Messenger 3-18-16
Latest Budget Has District with $8 Million Surplus
Wages Benefits $3.6 under Budget, Savings Attributed to Using Subs to Fill Open Vacancies
This week, we learned that the number of open positions currently in the District has swelled to over 150 (45 still unfilled this year, plus another 100+ more for next year). Ironically, yesterday KQED ran a report that described the staffing crisis in Oakland city schools citing the 14 unfilled vacancies in the Oakland Unified School District. The vacancies in Sac City are 10 times greater, and are expected to get even worse as more educators retire and others take jobs in surrounding Districts because of higher pay.
And last night in the District’s budget presentation to the elected school board we were shocked to learn that the District is currently $3,662,533 under budget on its spending for salaries and benefits, primarily because open positions are being filled with less costly substitutes. Click here to view the document Gerardo Castillo presented to the board.
In budget year 2015-16, the District now projects it will end the year spending$8,218,271 less than what it budgeted, with $12,158,654 “unappropriated,” which means the District hasn’t determined how its going to spend the money. In short, the District’s revenues are higher, and its spending is lower, even after adding administrators.
Unfortunately, rather than address the immediate crisis of teacher vacancies, elected board members, Jay Hansen, in particular, seemed to focus on the need to address the unfunded liability. Even when Chief Business Officer Gerardo Castillo explained more than once that SCTA members were currently the only SCUSD employees who were contributing toward the costs of retiree health benefits, Hansen, a former labor lobbyist, avoided comment on the staffing crisis, instead insisting that educators needed to contribute more to District.
The board seems untroubled by the fact that more and more of Sac City’s students are being taught by uncredentialed teachers and that educators are leaving the District in droves, all while the District is in the best financial position it has ever been. The board also has not challenged the District for hiring an additional 54 administrators at a cost of $9 million per year, while teaching positions remain unfilled.
The budget presentation also contradicted statements from the superintendent regarding the District’s revenues. Contrary to reports from the Superintendent, this year alone, the District general fund revenues are $63,232,095 higher than originally anticipated.
Emails to Board Having an Impact
Board members have been commenting on the emails they have been receiving. This communication seems to be having an effect in helping board members understand the crisis at Sac City. We also apologize for the typo in Darrel Woo’s email last week–it has been corrected below.
We strongly encourage you to keep up the dialogue about the crisis.
And the crisis can be summarized as follows:
Several teachers have already been in contact with school board members, and others have asked for information regarding who to contact.
Below is the contact information for each board member and the schools that are in their district.
Area 1: Jay Hansen: email– email@example.com
Area 2: Ellen Cochrane: email– firstname.lastname@example.org
Area 3 and Board president: Christina Pritchett:
Area 4: Gustavo Arroyo: email– email@example.com
Area 5: Diana Rodriguez: email– firstname.lastname@example.org
Area 6: Darrel Woo: email– email@example.com
Area 7: Jessie Ryan: email– firstname.lastname@example.org
The Rep Council is encouraging educators throughout the District to communicate with the SCUSD board member responsible for their assigned school, and, for those who live in the District, the board member in their voting area.
The Rep Council is also encouraging SCTA members to wear their new SCTA black T-Shirts every Thursday to show our unity and to remind administrators and board members of the need to make Sac City a more attractive place to work as an educator.
If you need an SCTA T-shirt, please contact your worksite rep by March 31, 2016.
Political Involvement Committee to Reconvene
SCTA Preparing for Elections
This year is a critical year in local elections, with 4 school board seats and Sacramento Mayor all open for election this year. Over the next few weeks, the PIC committee will begin the candidate endorsement process, beginning with school board Area 5 seat currently held by Diana Rodriguez who has stated publicly she is not running for re-election and the Sacramento mayor race.
As educators in the public sector, we are in the position of actually having the opportunity to elect our bosses. The endorsement process is the first step in a public official accountability program which begins with identifying those candidates who most likely to support the interests of educators and Sac City students, but also holding them accountable after the election.
Tentatively Scheduled for March 30th
The Surplus process has been tentatively schedule for Wednesday March 30th at the Serna Center. 28 teachers have been identified by the district as surplus. SCTA is currently investigating any questions that have come up regarding those identified for surplus. Please contact us or stop by the SCTA office at peer assistance time (2:30 to 5:30) on Monday the 28th. SCTA leadership and staff will be present at the surplus process to ensure that your contractual rights are upheld. The contract language regarding the surplus process is below. We suggest that you arrive early so that you are able to consider all possible choices for placement before it is your turn to be placed.
Here is the relevant contract language:
8.5.3 Step 1B – Surplus Placement
All surplus personnel shall be contacted by the Personnel Services Office. Each surplus employee shall have the opportunity to select two (2) positions in which he/she is interested and the employee shall be placed in one (1) of the identified positions. Such selections shall occur in the seniority order of the surplus employees if possible. If no position is available for which a surplus teacher qualifies during this period, the surplus teacher will be placed on a priority and seniority basis in the first available position for which he/she qualifies, including those positions which open in Steps 1 and 2. Such positions need not be advertised. Should two or more positions for which such teachers qualify become available at the same time, the teachers shall choose from among the positions on a seniority basis.
District’s Inaccurate Notice to Subs
Creates Unnecessary Confusion
In the last few day, the District’s Human Resources Department sent an inaccurate and harshly worded letter by certified mail to subs implying that their employment with the District has been terminated for cause.
We followed up with the District earlier this week and according to Cancy McArn, Chief Human Resource Officer, and Cindy Nguyen, Director of Employee Relations, the District seemed to understand that it needed to correct the impression it left with subs.
In a letter from Tiffany Smith-Simmons, the District did its best to reassure subs that they will receive notice that their employment will continue next year. A copy of Smith-Simmons’s letter can be found here.
It’s unfortunate that the Human Resources Department failed to give us a chance to review the letter before it went out, or even a heads up that it was going out. For what it’s worth, they have stated that will try to provide more information and provide better notice in the future.
SCTA Meeting for Probationary Staff Who Have Received Non-Re-elect Letters
March 28th at 4:30 p.m.
A small number of probationary employees have received letters from the District giving notice that they have been non-re-elected.
If you or any co-worker has received such a letter and has questions about how to respond we will be holding a meeting at the SCTA office on Monday, March 28th at 4:30 p.m. with our attorney to discuss options.
Sac State Faculty Ready to Strike for 5%
At the SCTA Rep Council meeting on March 10, representatives voted unanimously to support the faculty at Sac State (and throughout the Cal State system) in their fight to win a 5% wage increase. During the concession, faculty agreed to wage freezes and furlough days to help out the system, but since then even with improved revenue, the California State system has improved wages for administrators but seem to have forgotten about the faculty.
Faculty across the state has set a strike date of April 13-19th. They are waiting for the fact finding report, after which they will have a green light to move forward with the strike.
SCTA leaders met with a Sac State faculty union officer in a very productive meeting. We offered our support.
Hold the date: If the strike goes forward, we are planning on a large SCTA mobilization for April 14th after school. More details will be forthcoming.
Children’s Education and Health Care Protection Act
Extension of Prop 30 Petition-Gathering Underway
One significant reason that our District is in the best financial position it has been in its history is because California voters passed Proposition 30 in November 2012, which helped put our state’s budget on the path to recovery and opened up billions of dollars to return to education.
Because Prop 30 is set to sunshine, a coalition of educators, healthcare and community groups has come together to sponsor the Children’s Education and Health Care Protection Act. This temporary extension, which affects ONLY the top 2% of earners in the state, will expire in 12 years. It is expected to raise between $8 to 11 billion per year that will go into a special fund for K-12 education and community colleges.
Reps will be asking co-workers to sign the petition to qualify the initiative over the next week or so. Please take a minute to sign!
SCTA to Host Seminar on March 30th
SBAC INFORMATIONAL SEMINAR: On Wednesday, March 30th, SCTA will host a seminar put on by one of our teachers regarding Smarter Balanced testing. It will offer the basics of SBAC, including differences from CST, test design, Depth of Knowledge, and Universal Tools. Resources will also be covered.
The Seminar will be held at the SCTA office from 4 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. For more information,click here.
A light dinner of pizza, salads and beverages will be provided. Join us!
*The hour can be used for units to advance on the pay scale. Or, principals could agree to pay teachers who attend this seminar.
Human Rights Update
Cesar Chavez March Saturday March 26th
Happy Spring Break everyone!
Let your voice be heard at the Serna Center:
Celebrate influential women in sports this Women’s History Month at http://espn.go.com/espnw/news-commentary/slideshow/10533618/1/null
March 31 is Transgender Day of Visibility #MoreThan Visibility! TDOV is a day to show your support for the trans community. It aims to bring attention to the accomplishments of trans people around the globe while fighting cissexism and transphobia by spreading knowledge of the trans community. Unlike Transgender Day of Remembrance, this is not a day for mourning: this is a day of empowerment and getting the recognition we deserve! Find resources at http://www.transstudent.org/tdov
In celebration of trans community, Meet the First Trans White House LGBT Liaison! http://www.advocate.com/transgender/2016/3/14/latina-just-became-first-transgender-white-house-lgbt-liaison
Cesar Chavez March March 26th
The Cesar Chavez March is on Saturday, March 26th. Meet at 10am at Southside Park and march to the Capitol. The program starts at 12 pm. https://www.evensi.us/cesar-chavez-march-lclaa-sacramento-afl-cio-16th-annual/167069539