Bargaining Update

Bargaining Update: SCTA Negotiations

Overview

The Sacramento City Unified School District is facing a budget deficit. Costs are expected to exceed budget in future years. As has been reported widely in the news, rising health care premiums and pension costs to California schools are a significant factor in the district’s increased costs. The district also is facing a large debt obligation for other post employment benefits (OPEB). While the district has, and will continue to, invest the bulk of its budget on competitive salaries and benefits for teachers, we face significant fiscal challenges.

The SCUSD spends more on teacher salary and benefits and less on administrative costs than any other school district in the region. SCUSD teachers, on average, earn $91,238 per year in total salary and benefits—the highest total compensation package of all school districts in the region. The SCUSD spends 3.32 percent of its budget on administration costs—the lowest percentage of all districts in Sacramento County. The districts challenge is maintaining the highest average salary and benefits package for teachers in the region, while serving our students with the limited resources available. The following fact sheets help highlight the fiscal environment and realities under which the current negotiations process is taking place.

SCUSD Fiscal Outlook

Rising Pension Costs in California Schools

SCUSD Teacher Compensation Facts (CDE data analysis)

What Others Are Saying

SCUSD Budget Facts

Bargaining Meeting Updates

Click on each meeting date below to expand section.  

March 9, 2017

The District and SCTA held their sixteenth meeting on March 9, 2017 to continue negotiations for a successor contract.  This meeting was held at the SCTA by prior agreement to rotate locations.  The District began by sharing its desire to work collaboratively with SCTA’s negotiations team to reach a fair and equitable agreement that protects the interests of students, parents/guardians, unit members, and the District.  The District requested SCTA’s agreement to participate in the CECHCR Project’s health benefits analysis to identify savings by joining alternative pools while maintaining the same levels of coverage with no cost to unit members.  All other units have agreed – SCTA again refused.  The District continued by reiterating its prior and new proposals listed below.  The District also presented the attached salary schedules which include the District’s proposed salary increases:

For 2016-17:

  • 2% increase to salary schedule retroactive to July 1, 2016 for all unit members.
  • $10,000 bonus retroactive to July 1, 2016 for those hired for the 2016-17 school year and for new hires thereafter, to attract and retain Special Education, Science, hard to fill foreign language/immersion and Math teachers, and Nurses.  Payments to eligible unit members will be split over four years at $1,250 in each of the first two years, $2,500 in the third year, and the final $5,000 paid at end of fourth school year.  (Eligibility based on subject matter credential and assignment.)
  • $552 increase in stipends for Athletic Directors (move from Category B to Category A) and additional per diem compensation equivalent to one prep period.
  • All special day class teachers as defined by Special Education shall be provided preparation time equal to the preparation time provided other teachers in their school.

For 2017-18:

  • 4% increase to salary schedule for all unit members effective July 1, 2017 (based entirely on savings realized from SCTA’s participation in CalPERS or other health benefits pool through CECHCR Project with no change in health benefit coverage and no out-of-pocket to unit members)
  • [NEW] OR use the 4% increase to create a more competitive salary schedule. (See attached)
  • [NEW] Increase the current Doctorate stipend from $1,161 to $3,000.
  • Unlimited years of experience credited to new hires for placement on salary schedule effective July 1, 2017. 
  • Unlimited years of experience credited to current unit members for placement on salary schedule prospectively, i.e. current unit members will be credited for all years of experience as of July 1, 2017 and placed at applicable higher step moving forward.
  • Add up to an additional 20 FTE of Speech, Language, and Hearing Specialist to reduce caseloads to 55 students.
  • District will annually contribute amount equal to approximately 1.5% or more of total payroll for the Association to be placed in the jointly administered GASB fund (OPEB), subject to available funding.  (The District currently budgeted approximately $3 million for the 2017-18 school year.)

All remaining savings realized from joining CalPERS or other health benefits pool through CECHCR Project will be used to fund additional priorities as mutually agreed with SCTA, which may include, but not be limited to:

  • Art and Music
  • Athletic Director Prep
  • Assistant Athletic Director
  • Counselors
  • Class Size
  • Department Chair Leads 
  • Elementary Prep
  • Mentor Teachers
  • Money for Extra Duty Sections
  • Nurses
  • Program Specialists
  • School Psychologists

SCTA rejected the District’s proposals and stated their desire to declare impasse.  The District disagreed and reiterated its desire to continue negotiations.  SCTA refused and cancelled the parties’ previously agreed negotiation dates of March 14 and March 23, 2017.

The District is ready and willing to continue negotiations with SCTA.

February 22, 2017

The District and SCTA held their fifteenth meeting on February 22, 2017 to continue negotiations for a successor contract. This meeting was held at the SCTA by prior agreement to rotate locations. The District began by reiterating its proposals which include:

For 2016-17:

  • 2% increase to salary schedule retroactive to July 1, 2016 for all unit members.
  • $10,000 bonus retroactive to July 1, 2016 for those hired for the 2016-17 school year and for new hires thereafter, to attract and retain Special Education, Science, hard to fill foreign language/immersion and Math teachers, and Nurses.  Payments to eligible unit members will be split over four years at $1,250 in each of the first two years, $2,500 in the third year, and the final $5,000 paid at end of fourth school year.  (Eligibility based on subject matter credential and assignment.)
  • $552 increase in stipends for Athletic Directors (move from Category B to Category A) and additional per diem compensation equivalent to one prep period.
  • All special day class teachers as defined by Special Education shall be provided preparation time equal to the preparation time provided other teachers in their school.

For 2017-18:

  • 4% increase to salary schedule for all unit members effective July 1, 2017 (based entirely on savings realized from SCTA’s participation in CalPERS or other health benefits pool through CECHCR Project with no change in health benefit coverage and no out-of-pocket to unit members)
  • Unlimited years of experience credited to new hires for placement on salary schedule effective July 1, 2017. 
  • Unlimited years of experience credited to current unit members for placement on salary schedule prospectively, i.e. current unit members will be credited for all years of experience as of July 1, 2017 and placed at applicable higher step moving forward.
  • Add up to an additional 20 FTE of Speech, Language, and Hearing Specialist to reduce caseloads to 55 students.
  • District will annually contribute amount equal to approximately 1.5% or more of total payroll for the Association to be placed in the jointly administered GASB fund (OPEB), subject to available funding.  (The District currently budgeted approximately $3 million for the 2017-18 school year.)
  • All remaining savings realized from joining CalPERS or other health benefits pool through CECHCR Project will be used to fund additional priorities as mutually agreed with SCTA, which may include, but not be limited to:
    • Art and Music
    • Athletic Director Prep
    • Assistant Athletic Director
    • Counselors
    • Class Size
    • Department Chair Leads 
    • Elementary Prep
    • Mentor Teachers
    • Money for Extra Duty Sections
    • Nurses
    • Program Specialists
    • School Psychologists

SCTA agreed in part with the District’s proposal to allow unlimited years of experience for current unit members in the 2017-18 school year.  SCTA rejected all other District proposals. 

The District and SCTA will reconvene negotiations at SCTA on March 9.

February 15, 2017

The District and SCTA held their fourteenth meeting on February 15, 2017 to continue negotiations for a successor contract.  This meeting was held at the Serna Center by prior agreement to rotate locations.  The District began by presenting its proposals which include:

For 2016-17:   

  • 2% increase to salary schedule retroactive to July 1, 2016 for all unit members.
  • $10,000 bonus retroactive to July 1, 2016 for those hired for the 2016-17 school year and for new hires thereafter, to attract and retain Special Education, Science, hard to fill foreign language/immersion and Math teachers, and Nurses.  Payments to eligible unit members will be split over four years at $1,250 in each of the first two years, $2,500 in the third year, and the final $5,000 paid at end of fourth school year.  (Eligibility based on subject matter credential and assignment.)
  • $552 increase in stipends for Athletic Directors (move from Category B to Category A) and additional per diem compensation equivalent to one prep period.
  • All special day class teachers as defined by Special Education shall be provided preparation time equal to the preparation time provided other teachers in their school.

For 2017-18:

  • 4% increase to salary schedule for all unit members effective July 1, 2017 (based entirely on savings realized from SCTA’s participation in CalPERS or other health benefits pool through CECHCR Project with no change in health benefit coverage and no out-of-pocket to unit members)
  • Unlimited years of experience credited to new hires for placement on salary schedule effective July 1, 2017. 
  • Unlimited years of experience credited to current unit members for placement on salary schedule prospectively, i.e. current unit members will be credited for all years of experience as of July 1, 2017 and placed at applicable higher step moving forward.
  • Speech, Language, and Hearing Specialist caseloads reduced to 55 students.
  • District will annually contribute amount equal to approximately 1.5% or more of total payroll for the Association to be placed in the jointly administered GASB fund (OPEB), subject to available funding.  (The District currently budgeted approximately $3 million for the 2017-18 school year.)
  • All remaining savings realized from joining CalPERS or other health benefits pool through CECHCR Project will be used to fund additional priorities as mutually agreed with SCTA, which may include, but not be limited to:
    • Art and Music
    • Athletic Director Prep
    • Assistant Athletic Director
    • Counselors
    • Class Size
    • Department Chair Leads 
    • Elementary Prep
    • Mentor Teachers
    • Money for Extra Duty Sections
    • Nurses
    • Program Specialists
    • School Psychologists

The District and SCTA will reconvene negotiations at SCTA on February 22.

January 27, 2017

No Decision Reached On Start of School for 17/18

SCUSD values its many teachers and their commitment to the students and families we serve.  The district also recognizes that our teachers play an integral role in preparing our students for college and career readiness.  For these reasons, we are committed to working collaboratively with the Sacramento City Teachers Association (SCTA) Leadership Team to reach a fair and equitable agreement that protects the interests of students, parents/guardians, teachers and the district.

The district’s leadership team is working diligently in good faith to negotiate a new labor contract with SCTA’s Leadership. The bargaining teams have already met eleven times. The 12th meeting with SCTA on Tuesday night did not go well. Less than 45 minutes into a planned three-hour bargaining session, the union representatives walked out of the talks.

The district began by presenting a proposed meeting agenda that called for discussing the 2017-18 and 2018-19 school calendars first and then moving on to the district’s compensation proposals and responses. The proposed calendars will move the first day of school to mid-August to benefit students and families. This is more in alignment with other school districts in our area. In calls to the district office, parents and staff have been increasingly concerned about when school will open next year so they can make plans accordingly.

The district presented the calendars to SCTA’s Leadership in November and requested their response in December, but SCTA refused to discuss the matter.  It is crucial that the calendar is set so parents can make informed enrollment choices. The change also benefits both elementary and high school students by providing more instructional time leading up to required state testing and advanced placement/college entrance exams.  The change also benefits families by rescheduling semesters to end and start before and after the Winter Break, and frees up time for teens interested in seeking summer jobs.  This will also help the district in its efforts to recruit new teachers by clarifying the work year.

The district expressed its desire to negotiate the calendar at the table and SCTA Leadership requested a brief private caucus. SCTA Leadership returned and said they had no interest in discussing the calendar.  The district then asked for a brief caucus, at which time SCTA Leadership stated that if the district’s team was not back in five minutes they would leave. When the district’s team returned after 10 minutes in closed session, SCTA was gone.

The district’s bargaining team spent countless hours of valuable staff time over the Winter Break analyzing the budget and preparing a compensation proposal and counterproposals for this meeting.  The team repeatedly stated it was prepared to pass that information to SCTA’s Leadership during the meeting and was disappointed that SCTA’s Leadership was unwilling to discuss the calendar before launching into a protracted discussion about the district budget factors and compensation proposal.

The district’s bargaining team is very disheartened by SCTA Leadership’s refusal to negotiate the calendar which is in the best interests of students, families and other stakeholders. An agreement about teacher compensation can always be retroactive. An agreement on the calendar and work year cannot be made retroactive.

The district appreciates its dedicated teachers and staff, and is optimistic that both sides will resolve this issue in earnest.  Accordingly, the District and SCTA will reconvene negotiations on Monday, January 30.

December 19, 2016

The district and SCTA held their tenth meeting on December 19 to continue negotiations for a successor contract. This meeting was held again at SCTA by prior agreement to skip one rotation of locations. 

The district presented its counterproposal for Article 11 (Safety Concerns) which proposes new language to address restorative practices that benefits students and families. Specifically, the district’s proposal seeks to develop a site restorative practices and equity team consisting of teachers, school administrators, students and parents/members of the community. The equity teams would assist with identifying needs at individual sites supported with resources from the Equity Office. The district also presented its counterproposals for Article 8 (Transfers) and Article 9 (Leaves).

The district is currently reviewing SCTA’s January 12 fiscal proposal which requests sizeable increases in compensation, as well as other items. The district is conducting a total “cost out” of each request to determine the potential financial impact to the district, and its programs and services for students and families.      

The district and SCTA will reconvene negotiations on December 21 at the Serna Center.  

December 12, 2016

The district and SCTA held their ninth meeting on December 12 to continue negotiations for a successor contract. This meeting was held at SCTA by prior agreement to rotate locations. 

The district presented its proposals for Article 9 (Leaves) and Article 25 (Successor Agreement), in addition to presenting counterproposals for Article 7 (Assignments), Article 8 (Transfers), and Article 11 (Safety Concerns). SCTA presented its proposals for Article 9 (Leaves), Article 12 (Compensation), Article 13 (Employee Benefits), Article 15 (Substitutes), and a new article to replace Appendix D (Special Education). 

The district and SCTA reached a Tentative Agreement on Article 7 (Assignments), and mutually agreed to keep the current contract language for Article 19 District Rights, Article 22 Professional Growth, and Article 23 Classroom Teacher Instructional Improvement Program.  To date, the District and SCTA have reached tentative and/or mutual agreements on 13 articles of the successor contract. 

The District is currently reviewing SCTA’s fiscal proposals with the goal of reaching a fair and equitable agreement that protects the interests of students, parents/guardians, unit members, and the District.    

The District and SCTA will reconvene negotiations on December 19 at SCTA.

November 30, 2016

The district and SCTA held their eighth meeting on November 30 to continue negotiations for a successor contract. This meeting was held at the Serna Center by prior agreement to rotate locations. 

SCTA presented its counterproposal to Article 8 (Transfers). The district is currently reviewing that counterproposal to ensure compliance with a recent law which prohibits granting transfer priority to in-district teachers over outside applicants after April 15 in any school year.

The district presented its counterproposals to Article 7 (Assignments), Article 11 (Safety Concerns), and Article 24 (Site-Based Decision Making).  The district and SCTA mutually agreed to keep the current contract language for Article 16 (Liaison Committee) and Article 21 (Organizational Security). 

The district also presented SCTA with draft calendar proposals for the 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years.

The district and SCTA will reconvene negotiations on December 12 at SCTA.

November 28, 2016

The district and SCTA held their seventh meeting on November 29 to continue negotiations for a successor contract. This meeting was held at SCTA’s office, per the agreement to rotate locations.

The district and SCTA each passed conceptual proposals regarding special education and Appendix D in the current contract. The district’s proposal includes updating the contract to ensure compliance with legal requirements in serving students with special needs and eliminating Appendix D. The district’s proposal also provides paid training to general education teachers that serve special needs students, which will benefit all students served.

The district raised concerns with SCTA’s proposal which included a requirement that a mandatory meeting be held with a teacher before any incoming special needs students can be included in the class. The district pointed out that such a requirement is inconsistent with the law.

The district and SCTA will reconvene negotiations on November 30 at the Serna Center. 

November 14, 2016

The district and SCTA held their sixth meeting on November 14 to continue negotiations for a successor contract. This meeting was held at the Serna Center by prior agreement to rotate locations. 

The district and SCTA signed Tentative Agreements for Article 3 (Effect of Agreement), Article 6 (Evaluations), and Article 10 (Personnel Files). The district also presented its proposal to revise and update Article 14 (Personal and Academic Freedom), consistent with Board policies/regulations. 

SCTA rejected the district’s proposal to revise Article 24 (Site-Based Decision Making), which included the establishment of a Collaborative Assessment Team to support teaching and learning for all of our students by creating a comprehensive and balanced assessment system.

SCTA also rejected the district’s proposal to establish a Visual and Performing Arts Advisory Committee to draft a Strategic Arts Plan to increase access to the Visual and Performing Arts (Art, Music, Theatre, and Dance) at all SCUSD schools. SCTA did not present any new proposals.

The district also proposed to schedule a meeting with the CECHCR Project to receive preliminary information of their study of district health benefits plans to identify potential savings by reducing costs. SCTA stated its preference to hold a telephone conference but was “open” to an in-person meeting with the district and project coordinator. The District will work with the project and SCTA to schedule that important meeting.

The district and SCTA will reconvene negotiations on November 28 at SCTA.

November 9, 2016

The district and SCTA held their fifth meeting on November 9 to continue negotiations for a successor contract. This meeting was held at SCTA by prior agreement to rotate locations. 

The district reported that the CECHCR Project study of district health benefits plans, to identify potential savings by reducing costs, is moving forward as planned. All necessary information has been released for the study and the project’s coordinator has proposed dates to present their initial analysis to SCTA.

The district presented its counterproposals to SCTA regarding Articles 6 (Evaluations) and 7 (Assignments). The district presented its proposals for Articles 3 (Effect of Agreement) and 10 (Personnel Files). The district also presented its proposal to revise Article 24 (Site Based Decision Making), to focus on establishing a framework for collaborative decision making that benefits our students.

The district’s proposal includes the establishment of a Collaborative Assessment Team to support teaching and learning for all of our students by creating a comprehensive and balanced assessment system. The district’s proposal also includes the establishment of a Visual and Performing Arts Advisory Committee to draft a Strategic Arts Plan to increase access to the Visual and Performing Arts (Art, Music, Theatre, and Dance) at all SCUSD schools.

SCTA did not present any new proposals.

The district and SCTA will reconvene negotiations on November 14 at the Serna Center. 

November 2, 2016

The District and SCTA held their fourth meeting on November 2 to continue negotiations for a successor contract.  This meeting was held at the Serna Center by prior agreement to rotate locations. 

The District presented its counter-proposals to SCTA regarding Articles 4 Grievance Procedure and 6 Evaluations. The District presented its proposals for Articles 8 Transfers and 11 Safety Concerns. The District and SCTA also reached a tentative agreement on Article 4 Grievance Procedure which will help to resolve grievances more efficiently. 

Specifically, the new language extends the time period for holding a Level 1 meeting from 10 working days to 15 working days, and establishes two fixed dates twice a month for such meetings. The signing of this tentative agreement was followed with jubilant applause by all in attendance.

The District and SCTA will reconvene negotiations on November 9 at SCTA.

October 26, 2016

The district and SCTA held their third meeting on October 26 to continue negotiations for a successor contract. This meeting was held at SCTA by prior agreement to rotate locations. 

The district presented its counterproposals to SCTA regarding Articles 1, 2, and 18. The District and SCTA also tentatively agreed to new language in Articles 1 and 2, as well as a new cover page, preamble, and to keep Article 26 “as is” with the contract’s duration to be added at a later date. SCTA presented its proposals for Articles 5 and 7, which the district is reviewing. 

The district and SCTA will reconvene negotiations on November 2 at the Serna Center. 

October 17, 2016

The district and SCTA held their second meeting on October 17, 2016, to continue negotiations for a successor contract, at the district office. The District presented SCTA with a proposed agenda to guide the process which included:

  • Ground Rules/Norms;
  • Minutes;
  • CECHCR Project Update;
  • SCTA 2016-17 Proposals/District Response; and
  • Confirm/Set Future Dates

The district presented a revised proposal of five condensed ground rules which includes negotiating without personal attacks; teams having up to “60” members during after-work hours, and up to “12” members during work hours, without the general public; and that all proposals be presented in writing.

SCTA did not agree or object to the ground rules. Although SCTA continues to sidestep this issue, the parties will need to negotiate a reasonable number of representatives for negotiations held during work hours to reach a timely agreement. To date, SCTA has only agreed to meet during after-work hours. The district reserved its right to continue negotiating ground rules before moving forward with this meeting.

The district proposed the parties keep mutual minutes as a collaborative record of each meeting. SCTA refused this proposal.

The district reported that the CECHCR Project study of district health benefits plans, to identify potential savings by reducing costs, is moving forward as planned. 

The district presented its counter-proposals to SCTA which included utilizing mediation as a pre-arbitration step to resolve grievances amicably. Currently, mediation is available in the contract as a voluntary option. Mediation utilizes the assistance of a state mediator to resolve differences at no cost to the district or SCTA, which can result in a binding agreement between the grievant and employer.

Unfortunately, SCTA consistently disregards mediation opting instead to prosecute grievances at arbitration. Arbitration is a costly process that involves a formal hearing with lawyers, court reporters, etc. Arbitration does not foster collaborative resolution of grievances and often results in unnecessary delay as both parties are left waiting for the arbitrator’s decision which can take up to six months or more after the hearing. SCTA rejected the district’s proposal.

The district also proposed to establish a committee comprised of teachers, substitute teachers and administrators to develop evaluation tools and procedures for evaluating these educators. SCTA shared its interest in discussing this proposal further.

The district and SCTA will reconvene negotiations on October 26. 

October 11, 2016

The district and the Sacramento City Teachers Association met on October 11 to begin negotiations for a successor contract. This was the first negotiations session and was held at SCTA’s office according to a prior agreement to rotate locations for each meeting.

The district presented SCTA a proposed agenda, and its proposal for ground rules (norms) to establish a mutually agreeable framework during negotiations. The district notified SCTA prior to this session of its intent to present written ground rules and invited SCTA to present their own proposal. However, SCTA rejected the district’s proposal and did not provide any written counter-proposal for ground rules.

The district was notified prior to this session of SCTA’s desire to expand the size of their negotiations team to “60 members” comprised of unit leadership. However, the 60 were not all comprised of unit leadership but also included non-employee members of the public. The district expressed its concern that by law negotiations are not open to the public and could not move forward without approval from the Board. The District reiterated this concern when receiving SCTA’s proposal information.

The district invited SCTA to provide a written proposal for ground rules, and for negotiations that involve members of the public, at their next meeting on October 17.

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How’s that work? Learn about SCUSD’s budget

How’s that work? Learn about SCUSD’s budget

SCUSD works hard to be ensure that schools will have the funding needed to provide a high-quality education to students this year, next year and into the future.

The process to create a balanced budget that maintains fiscal stability over time is complex and can be confusing. (What costs are rising? What is one-time money?)

To help break down concepts, SCUSD created a video. Want more information? Visit www.scusd.edu/budget.

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Framing the Conversation

All of us in the Sacramento City Unified School District are driven by our passion for education and the future of our children. None of us would be in our profession if we didn’t value the importance of our schools and our role in preparing America’s next generation to succeed in the ever-changing world economy.