Our association and management met on Monday, Oct. 15 to negotiate two demands to bargain. We are negotiating language for Academic Support Teachers and the K – 8 Elementary Model schools. Click on the links below to see copies of our written proposals given to management.
We are very close to reaching agreement on the language changes needed for Academic Support Teachers. We believe both parties will sign off on this language at the next negotiation meeting.
The essence of the Demand to Bargain K-8 Model schools is equity. FSUTA believes teachers doing the same work should have equitable working conditions. Until last year, we had a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for grouping, teaming or switching of students among elementary teachers. The MOU ensured teachers at elementary model schools were voluntarily sharing students and the accompanying workload. Now that the MOU has expired, teachers are directed to switch students in an elementary school, thereby increasing their workload but without changing their class size limits or preparation time.
We had a lively discussion of the definition of what is the elementary model. Traditionally, the elementary school model is defined as a self-contained class in which multiple subjects are taught by one teacher to the same students for the school day. Our contract language was written when this was the understanding of the elementary model.
Rob Martinez agreed when he said, “Elementary school teachers have one class and they teach their students several different subjects. The curriculum is usually structured around the fundamental subjects of mathematics, science, social studies, language arts, music, art and reading.”
Currently, management directs teachers at most elementary grade levels will switch students for some instruction during the day. In grades 6-8 at K-8 elementary model schools, management directs teachers to switch students for core classes similar to the Middle School secondary model.
This explains why new language is necessary. We gave management our written proposal, which touched many different parts of the contract affected by K-8 Elementary schools as they currently exist in our district such as inclusion of Transitional Kindergarten, class size, student contact limits, preparation time, involuntary reassignment bands. etc.
Management provided verbally conceptual counter proposals.
Equitable preparation time is the main sticking point. With the switching of students, FSUTA believes all elementary teachers require preparation time similar to preparation time guaranteed to secondary model teachers. We proposed 40 minutes of preparation time daily for elementary teachers provided by release time specialists.
Management argued the concept of “unstructured time.” This is the time in the contract day before and after the instructional day. Management believes that there are 43 minutes of unstructured time in high school, 60-65 minutes in middle school and 85 minutes of unstructured time in Elementary. This “unstructured time” does not include release/prep time or lunch breaks. Management argues that because elementary teachers have more “unstructured time” than secondary teachers, the time for planning, grading, or otherwise “preparing” to teach is equitable in the current system.
It is clear that FSUSD management does not understand this “unstructured time” is often taken by administrative mandates, required meetings, working with students, talking with parents, making phone calls and other factors that prevents teachers from using this to prepare for their students. We will be back at the table on Nov. 1 to formally receive the FSUSD counter proposal.
In the interim, we need to hear your thoughts, stories and experiences. For us to be successful in negotiating equitable working conditions for all our teachers, management must know we are speaking for the majority of teachers who demand the equitable treatment they deserve.
Together we are stronger! Your Bargaining Team – Stephanie Cobb, Yolanda Blacknell-Mitchell, Elaine Yasonia, Louise Jacob and D.J. Bowen