Several bargaining sessions have been held this budget year with the Palos Verdes Faculty Association (PVFA) and another all-day meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, October 8th. In addition, informal conversations have also taken place between scheduled bargaining sessions.
There are two Board of Education meetings next week where collective bargaining topics related to PVFA, the California School Employee Association (CSEA), and non-represented employees will be discussed. The Board of Education needs to have complete budget information for the y ear and that information is being updated now. The Governor and legislature approved a radical new funding mechanism for public schools in July and the details have slowly trickled in.
For the past 4-5 years, school districts in California were forced to make budget reductions that negatively impacted employees and the instructional program in order to survive State budget cuts. These reductions included layoffs, furlough days, larger class sizes, salary reductions, and less support for extracurricular activities, instructional supplies/materials, and technology.
The budget picture has improved this year for school districts in California, but not enough to make up for all the reductions made since 2007-08.
At this time, we have offered proposed settlements to both PVFA & CSEA. Our settlement proposal to PVFA includes the restoration of work/instructional days, increased District contribution for medical benefits, two-year District calendar, clarification on length of work day, revised evaluation procedures, and professional development guidelines. This proposal has not led to a settlement.
The estimated cost of the current PVFA proposal is about $2.4 million a year, ongoing. This does not include the cost of extending the same financial package to other District employees. District leaders are open to exploring ways to reach a settlement, but the use of one-time money (i.e. reserves) to fund on-going costs could impact our ability to balance the District budget. There are also other demands on the budget that need to be addressed. For example, since August 12th, the Board has approved approximately $750,000 in new costs for restoring counselors and teaching positions, but that has not resolved all class size concerns.
The PVPUSD track record of success has been based on the whole community coming together (teachers, staff, support organizations, and taxpayers) to support the school district. Working together in a spirit of cooperation we will find common ground and workable solutions. The collective bargaining process in California (Educational Employment Relations Act) is a very structured system that delineates the rights and responsibilities of employers and employee organizations. This process can sometimes be slow, irritating, and cumbersome, but over the years it has led to mutually acceptable agreements in PVPUSD.