the completion of a period of 150 years. noun 2.a 150th anniversary or its celebration.
This year, CTA marks 150 years of
advocacy for our profession, our students and our public schools. And we will be
celebrating the entire year. Coincidentally, the California State Teachers
Retirement System (CalSTRS) turns 100 this year.
Over the next year,
we will explore and celebrate our past via social media, our website, our
publications, and our conferences. At the same time we will set the course for
our future through a new Strategic Planning Process. It’s an
exciting year, especially just coming from a successful election in which
Californians demonstrated their commitment to public education by approving the
first statewide tax increase in 20 years.
FREMONT – When Fremont Unified School District
officials refused to provide adequate proposals to lower class sizes and fairly
compensate educators earlier this week, the teachers’ union declared a
bargaining impasse and is starting to mobilize for a March 13 protest at the
school board meeting.
One year of negotiations have gone
nowhere in this financially sound district that’s hoarding money at a
level that is about five times the reserves required by the state.
“Our students are tired of
trying to learn in overcrowded classrooms and teachers are fed up with making
financial sacrifices with a district that does not respect our
dedication,” said teacher Brannin Dorsey, president of the 1,600-member
Fremont Unified District Teachers Association (FUDTA). “Enough is
enough. Students and educators deserve better treatment than this –
especially from a district with reserves like they have.”
Dorsey said frustrations are boiling
over and that a protest will be held from 4-5:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 13, at
the district’s offices, 4210 Technology Drive, Fremont, 94539. Educators
will then speak out at the school board meeting at the same location.
The FUDTA bargaining team is seeking class-size
maximums of 24 students for K-3 and a staffing ratio of 27:1 for grades 7-12.
The district is offering maximums of 29 in kindergarten classes, 30 for grades
1-3, and no relief for all other grades. In Fremont, class sizes are now capped
at 30 for K-6 classrooms, but for middle and high schools the cap is actually
only a “goal” of 30, on average. The goal is 12 for special
education students, but the district wants to raise that. High school
classes routinely reach 35 students or more. Teachers have filed scores of
grievances to lower class sizes.
The 32,000-student Fremont Unified has
about $30 million in reserves. Educators have taken 12 unpaid furlough days
since 2009 – a pay cut of about $7.2 million. In contract talks, FUDTA is
seeking a 2 percent raise on the salary schedule and a one-time 1 percent
payment, and some relief for the cost of dental benefits. The district is
offering a 1 percent salary increase and a one-time bonus payment of 1.75
percent, and no relief for the escalating cost of health care.
Teachers point out how hard they
worked to pass the governor’s Proposition 30 tax revenue measure in
November, which will benefit the district. They also are frustrated that the
district refuses to invest adequately in its educators, but is hiring
consultants and new attorneys, and is planning a school bond campaign.
Educators were also the driving force in passing the district’s Measure K
parcel tax in 2010, which generates about $3 million a year.
Fremont Unified District Teachers Association is affiliated with the
325,000-member California Teachers Association and the 3.2 million-member
National Education Association.