The Raisin City Teachers Association (RCTA) filed an Unfair Practice Charge (UPC) against the Raisin City Elementary School District (RCESD) contending they are bargaining in bad faith by reneging on a negotiated settlement.
“We bargained in good faith and came to an agreement,” said RCTA President Kim Cooper. “We have evidence that this district barely went through the motions of negotiating and, ultimately, were unwilling to honor their own agreement.”
“Not only is teacher morale plummeting, but this ongoing choice not to bargain in good faith hurts the kids in our classrooms,” Cooper said, adding that two-thirds of the teaching staff have left for neighboring school districts because of the bargain and because of treatment of educators. RCESD started the year with just 1/3 of its staff, or four teachers, who taught in Raisin City last year. “And that hurts the community,” Cooper said.
After a contentious bargain, which included Superintendent Juan Sandoval showing up late for bargaining sessions, refusing to make counter-proposals and finally insisting teachers work extra time for free, a tentative agreement (TA) was signed January 24, 2018. The two-year deal included a 5% salary increase for 2017-18 and a 10.24% salary increase for 2018-19, in exchange for an additional half-hour of instructional time to the school day. Throughout bargaining and again when the TA was reached, Sandoval assured teachers RCESD could afford the proposal.
In April, Sandoval urged the school board to reject the TA that he himself negotiated, going so far as to threaten to resign if the board approved the agreements. “This is a clear violation of the Educational Employment Relations Act (EERA),” Cooper said.
“We were shocked to hear him say that the district could not afford the 10.24% pay increase for the 2018-19 year, despite the fact that he himself had proposed that amount during the November bargaining session and had provided a financial analysis demonstrating the district could afford the proposal,” Cooper noted.
The teachers ultimately settled the contract for 2017-18 after the school board refused to ratify the agreement based on Sandoval’s recommendation. By filing the UPC with the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB), which will hold a formal hearing on the charges, RCTA is putting Sandoval and the school board on notice that they must follow the law. The UPC was filed September 21.
“We’re worried the superintendent will pull same stunt. His actions were blatant violations of the law and so egregious, we want to make sure he’ll follow the rules going forward.”
Is this a school or a corporate savings account?
Teachers are preparing to head into negotiations next month to renegotiate the contract for 2018-19 and RCTA just finished an analysis of the district’s budget based on financial statements submitted to the state. “Another shock,” said Cooper. “The school reserves have gone from 67% to 93%. That means RCESD has $3.1 million tax payer dollars in their savings account. Why aren’t they spending it on the students?”
“This district is behaving more like a corporate bank than a school. Their behavior to teachers is disrespectful and how they handle the finances is terrible,” she added. “Teachers know the best way to improve student learning is to put a quality teacher in the classroom. We are bleeding teachers and this superintendent and school board don’t care. We want our students to have best resources and opportunities so they can be successful. We will fight for our students, even if that means taking on our own superintendent and school board.”