(April 17, 2019) If the New Haven Unified School District is truly serious about every student’s future, it’s time to get serious about doing what works, and that means a fair contract with teachers and stop cutting student services. That’s the message nearly 500 New Haven Teachers Association members and supporters shared at the school board meeting last night.
Parents, community members, teachers and representatives from the Union City Police Officers Association and Teamsters Locals 70 and 853 attended last night’s rally and school board meeting. NHUSD and NHTA are at impasse, and a fact-finding hearing is scheduled for tomorrow. “We hope for the best and prepare for the worst,” said NHTA President Joe Ku’e Angeles.
In addition to rallying for a better contract, teachers are taking a strike authorization vote.
Strike authorization voting ends today at 5 p.m. A yes vote will authorize the chapter’s executive board to call a strike if no agreement is reached once the contract bargaining process has been exhausted, which would be following the completion of the impasse process under the Educational Employment Relations Act (EERA).
Parents and elected community members addressed the board during the public comments portion of the board’s agenda. Angeles said he was surprised by the comments from community members. “You expect us educators to advocate strongly for our students. I’ve been in this district for years and I’ve never heard community members and parents say so forcefully that if school board members don’t step up and take leadership in decisions, especially those concerning what teachers need for student learning, then they’ll find someone who will,” he said.
“We want a fair contract that will help recruit and retain the best teachers for New Haven students,” added Angeles. “We want a contract that meets our students’ academic needs.” Teachers have been working without a contract since July 2017, and negotiations have stalled. NHUSD management’s last proposal was for zero percent, cuts to student counseling and health services, and increasing class sizes in grades 1-3. Teachers continue to spend thousands of dollars out of their own pockets for their students and classroom despite the fact that NHUSD has received millions in new money and has $26 million in reserves.