Advocacy News

American Bear Educators Reach Tentative Agreement

Victory includes max class sizes, wage and benefit increase

After months of negotiations, the small but mighty American Bear Education Association (ABEA) built major support in the community and won big—securing a wage and benefit increase that will help attract and retain qualified educators, as well as negotiating contract language that sets maximum class sizes to ensure students get the attention they need.

The tentative agreement comes after deep organizing and relationship-building with Placer Hills Unified School District (PHUSD) parents and community to fight together for the schools their students deserve. Following the tentative contract agreement, red-shirted educators and community members filled a Sept. 11 school board meeting to thank board members for valuing ABEA educators and celebrate their united efforts in support of Placer Hills students.

“Our students deserve the best and they deserve the best attention. This agreement helps us get there,” said ABEA President Juli Longtin. “It attracts and retains our teachers by increasing the salary schedule and valuing the importance of smaller class sizes.”

ABEA was able to win contract language that sets maximum class sizes with the flexibility necessary for a small, rural district but with accountability to educators and the community to ensure that small class sizes are a district priority. Additionally, ABEA made significant strides in recruiting and retaining skilled and experienced educators by negotiating a new salary schedule that provides an average 5.32% increase to all members. This pushes the salary of a first-year teacher salary at PHUSD to $46,000.

ABEA also negotiated evaluation language aligned with the California Standards for the Teaching Profession (CSTP) to better support professional growth for their members. ABEA looks to keep up the momentum among its energized members and with the community when it starts negotiations in October for the 2019-2020 contract agreement.

“The bargaining team is ready for the hours of hard work as we continue to prioritize students by prioritizing educators at PHUSD,” Longtin said.

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