Union District Education Association (UDEA) members are united in support of their bargaining team’s efforts to negotiate professional salaries. They say teachers, who are a student’s most important resource, are not priorities in the district’s budget. They took their message to the streets of San Jose during a budget study session to educate the public about what they do as professional educators, and how district management can step up to improve student learning. Negotiations between UDEA and the Union School District (USD) continues today.
UDEA members say teachers are being asked to do more and more. “And while district revenues have increased year after year, our salaries have decreased in the percentage of the district’s total budget,” said UDEA President Kathy Hudson. “In addition, USD teachers pay more in out-of-pocket expenses for health care than all other districts in the county.” All of the USD elementary sites are designated as Gold Ribbon Schools, yet elementary teachers do not have any prep time to prepare lessons for children. All the preparation they do is on their own individual time.
“Teachers are creating and implementing increasingly complex curriculum, and are not given time to prepare lessons. Some curriculums include: Eureka Math, Edu Protocols and Guided Reading, Writer’s Workshop, and Words Their Way,” she said. “Teachers tell me the hypocrisy of the Union School District School Board is astounding.”
Teachers are concerned about ever-increasing class size. USD parents passed a parcel tax to reduce class size in November of 2015, “but district managers won’t agree to smaller class sizes in bargaining,” Hudson noted. “And, district managers indicated they do not plan to return the full amount of the Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) they recently received to its hardworking teachers. Where is that money being allocated?”
Educators are also concerned about expectations to mainstream or fully include Special Education students into these already increased class sizes without support and resources to ensure success for all students.
Parents are encouraged to learn more about negotiations by visiting UDEA’s website. “They need to know USD teachers are not feeling supported by their district managers or the USD school board,” Hudson said.