I stand before you tonight as one of many TVEA members who are frustrated, disappointed, and yes angry about the lack of progress in current negotiations.
As I stated publicly on October 20th, the agreed upon contract in May included specific additional language to continue negotiations in regard to compensation. Our message to 1300 members was that there was an understood joint TVUSD/TVEA expectation that this language would result in at least a modest additional increase to the salary schedule this fall. In good faith, 97% of our voting members approved the tentative agreement expecting a clear path to quickly complete the compensation piece once school started.
Four negotiations sessions later, we find ourselves in an all too familiar place. We believed with all the talk of changing the district culture that the days of being stuck in negotiations mud for twenty one months during 2013 and 2014 were over. It feels like the cultural pillar of trust building has imploded.
If TVUSD is to speak to the latest educational jargon such as the 4C’s (Communication, Collaboration, Creativity, and Critical Thinking) these principles need to be modeled for the educational community.
There must be ongoing TVUSD-TVEA communication about finances and budget beyond fiscal services board reports. Being told in October five months after our agreement that no new salary schedule monies are available is unacceptable to our members.
The development of a budget must be a collaborative venture in which available employee compensation is clarified up front, facilitating a smoother negotiations process.
We must critically examine the TVUSD LCAP by comparing and contrasting it with like districts. TVUSD has the responsibility to seek creative and innovative ways to utilize supplemental dollars. Despite the often heard words of “Declining Enrollment” in district quarterly fiscal reports, TVUSD continues to hire at the certificated, classified, and management levels. These choices have created a structural budget issue which hampers TVUSD in keeping experienced employees competitive with neighboring districts in compensation.
If we are truly to transform school culture as consultant Dr. Anthony Muhammed suggested to TVUSD management and employees last year, district actions must speak louder than simple educational jargon.