I trust everyone is feeling at least some sense of relief that we have crossed the finish line of yet another school year!
First, TVEA would like to thank both Board Clerk Hinkson and Assistant Superintendent Johnson for attending our May 30th TVEA Retirement Event at Luke’s on Front in Old Town. We also appreciate Superintendent Ritter stopping by to wish our retirees well.
My TVEA Spotlight focus tonight relates to the ratification of the May 23rd Tentative Agreement between TVEA and TVUSD.
I am pleased to report that 95% of our 720 members who voted on the agreement approved with a “YES” vote. This vote reflects a clear majority of our total membership approving the agreement. We look forward to the TVUSD Governing Board reviewing and providing their consent for our members to move forward positively into the 2019-20 school year.
The negotiations process for our association came with great diligence and commitment from both parties, yet it felt seamless compared to earlier years. My point is that the culture of collaboration which has emerged between TVEA and TVUSD did not always exist.
In June 2014, five years ago this month I stood before the cabinet and the Governing Board as President-Elect with nearly 300 TVEA members standing behind me in anger and frustration. We had just voted down a tentative agreement for the first and only time in our association history. Our teachers did not believe we were a budget priority for TVUSD
It was certainly an unstable time with California emerging out of an economic recession which had created massive local budget cuts including layoffs and work furlough reductions. June 2014 was a culmination point of a different era when TVEA-TVUSD negotiation sessions often seemed unproductive and TVEA members viewed the board and cabinet as generally unresponsive.
What has changed from five years ago?
Certainly, the California economy and public education funding has rebounded in recent years
80% of the TVUSD Governing Board has changed personnel with only Dr. Rutz-Robbins remaining from that time.
The TVUSD Cabinet is 75% intact from 2014 with the only change being Mr Johnson assuming the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources role.
TVEA and TVUSD agreed to add the Ad Hoc Budget Committee to the negotiations process. Three plus full years after its implementation, it feels like this structure has led to common ground for a joint recommendation on TVEA Bargaining Unit Member Compensation.
Perhaps most importantly, the TVUSD board and cabinet members along with TVEA Leadership have made timely and successful negotiations a priority. Collaboration has become a keystone of our negotiations culture.
I have always stated our membership is not hard to please.Our ratification votes, averaging 94% over the last five years prove that.Our people do not expect to become wealthy through a lifetime of service in public education, yet they do seek to secure a middle-class professional lifestyle in the “Golden State”.Many of us graduated from University of California and Cal State University schools and want the same opportunities for our own children against the tide of skyrocketing college tuition and fees.
This tentative agreement demonstrates that TVUSD does indeed value our members work and will act within its means to keep our career educators competitive with neighboring districts.