TVEA Spotlight October 5,2021 Governing Board Meeting
Last month at the September 14th Virtual Governing Board Meeting, three fellow TVEA Leaders and myself shared our TVEA Bargaining Platform during the TVEA Spotlight.
Tonight, with our fellow teachers and specialists here to show their support, I would like to expand on our case for the need to address Support for Special Education Students, Professional Supports for Educators, and Fair and Competitive Compensation.
Special Education Supports: Related to Special Education, the Governing Board has recently authorized the Expansion of the District Cabinet, and both Special Education and Student Welfare and Success Director Positions. District management growth has not stopped there. New Positions resulting in additional Executive Directors, Coordinators, and Directors, and Assistant Directors have been ongoing across TVUSD departments.
Many TVEA members find this peculiar, particularly as TVUSD student enrollment has continued to show a decline since the onset of the pandemic.
Conversely, on the frontlines at school sites and classrooms, our members who work directly with Special Education Students continue to struggle to provide focused instruction and support for their students.
With the lack of contractual caps or even documented targets for caseloads to provide student services, our specialists including Counselors, Social Workers, Nurses, School Psychologists, Speech and Language Pathologists, and SDC Teachers are stretched more than ever trying to meet the pressing needs of students and families.
Rather than prioritize extra positions and titles at the District Office, why not work to meet targets and set caps such as other districts, and seek to reach National Caseload Guidelines so our frontline professionals can best serve TVUSD students?
Professional Supports for our Educators: There is one thing which stands out above all other provisions in the tall grass of the TVUSD-TVEA Contract: Equity of Opportunity to apply for Vacancies and seek Voluntary Transfers. Despite TVEA’s best efforts to work with TVUSD to facilitate this, TVUSD seems to believe that certain specialist positions are unilaterally controlled by the District Office and are not subject to agreed upon Contractual and Memorandum of Understanding stipulations.
We attempted to resolve this at the lowest possible level with TVUSD beginning in May and presented our concern to the Governing Board as a Level IV Grievance in August, yet the Governing Board was unwilling to direct the district to resolve this.
Last week TVEA formally notified TVUSD of our intent to file for arbitration where we will seek and expect to achieve a favorable ruling from a neutral third-party
Fair and Competitive Compensation:
In choosing teaching and serving students as a career, our members did not do so with an expectation to become wealthy. Yet, they are not ashamed to demand and are determined to achieve fair and competitive compensation.
I recently shared that TVUSD teachers and specialists rank 31st out of 32 Riverside and San Bernardino Districts in terms of salary schedule percentage growth since 2013. With our neighboring district, Murrieta Valley coming to a tentative agreement last week with its bargaining unit of an overall compensation package valued at 5%, our members feel like they have not just been pushed down but kicked to the curb.
A budget reflects an organization’s values. As this board has received various financial reports and discussed board priorities, the commitment to, let alone the mention of Fair and Competitive Compensation has been absent. Why?
Let’s be frank. Nothing I do as TVEA President or what you do as District Cabinet or Board Members directly impacts student achievement. Yet, what our members do five days each week definitively does.
Do you really value socking away multiple tens of millions of additional dollars beyond 6% into extra reserve over investing in our Teachers and Specialists who inspire and direct our students?
As we approach Day 100 calendar of working under an expired contract, it would be nice to hear one or more board members publicly say something to the effect of: “I value the work our teachers and specialists do for our students. They are arguably our most critical resource. I urge TVUSD staff to facilitate successful negotiations with TVEA as soon as possible. It is a critical that we work to make Fair and Competitive Compensation for our bargaining units a top priority”
I will be here tonight until Governing Board Comments at the end of the meeting and listening intently.