This is the sixth Benicia Unified School District (BUSD) and Benicia Teachers Association (BTA) negotiations update from BUSD reflecting the February 8, 2018, negotiations meeting. The teams worked collaboratively and discussed interests on several articles. This collaboration is much appreciated.
The Board of Trustees is committed to providing a fair and equitable settlement that also secures the present and future financial viability of the District. With declining enrollment, steep and ongoing pension, step and column and special education cost increases, even with the proposed budget update from the Governor, which must still pass in June, BUSD needs to make budget adjustments totaling $800,000 for the 2018-19 school year. (See Board presentation of February 1)
BUSD proposed 1.5% off the salary schedule (one-time bonus) for 2017-18, with the goal of completing the negotiations cycle for 2017-18 and to begin negotiating for the 2018-19 school year. The last BTA counter was on January 24, 2018, for a 5% salary increase for the 2017-18 school year and a 4.25% increase for the 2018-19 school year. The cost for a 1% increase for all employee groups is $355,000. The BTA proposed raise would cost $3.2 million over two years and then ongoing.
While we are projected to receive an increase in revenue as reflected in the Governor’s proposed budget, which includes completing the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) funding two years ahead of schedule, starting in 2019-20, the return to COLA is projected at 2% to 3% while costs of pensions, health and welfare and step and column, are projected to increase at 4.5%. With these challenges in mind, the Trustees are committed to reaching a fair and equitable settlement while continuing to secure the financial viability of the District.
After all of the counter-proposals listed below were presented, BTA requested impasse, asking if BUSD would like to file for impasse mutually. While BUSD was checking with the Superintendent and Board, BTA filed for impasse.
Listed below includes summary updates from February 6, 2018, negotiations meeting:
- Article 2– Wages- BUSD made a counter-proposal of 1.5% off the salary schedule for 2017-18.
- Article 3– Hours-Tentative Agreement was reached.
- Article 5– Health and Welfare Benefits– BUSD made a counter-proposal of $800/month for Kaiser low (current contract language), $175 for glasses/eyewear added every two years and $130 for eye exams every two years for non-Kaiser plans.
- Article 6– Leaves– BUSD made a counter-proposal that is in alignment with Education Code 44977.5.
- Article 9– Class size– BTA and BUSD made counter-proposals. BUSD’s counter-proposal maintained current contract language for class size, caseload size and class size relief payment.
- Article 10– Department Chairs– BUSD made a counter-proposal for the selection of department chairs to be mutually agreed upon by the department and the principal. The counter proposal included the ability of administration to evaluate the performance of the department chair in his/her role and with the ability to replace the department chair if necessary.
- Article 20– Calendar– BTA did not make a counter-proposal.
- Article 23– Duration– BTA did not make a counter-proposal.
Article 11– Procedures for Evaluations and Article 16- Peer Assistant Review: These articles were not discussed during this meeting and are being discussed in the Evaluations Subcommittee which is comprised of teachers and administrators.
Tentative Agreement reached and signed during the previous negotiation meetings:
- Article 12– Grievance Procedures
- Article 19– Organizational Security
- Article 22– NCLB/ESEA
Since impasse has been declared by BTA, a state mediator will be assigned to guide the process. BUSD is committed to serving the students, staff, and community and will continue to share the negotiation updates with the BUSD and the Benicia community. Thank you!