August 21, 2018
District and Union Proceed to Fact Finding Update on Labor Negotiations
Dear Parents, Staff, and Community Members,
The Beverly Hills Unified School District and the Beverly Hills Education Association (BHEA) are currently at impasse in our ongoing negotiations over a new labor contract for our certificated staff. The District administration and Board of Education believe that open, timely communication is essential because there is a lot at stake in these talks that will impact the educational program for students, the financial integrity of the budget, and the competitiveness of our school district. This update is designed to keep you informed as we proceed through the impasse resolution process under the state collective bargaining law.
Fact Finding Hearing Being Scheduled
We have been negotiating with BHEA for 15 months. In April 2018, the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) issued a formal declaration of impasse and assigned a neutral mediator from the State Mediation and Conciliation Service to facilitate talks between the two teams. Meetings continued with the mediator between April 20 and July 31 without reaching agreement. On August 1, 2018, the mediator declared that further mediation sessions would not be productive and certified the parties to proceed to fact finding . . . the final step in the process.
The District looks forward to Fact Finding as a way to resolve our outstanding issues. The fact finding process should commence within a few weeks. District leaders are fully prepared to engage in good faith in this process and will present the facts as we know them that need to shape any agreement we reach.
We need a contract that respects and values the wonderful job our teachers and certificated staff are doing, maintains a sustainable balanced budget without cutting valuable and necessary programs and services for students, and does not rely on using one-time reserves for ongoing expenses. We have to live within our means even if that means we cannot provide as much as the union leaders demand.
Answering Your Questions
In order to get all of the facts on the table, the District is creating a Negotiations Update page on its website. That link will contain timely Updates, Fact Sheets, Resources, and Comparison Data. It will also answer some frequently asked questions about the collective bargaining process and issues being discussed during fact finding. Here are some links to FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) you will soon find on the district web page:
Below are answers to some of the most urgent questions that parents have been asking at our schools and raising with our Board members:
Q: Have certificated employees received raises recently?
A: Yes, BHEA CTA members received the same raise as all other employees over the past four years.
The District is proposing and has budgeted for a 4.29% salary schedule increase for 2018-19. This comes on top of increases to salaries in the last four years totaling 14.928%:
2018-19= 4.29% (offered and budgeted)
Staff has received an additional $1,000 towards Health & Welfare benefits over the past three years. The District’s proposals offer additional increases to BHEA CTA salary schedule, in addition to increases to health and welfare benefits (2018-19, 2019-20, 2020-21).
It is important to keep in mind the District must financially factor additional salary increases in “me-too” clauses with other employee groups throughout the District, which assures others get the same salary and benefits raises.
Q: I read the union is telling teachers not to attend or participate in PTA events, carnivals, socials, and class trips to Catalina and Yosemite. Can the union require teachers to not support these events and will they be cancelled?
A: BHEA can suggest that teachers only do specifically required duties under the contract, but they cannot mandate it. Every employee has the ability to make their own decision in these matters. We all share a responsibility to ensure that our students have every opportunity for these enrichment activities so the administration will work with our parents, staff, and community to find a resolution to filling chaperone positions. Decisions on whether events and activities will be cancelled or postponed will be made on a case-by-case basis.
A: The District Office has heard this mentioned by both students and parents, but we have yet to see this in writing as a directive from BHEA to its membership. Each employee has an individual right to make the decision on their own on whether to assist a college bound student. Historically teachers, mentors, and coaches have helped students to fulfill their application obligations based off the relationship the staff member and student have cultivated over years. Unfortunately District Office and Building Administration cannot require a staff member to fulfill this service to help a student.
Q: Is it true the District is finding ways to hire non BHEA employees to weaken BHEA as an organization?
A: No. It is not a factor in district hiring decisions. Our administrative team worked very hard over the summer to find qualified candidates for each open teaching position. However, since some positions require a specialized skill set we were not able to find candidates that met the standard for our District. So, in order to ensure in the interim that our students who receive special education and related services have credentialed teachers we elected to contract with an agency that provides experienced, credentialed special education staff in lieu of non-credentialed substitutes wherever possible. These teachers will work in BHUSD temporarily until we can find and hire BHEA eligible employees to fill these positions.
I can assure you that the District and BHEA share a strong commitment to the future success of our students through academic and personal social emotional growth. Our continued goal is to reach a mutually acceptable contract that remains competitive with other school districts while staying within the Board of Education’s parameters of maintaining a balanced budget.
Dr. Michael Bregy