Fact-Checking the Three-Step Plan: Still the Best Path to NO Layoffs AND NO Concessions

As the SDEA Board and its Concessions Bargaining Team are in the middle of negotiating away our contractual pay with the District, the SDEA members of the Breakfast Club would like to remind our members that there is another way to save jobs AND protect our contract. This is the same Three-Step Plan we proposed last month, and it is actually even more viable now than it was when we originally developed it…

Why? Because our three-step plan does not even take into account the good news (yes, good news) discovered during the CTA budget scrub of the District’s budget earlier this month. At the June 6 Rep. Council, CTA Manager/Interim SDEA Executive Director Tom Madden shared the following with all Association Representatives:

  • The District’s projected deficit for next year has shrunk from the original $124 million to $118 million.
  • $41 million of that $118 million will only happen if there are mid-year cuts, leaving a $77 million definite hole for next year.
  • The CTA “scrub” team found $71.4 million in one-time funds that the District absolutely could use to recall laid off teachers right now and honor our contract. (Note: At the last SDEA Board meeting, SDEA President Bill Freeman said the District is now contending that it’s only $56 million, demonstrating that no matter how good your scrub brushes are, the District controls what dirty dishes you do and don’t get to see…)
  • Taking the CTA scrubbers at their word, that leaves a $5.6 million hole next year, absent mid-year cuts. And if there are mid-year cuts, we can negotiate concessions THEN, NOT NOW.
  • Both the District and CTA are defending the District sitting on that money because it’s a one-time rainy day fund. But… isn’t it raining???

But even if the budget scrub hadn’t found a dime (let alone $71.4 million OR $56 million worth of dimes), the Breakfast Club’s Three-Step is still the best, viable path to achieving NO layoffs AND NO concessions.

Step One: Recall the 500 over-noticed members.

  • The fact that the District fiscally over-noticed between 400 and 500 educators was part of then Chief Financial Officer Ron Little’s sworn testimony at the RIF hearing, and has not been disputed by the District or SDEA. This is NOT the same as attrition.
  • This number also does NOT include “skipping”. Those were people the District always planned to recall and did not factor into their savings.
  • Analysis of the District’s budget substantiates Little’s testimony:
    • In January the District informed all employee unions that they needed $91 million in concessions from ALL bargaining units to avoid ALL layoffs — total — based on the originally estimated $124 million budget hole.
    • The District said that $50 million of those $91 million concessions were needed to address next year’s budget hole, and that they had found $33 million in funds elsewhere to address the rest of the deficit — unless there are mid-year cuts.
    • So the other $41 million they want in concessions is needed only if there are mid-year cuts.
    • The average teacher costs about $75,000 in total compensation. This is the number SDEA has been using all year in their calculations.
    • That means that when Ron Little testified, and 1,655 educators had been pink slipped, the District had issued $124,125,000 worth of layoffs. But they said they only needed $91 million in concessions (or layoffs). The difference between the hole they said they had to fill ($91 million) and the hole they filled with layoffs ($124 million) is about 450 teachers. That is the over-noticing that Ron Little was talking about. It is very real, and very wrong, and has nothing to do with attrition.
    • The District never should have issued those notices in the first place, and to do anything other than recall them right this second is unconscionable and shows that they are NOT acting in good faith.

Step Two: Recall another 500 into positions opened by natural attrition.

  • 500 is probably a conservative number for natural attrition, which includes retirements, resignations, leaves, and expiring temporary contracts.
    • Conservatively, at least 300 will retire/resign (we are close to that number already).
    • Also conservatively, another 200 will leave through expiring temporary contracts and members going on leave next year.
    • Retirements, resignations, expired temporary contract positions and leave positions can all be filled by recalled members.

Step Three: Recall the remaining 550 into temporary contracts.

  • California Education Code Section 44919 allows for positions that will exist for only three months to be filled with temporary teachers. That’s September, October, and November. Health benefits would start immediately on July 1, leaving no gap.
  • This step of our plan IS NOT intended to release teachers from their classroom positions in November. This would wreak havoc on our students’ lives and on teachers’ lives.
  • This step of our plan IS intended to get our District to 100% recalls now in a way that allows the School Board to get a positive certification from the County. The District can legally and technically be “off the hook” for these positions if there are mid-year cuts, so the County can’t contest it.
  • Again, the goal is not to shed positions mid-year, but to prevent us from bargaining concessions based on fortune telling (which is what the union and the District are unfortunately doing right now).
  • If the school funding ballot initiative passes in November, these 550 positions should be converted into regular contract recalls (and in fact, the District will not have the option to continue them as temporary contracts under state law).
  • If the ballot initiative does not pass, and the mid-year cuts come to pass, SDEA can bargain concessions to save jobs at that time, based on reality, not the possible projected reality that we have right now.
  • And remember, even if the initiative fails, that doesn’t guarantee mid-year cuts. It just means they’re possible.

So just as we asked last month… Hey SDEA Board, why the rush? We know why the District wants to get this done before school opens in the fall and their massive class-size bluff is called, but why do you?

Let’s focus on forcing the District to recall the notices everyone knows they don’t need, and getting our laid off members’ benefits extended over the summer, just like we have successfully done every year since 2008!

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