Guest Blog Post: A letter from Frank Lucero

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

The details of the Tentative Agreement (TA) were disclosed today via District e-mail. To put it bluntly, the TA proposals are nothing short of an insult to our profession and collective intelligence. This TA is analogous to the recent SDEA phone survey: open to interpretation, confusing, and short-sighted. To add insult to injury, much of the TA is based on the passage of the Governors Tax Initiative. As I had mentioned in a previous e-mail, each successive survey shows DECLINING voter support from 64% (January) to 52% (mid-May) for the Governors Tax Initiative.

Here is a point-by-point analysis of the TA:

1) Stops layoffs: If the District can stop all layoffs, offer an early retirement incentive for two groups of teachers (those retiring this year and those planning to retire next year), and establish a Health Care Trust Fund for laid-off workers then the District must have a lot more money than what has been mentioned.

2) Locks contract through June 30, 2014: This year’s contract was supposed to be locked and instead we will be voting on a TA. In other words, this “lock” is meaningless. ENOUGH SAID!!

3) Establishes Health Care Trust Fund: Great idea but who is funding this trust fund? The District, teachers through concessions, retired teachers by accepting a “significant” (vs. equitable) early retirement incentive? All of the above?

4) Significant retirement incentive: Income tax rates will significantly reduce the “significant” retirement incentive. What exactly does significant mean anyway? Voice of San Diego (VOSD) says “a one time payment of $25,000.” What an insult!!

5) Increase of last step salary schedules: The operative wording of this TA proposal is “should the November initiative pass.” In other words, if voter support trends continue, there will be NO step salary increase for the experienced teachers who have received NO salary increase in over 5 years!

6) Furlough days: At least five furlough days and if the “Governor’s tax initiative fails and District revenue decreases” up to an additional 14 (total 19) furlough days; mid-May voter poll says only 52% support tax initiative. Number crunching says that the additional furlough days is almost equivalent to a 10% pay cut (depending on your salary, you can DEDUCT anywhere from $3000 to $8000 from your annual salary).

7) Deferred salary increases: The wording of the proposal (“implemented as funding comes in”) is too subjective and puts our salary increase into the hands of the District. How can we file a labor relations complaint with PERB if we agree to such an open-ended interpretation?

As my Spanish-speaking friends say, “Ya, basta!” As my Tagalog-speaking friends say, “Tapos na!” And as I hope many of you say, “Enough already!!”

Respectfully,

Frank Lucero

Math consultant/educator

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