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OUSD administration: no more bargaining

By Katy Murphy
Friday, April 16th, 2010 at 6:41 pm in union contract.

Oakland teachers union leaders were in for a surprise this afternoon when they were told that it wouldn’t be necessary to schedule contract talks for next week, as expected.

OUSD Spokesman Troy Flint said the administration felt the fact-finding report wasn’t a good starting point for negotiations. “The fact-finding report acknowledged that we have an inability to pay, then asks for a significant financial contribution without indicating a revenue source, which is irresponsible and doesn’t provide the means to bridge the gap between the two parties,” he said.

He said the recommendations would cost about $5 million.

“Really, from a public relations standpoint, it would have been easier to go back to the table and continue the charade of bargaining,” Flint said. “We took a decision that’s likely to be unpopular from a perception standpoint, but ultimately will be more productive.”

Betty Olson-Jones said she was stunned. I wrote a story about this development, which will be in tomorrow’s paper.

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  • Oakland Educator

    OEA members, parents, and community supporters: Wear green to the meeting today, Saturday, April 17 from 1:30pm to 2:00pm at 1025 Second Avenue.

  • Oakland Educator

    The emergency school board meeting is 1-4pm at 1025 Second Ave to discuss “strategic priorities.” Bear witness.

  • Oakland Teacher #731

    Information about this was not disseminated. I am just seeing this now, at 5:15 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. Better coordination and communication is needed!

    I also wonder about the comment “continue the charade of bargaining.” At one point did the bargaining become a charade? Has the district just been making a pretense of bargaining? Hmmm. Disturbing, distressing, depressing.

  • TheTruthHurts

    Katy, what does all this mean? After 2+ years, I guess anyone would be sick of bargaining. That I understand, but where do they go from here?

  • Katy Murphy

    Unless the Oakland school board/administration reverses course, they might try to impose a contract on the union. The Orange County Register reported yesterday that the Capistrano Unified teachers authorized a strike after the school board imposed a 10 percent pay cut.

    http://bit.ly/9sQM63

  • Oakland Educator

    OEA strikes April 29th unless there is a settlement by April 27th, which would obviously require bargaining. OEA was ready and willing to bargain based on the fact-finding report, but OUSD refused.

  • Another Oakland educator

    Want to register my voice, as an OEA member, Oakland educator for 15 years, that I am completely opposed to the upcoming strike. I would do anything to be able to get out of OEA, not have them representing me, but this union is a “closed shop” and I have no choice. Having spent a long time closely understanding and analyzing the financial situation in the district, I do not see where any of the money is supposed to come from. There IS NO MONEY. OEA publishes a bunch of baloney; OUSD needs to get better at telling it’s story, being transparent about the costs of contractors, etc, because from what I’ve learned over the years OEA exaggerates and publishes things that are jsut not true. For next year, central office is taking a huge cut. Schools don’t have any idea how much those folks do for those of us in the classrooms. They’re about to find out. But we’re not being asked to take a pay cut, like so many other teachers in CA. The district is broke, the state is broke – Where is the money supposed to come from? It’s crazy. It’s OEA that’s pushing me from this district, I’m embarrassed to be associated with it.

  • Oakland Teacher

    I have a hard time even believing that poster #7 is a teacher.

    We are paying two superintendents: 1 local and the other from the state. Our new one received a 6% pay increase for the position. OUSD somehow came up with that. If we have the money to pay $265,000 for one person, we should not be offering 0% for teachers, the people who really count. How is it right that our administrators are among the highest paid in the county and the teachers are the lowest paid?

    We have a 30% teacher turnover rate: We can’t afford NOT to pay our teachers more so that they don’t leave for greener and better paid districts.

    BTW – We are not just striking over salary. We are striking over class size, along with a long list of other things (including adult ed).

    I can’t speak for every school, but my school has a math consultant (along with math in-services) that amounts to about 50K yearly. Giving that up could reduce the class sizes and raise salaries, no problem.

  • Harold

    @ post #7

    http://www.edjoin.org/

    good luck!

  • Gordon Danning

    Re: #7:

    I agree, at least re: the money. And, I tend to doubt that teachers will vote to strike. The District is essentially offering to keep the current salary and benefits in place for a year, which is much better than most districts. It certainly isn’t ideal, but hardly worth striking over.

    Re: #8, I’d bet that the $50,000.00 math consultant is paid from your school’s Title I funds, which is a site decision. That money cannot be used to increase salaries, but can be used to decrease class sizes (though $50K will pay for less than one teacher, once the price of benefits are figured in, so how much could that possibly reduce class sizes? And, would reducing class sizes by 1 or 2 or even 5 students really improve learning more than having a math coach? Probably not, since the research is mixed, at best, re: the effect of class size reduction).

  • Cranky Teacher

    Dear “Another Oakland Educator,”

    Since you have “spent a long time closely understanding and analyzing the financial situation in the district,” I wonder if you might enlighten those of us who believe there is not a human on this planet that understands OUSD’s finances — considering we have never seen anybody able to break it down transparently for the media, the teachers or taxpayers.

    All I see are giant funding “buckets” (and site-based budgets) which are not descriptive or organized in a way that would increase understanding.

    Hell, we are still arguing about what FCMAT did or didn’t find eight years ago!

    If you really want to stop a strike, start a blog and break it all down in a way that shows the district’s use of the money is valid — I know as a parent, teacher and taxpayer, I would love to be reassured.

    I’ll get you started with some questions:

    1. How much money is to be spent on textbooks and related materials last year, this year and next year?
    2. What is the ratio of administrative costs at a school of 300 vs. a school of 900 — is this why we are so top-heavy in salary structure, as district, that we are out of compliance on state rules on classroom funding (45% instead of 55% minimum)?
    3. What does theft and embezzlement cost the district each year? How much is spent on pursuit of these crimes, especially those done by employees?
    4. What does the district currently pay for “consultants”? How many of those consultants work primarily at school sites vs at HQ?

  • J.R.

    Oakland Teacher,
    I agree with you on the administration, why do we need layers of highly paid redundant bureaucrats at the fed,state and local level? California averages 10K+ per student per year which is 275K+ per each classroom(teachers make 60K of that + benes. Where is all that money going?

  • Cranky Teacher

    Gordon,

    While Title 1 monies are not supposed to “supplant” salary funding the district is obligated to provide, this provides a lot of gray area. In fact, many OUSD schools use Title 1 and other special federal funding to support class-size reduction and pay teachers who teach courses focused on below basic and far below basic students — remedial math and English classes, for example.

    Personally, I think this is unethical cooking of the books — the district needs to provide the necessary number of teachers, and Title 1 money should be for special programs and interventions.

  • TheTruthHurts

    I looked at the union’s idea of where money could come from in their powerpoint and they couldn’t even find the money with the help of CTA to do more than simply fill the hole (not pay for raises). Maybe it’s there, but if CTA can’t find it, OUSD can’t find it and every other district or state-funded entity is cutting, maybe, just maybe, it isn’t there.

    Call me stupid, it’s just a thought.

  • Oakland Educator

    Re: #10, “And, I tend to doubt that teachers will vote to strike. The District is essentially offering to keep the current salary and benefits in place for a year, which is much better than most districts. It certainly isn’t ideal, but hardly worth striking over.”

    We already voted to authorize the executive board to call a 1-day strike, and the board has called it: Thursday, April 29th, unless we have a settlement by April 27th. It’s a done deal unless OUSD comes back to the table.

    And keeping the current salary is deceptive maneuvering on OUSD’s part; they want reopeners for the next two years. If they wanted to leave salaries the same, they’d leave them the same through the contract to avoid the risk of owing us a raise after next year’s negotiations. Clearly they plan to come back for the cuts once OEA organization and momentum have died down.

    A second-year teacher made a very eloquent statement at the board meeting on Saturday. She said she was returning to OUSD only because she loved her students, but asked the district not to use her love for her students to manipulate her into accepting the lowest pay in the county.