Not too long ago, the Oakland teachers union and the district administration were 23 percentage points away from reaching an agreement on teacher pay, with the union asking for a 20 percent increase to the salary schedule and the district proposing a 3 percent cut.
The two sides are much closer now. Unfortunately for anyone hoping for a resolution before the summer break, they’re not quite close enough.
THE OFFER: Yesterday, the union asked for a three-year, 8 percent pay scale hike, plus a shortened work year (no instructional days would be affected). The administration countered with a 2 percent raise and a 25-student class size cap for kindergarten through third grades, though those provisions would be suspended if the state’s per-student funding dropped by 1 percent or more.
WALKING AWAY: At the end of the session, the union’s bargaining team announced it wouldn’t continue talks this week. Betty Olson-Jones, the union president, said it seemed highly unlikely that an agreement — which would replace the contract terms the district imposed — would be reached by the June 1 deadline both sides had set. The teachers on the bargaining team, she said, didn’t want to leave their students for another two days, right before final exams. This means bargaining might not resume until the fall, as the union doesn’t plan to negotiate during the summer.
SENIORITY RULES RESURFACE: The district’s contract proposal was very similar to its last offer to the union — except it included a provision that would change the current seniority rules for teachers displaced by closed schools, Olson-Jones said. Displaced teachers would attend a hiring fair and principals would be able to offer jobs to the candidates they wanted; the remaining vacancies would be filled as they are now, with the most senior teachers getting to pick where they’ll work, she said.
We discussed seniority rules on this blog more than two years ago, but then the issue faded into the background. Olson-Jones called the proposed changes unfair and the provision “a real poison pill.”
“It becomes a market where you have to sell yourself,” she said.
I think that’s the idea. What do you think?