May 10 - at our mediation session today, the Reynolds EA bargaining team made significant movement.
the trend continues at the table, we discuss the school board's issues, not the issues we as the educators in the schools need to discuss (that's when the
school board actually deigns to stay at the table).
On their newsletter they dropped all over the place at our important
strike vote this week (image below, "?" added by us), the school board claims "Continue to Bargain" as a principle, but
their actions are the opposite.
May 2012 is the first month in
five months of mediation the school board has agreed to meet with us a
second time within a calendar month. Are they serious about "Continue to
We have offered three future mediation dates for bargaining, the
school board has rejected all of them. Are they serious about "Continue
They limit the mediation times to 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
with school board members disappearing for hours as a group in the
middle of the day (not just for lunch). Are they serious about "Continue
Today they left the table saying they refuse to meet with us unless we give up our right to bargain over financial conditions.
of their public claims at progress and good faith offers are false.
They are tied to contract re-openers, meaning bargaining can open up all
over again before the contract expires. We believe a contract is a
contract, and the community needs the stability of a set contract.
We can understand why the school board's various legal counselors
are motivated to extend the bargaining crisis. They benefit. The school
board has paid $67,213 to one law office for fees related to negotiating
with Reynolds Education Association. That was up to December 22, 2011. It's now five months later with even more costs incurred.
It's hard to deal with the school board
numbers that constantly change even during the day. It's easy to find school board proposals and newsletters that have conflicting numbers within the same document. We plan to post more information about financial factors in the next day or two.
Among the working conditions we need to discuss with the school board:
Student & staff safety
it comes to special education or special needs students with
behavioral, criminal history, or safety issues the school board proposes
a strange "need to know" condition on which staff members are alerted
to the student's condition. Many of these students need to be within
staff line-of-sight at all times. Who will be on this vague "need to
know" list? The classroom teacher? Educators on lunch duty? Recess duty?
Bus duty? For student and staff safety, we need broader language as
other districts have.
Accommodating real-world parent and student schedules
Reynolds is a diverse community and our parents work long and varying schedules. Our teachers want to be available to meet when the parents can so that we have meaningful parent teacher conferences. The school board refuses to acknowledge this need and has not proposed any flexibility around parent teacher conferences.
The school board continues to ignore our proposals about the need to provide adequate teaching materials for district programs. Teachers already, on average, spend hundreds of dollars out of our own pockets to keep our classrooms running. We simply want the school board to only hold us accountable for programs which the district provides the required materials and training for so we can deliver quality instruction without spending even more out of pocket.
School board members and their legal consultants need to better understand actual school conditions to engage in pragmatic discussions and solutions. We also need them to come to the bargaining table, and be serious about staying, so we can get a fair contract for our community.