By John Crowder
The Antioch Unified School District (AUSD) and the Antioch Education Association (AEA) announced that they have reached a tentative agreement in their recent labor talks at the AUSD School Board meeting on Wednesday, May 14th.
As recently as April 28th, the AEA had posted on their website an update expressing their dismay that AUSD had not yet made a salary proposal in the ongoing negotiations. On May 6th, however, both groups were able to reach agreement on all points that had been under consideration during the negotiating process.
Under the terms of the tentative agreement, teachers in the district are to receive two retroactive raises. The first is a 2% increase in “all salary schedules and advanced degree stipends in the Collective Bargaining Agreement” effective from July 1, 2013. The second is also a 2% increase on the same items and is effective from January 1, 2014. In addition, it was agreed that, “The extra duty schedule, stipends, hourly rate, period substitution, and all other rates of pay shall be increased by 4.04% effective July 1, 2014, effectively increasing payment for other teacher duties by the same rate as the salary raises negotiated during the talks.
Class size was another item negotiated during the meetings. Here, for grades K-3, the parties have agreed to reduce class sizes year-to-year, with an average class size of 29 pupils per site for those grades during the 2014-2015 school year, 28 during the 2015-2016 school year, and 27 for the 2016-2017 school year. Maximum class size for those years were also agreed to, of 30, 29, and 28 respectively.
The adoption of Common Core Standards by the state of California was also taken up during the bargaining process. Addressing this issue, the parties created a Memorandum of Understanding emphasizing their shared commitment to successful implementation of the program, which they jointly state will, “ensure that ALL students are ready for college, career, and citizenship in the 21st century.” In order to accomplish this goal, AEA and AUSD have agreed to establish “an advisory Common Core Committee (CCC).” This committee, to be comprised of district members, teachers, and that may include up to two parents, is to meet at least four times per school year. Their primary role will be to “help guide the implementation of Common Core,” including staff development related to the implementation of the new standards.
Robert Stickler, President of the AEA, said, “AEA is pleased with the tentative agreement that was reached with AUSD on May 6th, 2014. I have heard many positive comments from teachers regarding the 4.04% raise and an increase to the district’s contribution to benefits. We are also happy that elementary teachers in grades kindergarten through third grade will have class size maximums written in the contract and that these maximums will reduce each year over the next 3 school years. The class size ratios for these grades will also be reduced. They will continue to be reduced further if the state’s projected Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) is fully implemented over its 8 year time span.”
Antioch teachers are now in the process of voting for ratification of the agreement. The results of that vote are expected next Tuesday. On Wednesday, the Board is expected to vote on acceptance of the agreement as well.
In other news, the Board recognized employees for their outstanding service. Anndria Romo, who assists with Special Education at Diablo Vista Elementary School, was chosen as the Classified Representative of the year. Julie Verhoek, from Sutter Elementary, was Runner Up Teacher of the Year, and Kevin Jones, Antioch High School EDGE Academy, was selected as the Teacher of the Year.