Monday, March 15, 2010

SD Teachers Association, District Agree to Contract

"Grateful" For Support of New Agreement -- Kowba

San Diego Unified's leaders are appreciative of the announcement Saturday that members of the San Diego Education Association have ratified a new contract with the district.

The union's acceptance means that the Board can proceed with its current plans to balance the spending plan for the next school year, which includes a five-day furlough for teachers that is in the contract approved Saturday. Based on the most recent proposed state budget, San Diego Unified is planning on an $87 million reduction in its $1 billion operating budget for 2010-11.

"We are grateful to the SDEA and teachers for their approval of this agreement," said Interim Superintendent Bill Kowba. "Concessions about working conditions are very sensitive discussions. This will now allow our Board to proceed in an orderly manner to craft a budget for 2010-11."

The Board canceled a rare Sunday meeting planned for March 14 as a result of the contract ratification. The state Education Code requires permanent teachers be notified by March 15 if they will not be receiving a contract for the following school year. However, after the agreement with SDEA, the district should be able to limit possible teacher staffing reductions to probationary teachers, those with less than two full years of service. The Board can wait until April 15 to notify probationary status teachers, under the contract with SDEA. Teachers with long-term substitute contracts and other temporary certificated staff will receive reminders that their services will end at the close of the 2009-10 school year.

At its Tuesday, March 16, meeting, the Board will discuss sending notices by April 15 to probationary teachers that they may not receive contract offers for 2010-11 because of budget reductions.

Although permanent teachers will be receiving contract offers for 2010-11, district staff anticipates reductions of 337.5 full-time equivalent teaching positions would be necessary for the 2010-11 school year, based on current budget estimates.

Bargaining continues with other unions representing San Diego Unified employees, but the budget picture is coming into clearer focus, said Kowba.

"Despite another internal mid-year reduction of more than $15 million, we've been able to belt-tighten this year without eliminating any full-time staff," said Kowba. Because of state funding reductions, the district has cut nearly $200 million from its budget since 2007.

The Board's next meeting is Tuesday, March 16, when several budget-related items are on the agenda.