June 12, 2012 Brenda, Here is some specific feedback from the Board of Education and some challenges that need to be addressed, in no particular order. Please note that these are their highest priority items. Using Pay for Performance dollars for a raise, ongoing or one-‐time, is a problem. It depletes the pool of $4.2M dollars by approximately half, greatly minimizing our ability to make progress towards the Strategic Plan goals. From our original proposal on April 11: Reengage pay for performance – use money to pay great employees to build out the system in FY 2013. Start pilot with limited group of new hires in FY 2013. Pay employees for professional development associated with strategic plan and pay for performance. Transition the money to full pay for performance – phase in. We want to reengage P4P, in the form of funding National Board Certified Teacher, Master Teacher, Site Based Responsibility, Skills Blocks/Personal Learning (Growth and Development) Stipends and District Responsibility. With the suspension of Outstanding Teacher and the Group Incentive, we will have the flexibility to fund additional learning opportunities for staff and/or a limited pilot of the Pay for Performance plan we are developing through the collaborative work around Career Ladders and the other associated pieces. Dues Collection DCFT tentatively agreed on the issue of dues collection. In fact, we understand that you already have a process underway to collect outside of a District payroll deduction. However, the statement that the DCFT wants to “reserve the right to take legal action outside of this if we so feel necessary” is troublesome. (Session 5 audio on June 8, 2012 at approximately 45:00) DCFT’s statement, when asked about the dues collection in the recent article in the Colorado News Press, was “Though the Union conceded, Smith said it retains the right to take legal action on the issue of dues deduction…” (Colorado News Press June 8, 2012) These statements about taking legal action on contract items to which DCFT has “agreed” indicate that there really is no agreement on these items. Exclusivity is “non-‐negotiable” As discussed, we want to change the language on page 3 of the current CBA to: II. RECOGNITION A. The Board recognizes the Union as the exclusive a bargaining agent for the unit of teachers its members as herein above defined, for the purpose of bargaining on the following: On Friday, DCFT stated “this part is non-‐negotiable” in reference to the above recommended change. Furthermore, DCFT stated that “we as an organization will not negotiate ourselves out of a contract”. (Session 1 Audio on June 8, 2012 at approximately 11:20 – 12:10)
To be clear, we are asking for choice for our teachers…you are asking for a monopoly. When asked about other collective bargaining agents, you stated “No language needed. In accordance with Federal law, teachers choose their own collective bargaining agent.” (DCFT Bargaining Offer –A Summary of Negotiations on May 9) It is counter-‐intuitive that as a teacher I have a right to choose my own collective bargaining agent, but as an organization we only recognize one organization as the “exclusive” bargaining agent. We are asking for flexibility and choice for all employees. No Disruption to the educational environment – the Union will not spread misinformation about Board, Superintendent, District Leadership, or other District matters. Recent evidence suggests there is an apparent disconnect between “what you say” and “what you do” regarding your commitment to the repair and improvement of the climate and culture of our District. The language that has been proposed by the DCFT as an addition to the CBA is a good start: Q. WORKING CONDITIONS. The DCSD and DCFT understand that positive working conditions are important for both teachers and their students. To help foster a work environment conducive to student learning, both parties agree to work on the following: Improve the culture and climate of DCSD by collaborating to determine appropriate standards for working conditions. Improve communication and distribute accurate information within the District and between the District and the DCFT. Review and find ways to reduce class loads and case loads in order to improve certified employee and student contact ratios, which improve student learning and outcomes. Review ways for certified employees to be more involved in decision making at sites and across the District. However, since the time this was first brought up as an issue for Negotiations, there have been several instances that have been counter productive. Most recently the “door hangers” distributed in the community regarding budget twisted facts and the threat to perpetuate misinformation at a recent Open Negotiations session from one of your team members to one of mine…to paraphrase “I think I will send that article out to all teachers, what do you think of that?” At the April 11 Open Negotiations meeting, the following was shared verbally and in a PowerPoint: District Proposes a Healthier Culture and Climate to Improve Morale (Quality of Life) Commitment to the attributes of healthy organizations: • Expectation of positive, accurate communication to schools and community • Protect the educational environment • Commitment to freedom and choice for employees We are committed to the above statements, as we know they are very important for our staff and students. If you agree, please provide specific examples of the actions you will take to ensure it.
A 3% raise (1% one-‐time stipend and 2% ongoing from other sources) puts the District in an unsustainable financial position. As was shared at Negotiations, the 1% retention stipend (one-‐time dollars) is funded in our budget proposal. We realized $6M dollars of cost of business savings this year, and would like to use $2.8M to fund the retention stipend for all employees. There are “no strings” attached to this retention stipend except for returning contracts by the June 15, 2012 deadline. In addition we have committed the remaining $3.2M in the form of $50.00 per student back to our schools. The $6M dollar savings will be ongoing in future budgets, and, as you know we have used the recurring $6M to reduce the reoccurring budget by $18.1M, so that we can recommend a balanced budget for FY 2013 -‐ one that does not rely on one-‐time money for on-‐going costs. As previously outlined, the District proposed 1% ongoing pay increase may be accomplished by: • Phase Out of Longevity • Phase Out of Extended Service Severance • Phase out of KLA (Certified Only) At this time, based on your proposal last Friday, you have identified very limited savings toward the $2M certified only cost to fund a 1% raise. In addition, you have added another 1% on top of the District’s proposal offering a questionable $1 M to $1.4 M of savings from those long term employees who willingly forgo the extended severance assuming they will receive the 2% ongoing pay increase. For certified only, each 1% pay increase has a value of $2 M. Each year, somewhere between 50 and 100 teachers retire at an average cost of about $2 million each year. Assuming this trend continues at the end of FY 2013, it is extremely unlikely that anyone planning to retire at the end of this fiscal year would choose the 2% raise over the severance. The average value of the severance is over $38,000 for each employee. We would not see any savings in this line for at least the next 3 years putting at risk our financial stability. More specifically, this would require the district to commit to and recommend deficit spending until we either secure a new revenue source and/or cut our schools to fund the increase – exactly what happened in FY 2009 after the District agreed to a 2.7% pay increase. We must plan ongoing budgets that allow us to live within our means. We are committed to finding a way to propose a 1% on-‐going pay increase for all staff, so we need to work out the logistics within the three variables mentioned above to get there. In closing, should you be interested in improving this potential CBA package for the BOE to consider, I can be available to discuss it the week of June 25-‐28. I would be interested in a topic-‐specific session to improve our current package… focusing on the above-‐mentioned areas. I am thinking that 2-‐3 hours with extensive front-‐loading of specific proposals and a commitment from all to stay on task would be necessary. In the meantime, the Board of Education shared that “Open Negotiations” can also include the passing of proposals and counters electronically as long as that information is posted to the website. If you have proposals, clarifications or improvements regarding the above issues, I would be happy to respond as necessary. Regards, Dan McMinimee