The Travis Unified School District (TUSD) is committed to providing community members, employees and stakeholders with factual information about its negotiations with the Travis Unified Teachers Association (TUTA).
Many have asked why negotiations are taking so long with TUTA, what key differences remain, why is the District filing for impasse mediation with the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB), and what may happen next? What follows are TUSD’s responses to some of these frequently asked questions (FAQs).
Q: What happened today?
A: On February 18, 2020, the District and TUTA met again for negotiations. Unfortunately, the teams were unable to reach agreement on remaining issues. The teams are very far apart on significant financial issues. The District has repeatedly expressed its belief that many of TUTA’s economic proposals are not fiscally responsible.
At the end of the session, the District shared that it will file a request with the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) tomorrow to proceed to impasse mediation (more on impasse, below). TUTA stated that it agreed that the teams were at impasse.
Q: What has the District Proposed to TUTA?
A: We have met with TUTA four (4) times since October 2019, and are disappointed that negotiations are not yet finished. Today, the District provided a comprehensive proposal that included the following:
- Salary Increase. 2% salary schedule increase, retroactive to July 1, 2019
- Salary Schedule Advancement. Elimination of Master’s requirement to allow for advancement on the salary schedule to the maximum salary compensation column.
- Class Size Reductions*. Reductions in Class Size, effective July 1, 2020
- Grades 4 through 6, from 34 to 33
- Grades 6 through 8, from 39 to 36
- Grades 9 through 12, from 39 to 37
- PE Class Sizes, from 55 to 51 (at grades 6-8 and 9-12)
- World Language, from 39 to 36 (at grades 6-8); 37 (at grades 9-12)
* Note, the District proposed that electives (industrial arts, homemaking, art) class size max would increase from 30 to 32
- Common Planning Days (elementary). A decrease (from 12 to 11) in the number of Common Planning Days reserved for Site Administration/District use.
- Vacancy/Reassignment Process. Priority consideration for unit members at the particular site for vacancies and reassignments at that site.
- Co-Teaching. Clarifications and improvements for general and special education teachers leading co-taught classes including release day, common prep and stipends.
Q: Has TUSD proposed to increase its contribution to unit members’ health premium costs?
A: Previously, the District proposed to increase its contribution to employees’ health benefits costs. In response to TUTA’s proposals for a retroactive salary increase, the District has agreed to the more costly retroactive salary increase and dropped the previously proposed benefits increase.
Q: Has TUTA received compensation increases in prior years?
A: Yes, in addition to annual step and column increases, TUTA and the District have negotiated ongoing salary schedule increases for each of the past four years (11.88%). This year’s proposed 2% would amount to almost 14% over 5 years:
- 2015-2016: 3.00%
- 2016-2017: 1.50%
- 2017-2018: 3.25% TOTAL: 13.88%
- 2018-2019: 4.13%
- 2019-2020: 2.00%
Q: Can TUSD afford its proposed salary schedule increase?
A: The District currently faces budget challenges, however, the Governing Board continues to maintain its commitment to employees by offering compensation increases. Today, the District shared that even if the District’s current economic proposal is agreed to it will result in “qualified status” for the District’s budget. The District’s economic proposal will require significant cuts to the budget in future years.
Q: So what are TUTA’s proposals?
A: TUTA’s current economic proposals (for 2019-2020 only) exceed 7%. Despite budget challenges, declining enrollment uncertainties, increasing expenditures and shrinking reserves, TUTA has proposed a bigger ongoing salary schedule increase; increased longevity payments; increased prep time (doubling at elementary which would require the District to hire more employees); fewer District Common Planning days; and deeper cuts to class size (which would also require the District to hire more employees to implement TUTA’s proposal).
Q: Does TUSD have a class size problem?
A: No. This year, TUSD’s class size average at TK-3 is 23.1. TUSD’s class size average at grades 4-6 is 31.4. The Core class size averages at Golden West and Vanden are well below the contractual maximum. Please see charts for 2019-2020 below:
Golden West Class Size Summary:
Vanden Class Size Summary:
Elementary Class Size Summary:
Q: What happens during impasse mediation?
A: If PERB agrees that an impasse exists between TUSD and TUTA, then PERB will appoint a mediator. The mediator will work with both teams to help them resolve negotiations and reach a comprehensive tentative agreement on outstanding issues. Impasse mediation can last for several months at the discretion of the appointed mediator. If the mediator and teams are unable to reach a comprehensive agreement during mediation, then the process proceeds to fact-finding. More on fact-finding, if needed, in future updates.
It is our sincere intention to work with TUTA in good faith to negotiate a complete tentative agreement.
District Team Members:
Clay McAllester, Assistant Superintendent, HR
Allyson Rude Azevedo, Principal, TEC/TCDS
Saun Rushford, Principal, Scandia
Trudy Barrington, Director, Fiscal Services
Jonathan Pearl, Attorney, DWK
Association Team Members:
John Scholz, Chair, Teacher, Golden West
Mary King, Special Education Teacher, Vanden
Aron Hale, Teacher, Vanden
Lila Korpell, Teacher, Travis
Michelle Chavez, Special Education, Golden West
Jade Staples, Teacher, Cambridge
Mark Nowag, TUTA President
Dawn Cova, CTA Representative