SDEA Makes Strong Special Education Proposal
Posted on July 14, 2017
July 14, 2017
SDEA members spoke loud and clear this past spring: Resources for students, including students with IEPs, is a major priority in our L.E.A.R.N.! bargaining campaign. In yesterday’s bargaining session, SDEA’s team made a strong initial proposal on Article 29: Special Education that would greatly increase such resources for our students with IEPs, and rights for special educators.
Highlights of the proposal include:
- Establishing a true continuum of services for students
- Making special educator caseloads a hard cap
- Lowering Resource Specialists caseloads to 20, to match Education Specialists: Mild/Moderate caseloads
- Reducing Speech Language Pathologist caseloads
- Increasing special education staffing levels
- Additional prep time for special educators who co-teach
- Release time to conduct excessive initial and triennial assessments
SDEA’s team also brought a counterproposal on negotiation timelines that would start our future bargaining well in advance of the expiration of contract.
On the other hand, the District continued their pattern of making no substantive proposals. SDEA’s team went into the meeting optimistic because the District’s team promised they would finally bring two new initial proposals. Technically, they delivered. The District did make initial proposals on Article 14: Performance Evaluation Procedures and Article 18: Peer Review and Enrichment Program (PREP). What exactly did they propose? Simply to reopen both articles at an unspecified future date, when the joint evaluation committee has a recommendation. Other than that, they proposed no changes.
This marks nearly two months since SDUSD has made any significant initial proposals at the table. Their last significant initial proposal was on May 19, when they proposed major take backs on our transfer rights. They have since withdrawn it.
The District also brought a counter-proposal to SDEA’s proposal on Article 27: Non-Discrimination. SDEA had proposed that the District provide the necessary professional development, training and resources for educators to protect students from discrimination. SDUSD broadly accepted the concept—but only if their commitment to doing so is exempt from the grievance procedure, and therefore unenforceable. SDEA’s team made an immediate counter, making clear that we are here to bargain a contract this is a requirement, not a suggestion.
In addition to their non-substantive proposals, the District stated that they are withdrawing seven other articles that they had originally planned to bargain over. This is movement in the right direction, given the District’s glacial pace in negotiations, but still leaves 15 articles that they have yet to put on the table. That’s on top of the ten SDEA proposals that are currently awaiting counters from the District.
The next scheduled bargaining session is Sep. 7. At that session, SDEA’s team will make all four of our remaining initial proposals, with the goal that negotiations will move rapidly towards a fair settlement. Our expectation is that the District work toward doing the same.