Attacks Continue on Special Education

December 4, 2017

Bargaining Update

December 1, 2017

Bargaining Highlights

  • SDUSD made another regressive, concessionary proposal on Special Education. Their proposal would raise caseloads and lead to layoffs.
  • Tentative agreement was reached on increasing “no tell” personal days from three to eleven, a change that SDEA members have sought for years.
  • SDEA and SDUSD inched closer together on Shared Decision-making and Charter Schools, but no deals were reached.

Read below for additional details and full proposals.

Special Education: District Continues to Propose Caseload Increases

SDUSD proposed caseloads of 22 for all Education Specialist: Mild/Moderate teachers and Resource Specialists. This would be an increase of two for 465 special educators! Our schools need more special education teachers, not less. By increasing caseloads, the District could layoff dozens of special educators, continuing their path of balancing their budget on the backs of our neediest students.

Tentative Agreement Reached on Eleven “No Tell” Personal Days, Up from Three

In a victory that SDEA members have sought for years across many bargaining campaigns, yesterday SDEA and SDUSD agreed to language that increases our number of “no tell” personal days from three to eleven. These days will now be personal necessity days instead of personal business days, but can still be used at the discretion of the member. The new language removes the bar against attaching the leave to a vacation, and removes the current 48-hour noticing requirement. This is a step in the right direction on the part of the District, and is the same sort of movement we need to see in Shared Decision-making and other non-monetary issues still on the bargaining table.

This new benefit and all of the other improvements we bargain will not take effect until our entire contract is settled and ratified. The sooner we win our entire L.E.A.R.N. contract, the sooner we can enjoy our new hard-fought rights.

Slow Progress on Shared Decision-making and Charter Schools

SDEA’s team made a new proposal on Charter Schools, and both teams made proposals on Shared Decision-making. Our Charter Schools proposal would bring greater accountability to the co-location process, whereby charter schools take over unused space at District schools. Our Shared Decision-making proposal protects the rights of Program Governance Teams, and memorializes best practices around PLCs and assessments. The District accepted some but not all of our improvements. Shared Decision-making and Charter Schools are no-cost areas. The District needs to show respect to educators and accept all of our fair, no-cost proposals.

What Next?

Bargaining continues Dec. 11, Dec. 14 and into the new year. Almost all of our scheduled bargaining days are on Thursdays. Let’s kick off “Together Thursdays” by wearing SDEA red on Dec. 14 and every Thursday after that until we win a strong union contract.


All Bargaining Proposals:

The Fight against Layoffs Starts Now

November 29, 2017

Bargaining Update

November 29, 2017

Bargaining Highlights

  • SDUSD’s Class Size proposal seeks new takebacks on elementary staffing allocations, on top of the takebacks they are still proposing on secondary staffing allocations.
  • With yesterday’s Class Size proposal and last session’s Special Education proposal, Superintendent Cindy Marten and the School Board are now paving the way for big educator layoffs this spring.
  • The District’s team repeated their same 0% wage proposal for two and possibly three years.
  • SDEA’s team made proposals to improve special education staffing and strengthen shared decision-making.
  • If we want to protect our schools, our jobs and contract, we must be ready to fight back.

Read below for additional details and full proposals.

SDUSD Once Again Balancing Their Budget Mistakes on the Backs of Educators

As SDEA members’ pop-up picket organizing was sweeping the District earlier this month, SDUSD asked to add several bargaining dates to the calendar before year’s end. SDEA’s team agrees that we need a fair settlement now, not later. But if Superintendent Cindy Marten and the School Board think that what they sent to the table yesterday is going to get us there, they are wrong. While declining enrollment and its effects on the District’s budget are real, it’s also true that the proportion of the budget spent on SDEA’s bargaining unit has been steadily declining for at least five years. The District might have budget problems, but chief among them is a refusal to prioritize students and frontline educators. If we are going to reach a contract settlement, that needs to change.

District Now Seeking Across-the-Board Class Size Increases

SDUSD made a regressive bargaining proposal on class size that would eliminate the elementary staffing allocations. They also repeated their proposal to eliminate secondary staffing allocations. Staffing allocations are what guarantee the number of teachers a school gets. The District’s proposal would cut the amount of teachers TK-12, resulting in bigger classes across the board and enabling Superintendent Cindy Marten and the School Board to issue a wave of layoff notices this spring.

District Makes No Movement on Wages, Hours or Transfer

SDUSD’s team passed their same wage proposal from September: No raises at all for two and possibly three years. They are still refusing to expand elementary enrichment opportunities/prep time. And instead of giving any consideration at all to SDEA’s ambitious, cost-neutral proposal to bargain a new, fair transfer process, the District proposed simply creating a committee.

SDEA’s Team is Fighting for Special Education and Shared Decision-making Improvements

In the last bargaining session, SDUSD’s team proposed increasing special educator caseloads, paving the way for reduced services to students and special educator layoffs.

Yesterday, SDEA’s team fought back. Our proposal would:

  •         Keep Education Specialist Mild/Moderate teachers at 20:1
  •         Lower Resource Specialists to 20:1
  •         Make caseload numbers a hard cap
  •         Impose an immediate financial penalty for caseload overages
  •         Strengthen the rights of general educators with more than 20% of students with IEPs
  •         Require the District to produce an operational description with a full continuum of special education services available

SDEA’s Team Wins Movement on Leaves, Discipline Rights

SDEA’s team has been fighting to expand members’ ability to use personal business leave. This issue is about respect. Yesterday, the District’s team finally made movement in the right direction. The District’s proposal would essentially roll personal business leave into the personal necessity category and increase the amount of leave from three to eleven days. Their proposal would also lift the bar against attaching the leave to a vacation, and remove the current 48-hour noticing requirement.

SDUSD also made movement towards SDEA’s proposal to align employee suspensions with the requirements of the education code.

These are steps in the right direction, but combined with the District’s proposals on wages, class size, hours and other core L.E.A.R.N. priorities, they are nowhere near what we need to settle a fair contract.

What Next?

Bargaining continues tomorrow, Dec. 11 and Dec. 14. Keep in touch with your AR and CAT teams to find out how we can fight back together.


All Bargaining Proposals:

District Moves, But Nowhere Near Enough

November 17, 2017

Bargaining Update

November 17, 2017

Bargaining Highlights

  • After our Nov. 8 pop-up picket, the District is finally picking up the pace at the table. We reached two tentative agreements and added three more bargaining dates in the next month.
  • But while District is saying they want a fast settlement, what they’re putting on paper at the table doesn’t match their words. We have yet to see the movement towards our LEARN bargaining priorities that we will need to reach a contract settlement.
  • In fact, the District made concessionary proposals on Class Size and Special Education.
  • SDEA’s bargaining team once again took the lead, making a strong settlement package on wages, class size and hours to settle a LEARN contract.

Read below for additional details and full proposals.

District Needs to Put Their Money Where Their Mouth Is

Our Nov. 8 pop-up picket got District admin rattled. We now have bargaining dates scheduled for Nov. 28, Nov. 30, Dec. 11 and Dec. 14. The District’s team repeatedly said they want to wrap up contract bargaining before the end of the year. So do we! But that means the District needs to stop coming to the bargaining table and simply crying poverty. They need to make some real movement towards our LEARN bargaining priorities.

What would that look like? SDEA’s bargaining team made a package settlement proposal on Wages, Class Size and Hours that:

  • Reaffirms our proposal for a 2.5% raise for this year and a 3.5 % raise for next year. These raises would outpace cost-of-living adjustments and move our pay into the top half County-wide.
  • Protects the secondary 36 hard cap.
  • Lowers class size in grades 4-6.
  • Protects the 24-to-1 TK-3 class size average, and introduces a cap of 27.
  • Lowers PE class size to an average of 50 with a cap of 60.
  • Increases elementary enrichment/prep time and increases prep time staffing allocations.
  • Strengthens work hours protections.
  • Restores the fully funded BTSA program for new teachers.

District’s New SPED and Class Size Proposals would INCREASE Caseloads and Class Size

While SDEA’s bargaining team continues to fight for a contract that will make our schools stronger, the District’s proposal on Special Education and Class Size would move our schools backwards.

Special Education: District Wants to Balance Budget on the Backs of Our Neediest Students

During last fall’s bargaining input sessions, special educators explained that there is no difference between the work that Ed. Specialist: Mild/Moderate teachers and Resource Specialists are doing under the District’s current service delivery model. But the caseloads are different. Ed. Specialist: Mild/Moderate caseloads are set at 20, while RSP caseloads can go as high as 24. That has led to the District converting Ed. Specialists to RSPs just to increase their caseloads. To solve this problem, SDEA has proposed bringing everyone’s caseloads down to 20.

Well, the good news is that the District has finally agreed that there is no difference in the work being done, and so the caseloads should be the same. But the really bad news is that instead of bringing the RSP caseloads down to 20, the District wants to make everyone’s caseloads 23. This means that roughly 110 Resource Specialists would see a caseload decrease of one student, 465 Education Specialist: Mild/Moderate teachers would see their caseloads increase by three students!

That’s not “cost neutral,” which has been the District’s mantra at the bargaining table. That’s a huge cost savings for the District. It would lead to worse services to students and significant decreases in special education staffing. SDEA’s bargaining team estimates that the District’s proposal would cut roughly 70 special educators from our District. That’s the opposite of what our neediest students deserve.

Class Size: District Would Slash Secondary Staffing Levels

The District continues to seek significant concessions on secondary class size. The District’s proposal would prevent the 36 had cap from taking effect until the 8th week of school, and would completely eliminate the staffing allocation formula for secondary schools. This means that high schools could essentially replace SDEA members with community college professors. While high school students can already take community college classes for dual credit, the District must maintain current high school staffing levels—actually producing lower class sizes. The District’s removal of the staffing allocations would raise class size and trigger layoffs at secondary schools.

Tentative Agreements on Parent Teacher Home Visits and School Funding

Yesterday we did reach a tentative agreement on two new articles—Article 34: Revenue for Public Education and Article 35: Parent Teacher Home Visits Project.

Revenue for Public Education

California is the sixth largest economy in the world and the richest state in the union. Yet our funding for students ranks 46th in the country and we have over 50% of our students living in poverty. We must invest in the schools ALL our students need and deserve. To achieve that goal, SDEA and SDUSD reached tentative agreement regarding the District’s commit to secure funding for our schools at a level of $20,000 per student by 2020.

Parent Teacher Home Visits

A tentative agreement was reached to include the Parent Teacher Home Visits (PTHV) project in our union contract, and to secure $30,000 in District funding for the project this year and next year. PTHV is a national program designed to strengthen relationships between educators and families, with the proven effect of keeping students in district schools. Sites will be able to choose to participate through a vote of Site Governance Team. Member participants at participating sites will be able to volunteer, get training, and receive pay to conduct visits.

What Next?

SDEA’s team is committed to making a hard push to settle a fair LEARN contract before winter break. But that will only happen if Superintendent Cindy Marten and her bargaining team continue to see thousands of members standing beside the SDEA bargaining team, just like they did on Nov. 8. Let’s all wear SDEA RED on Nov. 28! Let’s make sure we’re also staying in touch with our CAT teams. Depending on what happens on Nov. 28, we may need to swing into action on Nov. 30.


All Bargaining Proposals:

Our Pressure is Working – Tentative Agreement Reached on Safety

November 3, 2017

District Still Needs to Make Real Movement on L.E.A.R.N.!

Bargaining Update

November 3, 2017

Bargaining Highlights

  • Over the last two bargaining sessions, SDEA has made thirteen proposals, including a comprehensive proposal to settle our entire L.E.A.R.N. campaign with a fair raise and the supports our schools need.
  • The District brought only two proposals yesterday. They responded to only one piece of our L.E.A.R.N. settlement package—Article 8: Hours—and rejected almost all of our proposed improvements.
  • The District has not moved off their proposals for a 0% raise, increased class size, weakened seniority rights in our transfer process, and no improvements for Special Education.
  • We did reach a tentative agreement on Article 11: Safety.
  • SDEA proposed several new articles designed to stabilize our schools through charter school accountability, a Parent Teacher Home Visit program, and a commitment to increase school funding.

Read below for additional details and full proposals.

SDEA Wins Strong Safety Improvements

  • Yesterday we reached a tentative agreement on Article 11: Safety that includes:
  • Air conditioning in all classrooms, with construction to start no later than Feb. 2019.
  • Protections for members whose non-classroom workspaces will not be air conditioned.
  • Staff members who don’t receive training and resources to implement restorative justice cannot be required to do so.
  • Requirement that the principal contact parents when a teacher suspends a student from class.
  • Increased reimbursement amounts for personal property damaged at work, with the current cumbersome pre-registration process removed.
  • Adequate workspace for counselors.

The sooner we settle and ratify the rest of our contract, the sooner these new benefits and protections will take effect!

No New Movement towards Our L.E.A.R.N. Goals

Despite the SDEA bargaining team taking the lead two weeks ago with an across-the-board package proposal to settle our entire L.E.A.R.N. campaign, the District’s team failed to return with an equally substantive package of counter-proposals. Instead, the District came back with one counter-proposal to our broader package and proposed only on Article 8: Hours. They state they want to settle our contract as quickly as possible, but that won’t happen if they continue to bring only two proposals to each session. The SDEA Board has given our bargaining team the full direction and authority needed to settle a L.E.A.R.N. contract NOW. The Superintendent and School Board need to do the same.

SDEA Makes Ambitious Proposals to Stabilize Our Public Schools

New Revenues

California is the sixth largest economy in the world and the richest state in the union. Yet our funding for students ranks 46th in the country and we have over 50% of our students living in poverty. We must invest in the schools ALL our students need and deserve. To achieve that goal, SDEA proposed that the District commit to securing funding for our schools at a level of $20,000 per student by 2020.

Parent Teacher Home Visits

SDEA has taken the lead in piloting a Parent Teacher Home Visit (PTHV) program in SDUSD. PTHV is a national program designed to strengthen relationships between educators and families, with the proven effect of keeping students in district schools. Millennial Tech Middle School was the first in our District to pilot the program, with great success. Yesterday, SDEA proposed memorializing that program into our contract. Sites could choose to participate, and member participants at each site could volunteer, get training, and receive pay to conduct visits.

Charter School Accountability

SDEA proposed new accountability measures around charter schools designed to the level the playing field for charter and district schools. These include:

·         A new educational impact report for the authorization or reauthorization of charter schools.

·         New non-discrimination measures for charter schools, including an investigation trigger whenever 5% or more of students with IEPs or English Learners leave a charter school.

·         Stronger rules around charter school co-locations on district school campuses.

Get Ready for the Nov. 8 Pop-up Picket!

Yesterday’s bargaining session shows us yet again that the District isn’t going to hand over a fair contract just because the bargaining team asks. They need to see all 6,000+ SDEA members seated at the table.

We made the Superintendent and School Board a promise: Settle a fair L.E.A.R.N. contract with us now, or we’re picketing on Nov. 8. The District passed up the opportunity to settle with us yesterday. Now it’s time for us to make good on our promise!

Let’s show the Superintendent and School Board what it looks like when 6,000 members at 130 schools demand a fair contract now. Make sure to check in with your site AR so you know what time your site will be picketing on Nov. 8. When we all stand together, we win!

All Bargaining Proposals:

SDEA Proposes Raises in a Strong Settlement Package

October 25, 2017

Bargaining Update

October 24, 2017

Last week, SDEA’s bargaining team proposed a 2.5% raise for this year and a 3.5 % raise for next year. These raises would outpace cost-of-living adjustments and move our pay into the top half County-wide. Our proposal was part of a strong settlement package for a two-year contract that would also include:

  •         Fully paid family healthcare with all current options
  •         Better special education caseloads and supports
  •         Lower class size
  •         A new, fair transfer process
  •         Increased elementary enrichment/prep time
  •         Stronger work hours protections
  •         Paid maternity leave and expanded personal business leave
  •         Restoring the fully funded BTSA program for new teachers

In presenting our wage proposal, SDEA’s bargaining team scrubbed the District’s budget to make sure that our proposals are not only fair, but affordable. SDEA’s team asked pointed questions about the budget that the District’s team could not answer, and pointed out that the District’s historical pattern of underestimating revenues and overestimating costs continues. Meanwhile, the percentage of the District’s budget that is spent on educator salaries continues to steadily decline. That’s not a budget deficit problem. That’s a budget priorities problem.

SDEA’s package of proposals paves the way to a strong, fair, fast settlement. It is now time for Superintendent Cindy Marten and the School Board to agree.

District Disrespect at the Table Continues

On a day when they weren’t even presenting anything, the District’s bargaining team still managed to convey a serious lack of respect for those of us at schools and in the classrooms.

SDEA’s Special Education proposal includes new financial penalties for the District when they violate special educators’ caseloads. Our proposed penalty is $20 a day for every student above the caseload cap, until the District assigns enough staff to bring caseloads back down. The District has been treating special educator caseload caps as optional, so SDEA’s proposal creates a strong disincentive for future violations.

The District’s Director of Special Education responded by asking, wouldn’t that create an incentive for special educators to diagnose more students onto their caseloads so they can make more money? The SDEA bargaining team’s response was strong and clear. Educators are the ones fighting tooth and nail to get enough special education support for our students, while top District administration continues to cut student services to the bone. Not only are they violating our contract, they are violating our students’ rights under the law. And they think we are going to falsify student disabilities, adding to our own overwhelming workload, just to make 20 bucks? Shameful.

These comments simply continue the same pattern we’ve been seeing.

The District said, “We won’t give you ten personal business days because teachers might abuse it.” Then they said, “We won’t reimburse you for your property damaged at work unless you have an original receipt (on top of the police report you already have to file!) because teachers might abuse it.” And now they say, “We won’t compensate you for caseload overages because teachers might abuse it.”

Enough already! It’s time for the District to treat us with the respect we deserve by settling a fair contract with us and honoring it.

Let’s fight back on Nov. 8!

The SDEA bargaining team ended the meeting by delivering thousands of signatures from educators, parents and students across San Diego Unified in support of our L.E.A.R.N.! bargaining campaign and in support of our Nov. 8 Pop-Up Pickets to the SDUSD bargaining team.

Now we need to make good on our Nov. 8 promise! On Nov. 8, thousands of SDEA members will stand in solidarity with parents and students to support the fight for schools our students deserve! See your site Association Representative to make sure your school is ready for the Nov. 8 Pop-Up Picket. Together we are stronger!

All bargaining proposals:

State of the Union 2017

October 11, 2017

As delivered by SDEA President Lindsay Burningham at the October 2017 SDEA Fall Leadership Conference

Good morning everyone, and welcome to our 2017 SDEA Fall Leadership. For those of you here today who I may not have met, I am Lindsay Burningham, kindergarten teacher and SDEA President. It is hard for me to believe that I am in my fourth and final year as SDEA President and delivering my last State of the Union address to all of you. When I became a kindergarten teacher just over 13 years ago, I never would have imagined I was going to be the president of SDEA, but I want to thank all of you for giving me the opportunity to be in this position. We have accomplished a lot together in the last 3 years and we have a lot of work to do in the year ahead!

I would also like to thank each one of you for choosing to be here today. I know that on a Saturday morning, the last place you probably want to be, is back at school. But you’re here, and if you’re here, it’s because you are dedicated to each other, our union, public education and especially to our students. Thank you for giving up your time to build your skills as a union leader and build the capacity of our union to win the fights ahead.

I also want to thank you for stepping up and being a union representative and leader in SDEA. I know that being a representative of this union isn’t easy, it takes courage and hard work. What you do for our members, is more than just advocating for their rights under the contract and more than just attending a meeting with them. What you do for our members is lead them to build strength in themselves, and when you do this, it allows our members to help their students and school communities to do the same. It’s the perfect combination of both teaching and doing; it is the reason we all chose to be educators, our belief and faith, that public education is a means to a better world.

We all know the last school year was challenging, and after all our hard work and commitment in the 2016 election, we still awoke to face a stark and an unknown reality, not only for Public Education, but for our entire existence as we know it. A reality grounded in immense insecurity at the national level stemming from the election of a President and the appointment of a Secretary of Education who believe public education should either be privatized or dismantled. We also experienced our own homegrown insecurity, created by the district’s decision to make slash-and-burn cuts to its own budget, a decision that not only led to issuing over 900 layoff notices to our members and colleagues throughout the district, but also instilled fear and insecurity in our students and their families.

Today, even though we succeeded in bringing back all our members, we are still fighting to undo the damage created by such an ill-advised decision. None the less, through all this insecurity we remain united and committed to our students, their families and our educators. You rose to face the challenges that were placed before us, head on. Last year, we conducted over 125 bargaining input sessions and launched our SDEA L.E.A.R.N.! bargaining campaign for the schools our students and educators deserve. Through the L.E.A.R.N.! campaign, we are committing to advocate for the resources and support that our educators and students need both in and outside the classroom. The priorities you shared in the bargaining input sessions have become the foundation for our bargaining proposals. If you are to succeed in the classroom, you need the resources and supports to get you there.

SDEA also joined forces with more than 50,000 educators, from large urban school districts across the state and created the California Alliance for Community Schools. An alliance committed to fighting against the privatization of our public schools, through joining organizing efforts with labor and community partners across the state. This alliance of education unions currently represents the largest cities in the state, from the Oakland Education Association to the United Educators of San Francisco and the United Teachers of Los Angeles. These large urban school districts face many of the same challenges we face in San Diego, from disinvestment in schools and communities, especially those with the greatest needs, to educational policies that discourage authentic teaching and learning, and the rapid expansion of privately managed and unregulated charter schools at the expense of our neighborhood schools. As we stand up and stand strong to face these challenges and win, we will be doing so united with over 50,000 fellow CTA members and public education warriors across the state.

As we all know, life is not without its challenges, and one major challenge comes from the appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court of the United States.

In 1977, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Abood v. Detroit Board of Education decision, which established a public employee union’s right to collect “Fair Share”. Fair share is the idea that everyone who enjoys the benefits and protections of the union contract should, in fairness, contribute to maintaining the contract. Current Supreme Court rulings acknowledge that it’s not fair for some people to get union benefits for free while others pay. Whether it’s the General Legal Service program that provides our members with outside legal representation, or the funding necessary to advocate for the rights of educators and students at both the National, State and local levels, our union’s ability to collect our “fair Share” of dues has been a major component in SDEA’s ability to fight back all threats to public education that would harm our members and students. The appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and Supreme Court case Janus v. AFSCME will change all of that, when it is expected to be upheld in June 2018.

The law would continue to require public sector unions like SDEA to bargain and enforce the contract for everyone, but would allow individuals to decide whether to pay or not pay their fair share for those benefits. Lawsuits like Janus are being funded by the same billionaires who stand to profit from privatizing public schools once our unions die. Public sector unions are the single strongest and most effective defender of public services. With our unions out of the way, the path will be clear to convert or replace public schools with for-profit charters and other money-makers that are good for billionaires, but bad for kids, bad for our communities and bad for educators who deserve to live a stable, middle class life.

If you want to see what life looks like for educators without fair share, look at our sisters and brothers in Michigan and Wisconsin where state legislators have recently killed fair share. Many members think they will get the same benefits without paying union dues, and stop paying. The union then becomes too weak to effectively bargain and enforce the contract. Wages decrease. Health care premiums skyrocket. Basic workplace protections around hours, safety, class size and other supports vanish. Overnight, educators in Michigan and Wisconsin went from having a 150-page contract to a 15-page handbook, which in one local required female teachers to wear skirts and pantyhose to work. I don’t want my employer dictating what I wear, do you? If SDEA members don’t band together to protect our union, this could be our new reality within a year.

Unlike Michigan and Wisconsin who faced these attacks overnight, we know they are coming. We have time to prepare and we have time to stand together, stand united and stand up for our union and public education.

The challenges we face today, are not unique to these times we live in. This union has faced similar challenges before, and we’ve always come out the other side stronger and better equipped to represent our members, students and public education.

But, if we are to succeed in our endeavors, we will need to evolve, and we are going to need everyone! It is not a matter of if, but when public sector unions will lose Fair Share fees, with the strong likelihood that it will happen around June 2018. At the same time, schools in San Diego Unified face a steady decline in enrollment due to charter schools. The solution to both these problems is one and the same. We must organize!

We must organize to build a union so powerful that every member understands the value of their membership, and we must organize with parents in our school communities so that they understand the value of their local public schools.

Despite good conversations and stated commitments to creating an organizing culture at SDEA, the reality remains that the bulk of our work continues to be representational. Why? Because the fundamental structure of our union roles and responsibilities remain those of a representational union, not an organizing union.

If we want an organizing union, we must create leadership and staff structures that allow and support organizing. We cannot continue to have a handful of members and staff doing all of the work within our school sites and our union. We must walk the hallways of our buildings, talk to our fellow members, build relationships and get them more active and engaged in the work we all do.

Although member dues are necessary to do the work we do, they are not the key to our success. Our success and the future of our union is, and always will be in our members ability to unite in defense of themselves, their students, their communities and the future of public education. We are over 6,000 members, every one of us connected by our profession and passion for public education.

All of you here today, could have decided to be somewhere else, but you didn’t. You chose to be here, and for that, you are your Union’s greatest asset. I am immensely grateful for everything you do every day for your students, your school and SDEA and I want to thank you in advance for all the work you will be doing in the year ahead as we build a stronger SDEA to win the fights ahead. You are SDEA! We are ALL SDEA!





Big Win on Benefits, Let’s Keep Up the Pressure

Bargaining Update

October 11, 2017

Bargaining Highlights

  • The District officially pulled the health benefits article off the table. This means that our healthcare is protected and cannot be changed during the term of our contract!
  • The District moved significantly closer to SDEA on providing air conditioning in every classroom— this will improve classroom and student safety.
  • The District proposed weakening seniority rights in our transfer process.
  • SDEA made another strong proposal on work hours.

Read below for additional details and full proposals.

SDEA Wins on Health Benefits!

After announcing just two weeks ago that they would be opening our health benefits article on Oct. 5, the District reversed course and officially pulled that article off the table. What happened in between Sep. 19 and Oct. 5? SDEA union meetings at fifty-plus schools just in that two-week window, a plan to show up at the Superintendent’s Oct. 17 State of the District address, and a union-wide red t-shirt day. When we stand together, we win!

Positive Movement on Safety

The District has committed to providing air conditioning in all classrooms and educational support spaces, a giant leap forward in the right direction. This improvement in contract language will provide significant relief to our educators and students who work/learn in spaces currently not equipped with air conditioning. This language will include the installation of air conditioning units in thousands of classrooms and educational support spaces.

The District also committed to provide training and resources to educators and staff who are expected to implement restorative practices. The District’s proposals also require administrators to utilize shared-decision-making in each school community before implementing restorative practices—which is a positive acknowledgment of the need for stakeholder input before implementing significant programs like restorative practices.

Lastly on safety, the District proposed to add a new requirement that members provide an original purchase receipt in order to receive reimbursement for personal property destroyed at work. SDEA did not accept this new addition that can prove to be problematic down the road—we intend to offer a realistic counterproposal on this piece.

We Still Have a Fight in Other Areas and Must Keep Up the Pressure


When bargaining began, SDEA’s team made an ambitious and thoughtful transfer proposal that would bring more stability to our school staffing, and would create a more fair and transparent process for moving voluntarily or involuntarily from one school to another. The District rejected every single part of SDEA’s proposal with no satisfactory explanation. Even when pressed, they couldn’t explain their objection to most of our proposal, suggesting they simply hadn’t taken it seriously enough to even consider. The only change the district proposed was increasing the number of candidates who may be interviewed when filling posted vacancies from the current number of five candidates to ten. Such a change would weaken our current seniority rights.


SDEA’s strong leaves proposal would make several significant changes: Establishing paid maternity leave that does not come out of accrued sick leave (much like what educators in the Grossmont School District recently won), expanding parental bonding leave for all new parents, increasing the number of sick days we can use for personal business each year from three to ten, and allowing members who are ill better access to using Family Medical Leave.

On Oct. 5, the District finally made their counterproposal. Although they made movement in the right direction on parental bonding, the District rejected our proposals on maternity and personal business leaves. Regarding maternity leave, the District is claiming poverty, but has yet to provide evidence that our proposal would create a cost burden. In fact, members who give birth already take maternity leave, so SDEA’s bargaining team believes there would be little to no fiscal impact on the District budget. The only difference would be that new birth-mothers would not have to burn through sick leave that they could otherwise use in the future or save for eventual STRS credit—just like members who don’t give birth are able to do.

Shared Decision-making

The District rejected all of SDEA’s proposal, instead proposing that a mediated conversation around Shared Decision-making in the future would be the best course of actions.


SDEA made a counterproposal on hours that continues to fight for expansion of the elementary enrichment program, strengthens protections around prep. time, and would establish new rights around grade-level/subject changes and classroom moves.

How Can We Stand Up to Win a Fair Contract NOW?

The District’s rapid reverse-course on health benefits shows that when we all stand up and DEMAND what is right, the District changes their behavior. Here is what every SDEA member can do right now to get in the fight for a fair contract:

  1. Attend your site’s Wave One Union Meeting if it hasn’t happened yet. See your AR for info!
  2. Sign the L.E.A.R.N. petition, and see your AR about getting parents to sign as well.
  3. Join the delegation of SDEA members delivering our L.E.A.R.N. petitions to Supt. Cindy Marten at her State of the District Address at 4 p.m. on Oct. 17 at Sherman Elementary.
  4. Join in the union-wide pop-up picket on Nov. 8 at your school!

All Bargaining Proposals:

Bargaining Update: Special Education and Wages

September 30, 2017

Bargaining Highlights

September 22, 2017

  • District rejected SDEA’s proposed improvements for special education—and added language that weakens Early Childhood Special Education caseload protections.
  • District did propose to streamline the process for addressing caseload overages.
  • District continues to propose a 0% raise for at least two years, adding a possible reopener in year three.
  • District will make a healthcare proposal on Oct. 5. Given their current stance about their budget, it is unlikely that they are opening our healthcare article to make improvements.
  • SDEA made a strong counterproposal on safety. We are close to winning a guarantee of air conditioning in every classroom.

Read below for additional details and full proposals.

Special Education

In yesterday’s bargaining session, the District finally responded to SDEA’s proposal on special education. SDEA is fighting for lower special educator caseloads, compensation for caseload overages, increased staffing, expanded special education supports, and establishing a true continuum of services for our students. On a positive note, the District agreed to refocus the Special Education Workload Committee on district-wide issues, allowing individual caseload overages to move directly to the grievance process. Everyone recognizes that the District isn’t flush with money; but, we have to make some progress in addressing the real challenges that face our Special Education program.

The R in L.E.A.R.N. stands for Resources for Kids, and our students with IEPs need resources and support from the District. SDEA’s bargaining team is committed to fighting for those resources at the table. All SDEA members can join the fight by attending your site’s Union Meeting, signing the L.E.A.R.N. petition, and joining in the union-wide pop-up picket on Nov. 8 at your school!


After proposing a zero percent raise for “a multi-year agreement” at the last bargaining session, the District followed up yesterday with two packaged proposals:

  • A two-year contract with a zero percent raise for both years.
  • A three-year contract with a zero percent for two years, and a wage reopener for the third year. There is no guarantee the wage reopener would result in a raise.

While it is true that SDUSD’s budget has been negatively impacted by a loss of student enrollment, the budgetary problems are not such that a raise is impossible during the term of this agreement, in order to keep our wages competitive County-wide is impossible.

A core component of our L.E.A.R.N. contract campaign is to ensure that we are able to Attract and retain the best educators. SDUSD’s proposal moves us in the opposite direction, but SDEA’s bargaining team will be making a wage proposal in the near future based on an analysis of the District’s true budget picture.


SDEA’s team made a strong counter-proposal on safety, including:

  • An air conditioner in every classroom by 2019.
  • Guaranteeing adequate, safe workspaces for itinerant members and counselors.
  • Requiring the District to get stakeholder input on what restorative justice should look like for each involved school community, and to provide necessary supports at schools where restorative justice is being implemented.

Thanks to the voices of hundreds of SDEA members calling for air conditioning in every classroom, we are very close to winning an agreement on this issue!

All Bargaining Proposals:

SDUSD Proposes 0% Raise, Class Size Take-backs

September 11, 2017

Bargaining Update

September 11, 2017


At a contract negotiations session last Thursday, SDUSD proposed a zero percent raise for SDEA members for the life of the agreement—which could be anywhere from 2-3 years. SDUSD claims that its (notoriously inaccurate) budget deficit projections make it impossible for them to propose any raise. SDUSD also proposed to stop providing BTSA support for new educators, would require new teachers at the bottom of the salary schedule to pay thousands out of pocket to clear their credentials.

SDUSD’s wage proposal is offensive and unacceptable. While it is true that the SDUSD’s budget has been negatively impacted by a loss of student enrollment, the budgetary problems are not such that a raise during the term of this agreement to keep our wages competitive County-wide is impossible. In fact, it wasn’t even clear that SDUSD’s team undertook the necessary budget analysis—like determining what even a 1% raise for SDEA members would actually cost—before making 0% proposal.

A core component of our L.E.A.R.N contract campaign is to ensure that we are able to attract and retain the best educators. SDUSD’s proposal moves us in the opposite direction., SDEA’s bargaining team will be making a wage proposal in the near future based on an analysis of the District’s true budget picture that moves us in the right direction.

Class Size

SDUSD also proposed to gut several important pieces of our contractual class size protections. SDUSD’s proposal delays the 36 hard cap for secondary schools until the 7th week of school, and completely removes any rules SDUSD must follow in determining how many teachers secondary schools get . The District also proposed making 17 schools (all atypical and alternative schools) entirely exempt from class size protections! After strong rebuke from the SDEA bargaining team, they withdrew that part of their proposal just two hours later. That’s good—but how did that proposal make it across the table in the first place?

SDUSD’s proposal also totally rejected SDEA’s previous proposal to cap non-athletic (e.g. football team) PE classes at no more than 50 students. SDEA’s proposal for the cap on PE classes is based on the needs and safety of our students and educators.

SDEA’s proposal on class size also included numerous pieces that did not have any sort of monetary implications, but SDUSD completely rejected those proposals as well. Ensuring lower class size is also a component of our L.E.A.R.N campaign and is important to our school communities—and SDUSD’s proposal is not in line with the wishes of our communities.

Safety and Hours

In a sign of positive movement, the district’s team proposed that all school sites would begin construction on air conditioning by 2019, moving them closer to that piece of SDEA’s safety proposal.

However, just as with our class size proposal, SDUSD rejected dozens of SDEA’s proposed improvements on safety as well as work hours, despite little to no monetary cost being attached.

There are many ways that the District can show respect to educators that have no cost attached. For the District to bring a 0% raise to the table without making any significant movement on the cost-neutral parts of SDEA’s L.E.A.R.N. campaign is a sign of real disrespect to San Diego’s educators.


One place where the District actually did the right thing was in reaching a tentative agreement on SDEA’s non-discrimination proposal, which would require the District to provide the necessary professional development, training and resources for educators to protect students from discrimination, and backing off of their proposal to make it exempt from the grievance procedure.

This shows us that the District is absolutely capable of sending proposals to the table that align with our shared values. Now they need to do the same with all of the other parts of our contract.

Other Proposals

The teams also discussed aligning employee suspensions with the requirements of the education code, ensuring that future contract negotiations start before the expiration of the contract, and continuing the work of designing a new educator evaluation plan.

Despite its alarming proposals, the District did come fully authorized and prepared to engage in negotiations for the first time since bargaining started five months ago. Our hope is that the District will continue to engage in future negotiating sessions with the same sort of urgency and authority it brought to the negotiating table on Thursday.

Our Plan to Win a L.E.A.R.N. Contract!

Thursday’s bargaining sessions shows yet again we can’t rely on the District to simply hand over the L.E.A.R.N. contract our students and schools deserve. SDEA leaders and staff have planned three waves of escalating union-wide action this year that will build us to win a strong contract by spring.

Every school in SDEA will have a Wave One Union Organizing meeting between now and late October. Your participation in your school’s union meeting and the actions to come will make the difference between success and failure in the fight ahead. Ask your AR when your Wave One meeting will be! We can win, and we will win, if we stand together. Because SDEA members know, Together We Are Stronger!

SDEA Makes Strong Special Education Proposal

July 14, 2017

Bargaining Update

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.

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