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Impasse in Contract Talks for Alameda Schools

Negotiations between the district and the teachers union will go to a mediator.

The Alameda Unified School District released a statement Thursday saying it had reached an impasse in its negotiations with the district's teachers.

AUSD and the Alameda Education Association have been unable to reach an agreement on class size maximums for the 2012-13 school year, according to the district's statement.

For its part, the Alameda Education Association posted the news on its Facebook page Thursday afternoon: "The Public Employment Relations Board has determined the existence of an impasse in AUSD's case against the teachers."

A neutral mediator will be appointed by the Public Employee Relations Board to help the two parties negotiate, says the District. (A copy of the school district's formal request for a mediator is here).

Tensions have been growing between teachers and AUSD in recent months, with teachers expressing their frustration with budgetary decisions, including the use of a certain $1.1 million of "leftover" money from the 2010-11 school year on textbooks and programs rather than salaries and benefits. 

Teachers have also taken exception to the contract of District Superintendent Vital, approved in August, which includes pay increases, full health care benefits, and the possibilty of earning performance-based bonuses. 

AEF President Gray Harris says that Alameda teachers lost about $1.6 million in pay last year when they agreed to take eight furlough days to help the District balance its budget prior to the , Alameda's most recent school parcel tax.

AUSD says the AEA's most recent proposal for increases in salary and health care coverage, offered on Nov. 7, would cost the District $23.5 million over the three-year term of their proposal. 

In a Nov. 7, note to its membership, the AEA bargaining team wrote that they felt their offer to the school district, in which they retreated on the issue of class size (for the next three years), but asked for increases in salary and benefits, was "fair and reasonable."

"We have proposed in return a 3 percent salary increase for all unit members for the year 2012-13, 2013-14, and 2014-15," the AEA note reads. "We also proposed that the district provide full health care benefits for all unit members for the same three-year period. Because we are asking for less than the package the superintendent received in August we feel this is fair and reasonable offer that does no harm to the financial health of the district."

The AUSD press release is attached (click on the image of it to the right of this story). The Alameda Education Association's Facebook page is here and their website is here.  

Everyone makes mistakes, even Patch. If something in this article is wrong ... or not quite right, please email editor Eve Pearlman, eve@patch.com. 

Frederick Chacon November 20, 2011 at 09:13 PM
What you should be outraged about is the raise the BOE gave the Superintendent. You call this good management? Do you have any idea how many layoffs there were last year and how many retirement positions have not been replaced? Look at the this contract for Vital and tell me the BOE is not being irresponsible. On August 23rd, the Board of Education , approved a new FOUR YEAR contract for Vital, calling for ANNUAL 3% raises from a starting salary of $204,225. And that’s not all. The new contract includes the following sweeteners: * An annual $15,000 “performance bonus” (at this year’s rate of pay, that’s another 7.3% raise) for meeting certain goals * Fully-paid healthcare plan * Life insurance in the amount of her annual pay * Laptop computer, cellular phone, “and other personal communication appliance and internet access” (language from contract). There is no language in the contract limiting the amount of expenditure. * 30 days of paid annual vacation (in addition to the holidays granted other 12-month AUSD employees). Up to 20 days of this can, at the Superintendent’s request, be converted to cash, which could produce an additional cash payout each year of more than $15,700. * 20 days of annual sick leave * “Advanced degree” stipends in line with current AUSD policy for management employees (approximately $1400 annually for a master’s degree and $1400 annually for a doctorate)
LTWILTON November 20, 2011 at 09:30 PM
Yay, Fred! Also, I came across an AUSD newsletter from 1975, with a great article about the district's financial woes -- 36 year old story, and it could have been written yesterday.
a94501er November 21, 2011 at 05:28 AM
Hah! Suckers ... how is that you are fooled every time? Wasn't Measure A supposed to be about the children? Now you know better, perhaps you won't be as gullible the next time around.
a94501er November 21, 2011 at 05:30 AM
Ms EE: AFAIK, Measure A was NOT about pay hikes ... or was that the stated intention all along and the student population was a camouflage? Do tell.
bette page December 17, 2011 at 05:27 PM
LIke Mr Anonymous, I am a teacher living in Alameda and working in the Eastbay. I make 20K more than if I worked here. EVERY time the contract comes up I see the same arguments: SUPT. gets a sweetheart deal; Anti-meaure A folks think teachers are indentured servants who should be glad to be underpaid for the privilege of working here; parents want small class sizes. I am SO glad I took the other job offer, instead of Alameda's. The stress alone would impair my ability to concentrate on my job. How many of YOU would like to be furloughed for 8 days? That's money you will NEVER get back.

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