Lodi Unified School District teachers have approved a second tentative labor agreement put up for a vote this year. They have been working without a contract since June 30, 2009.
It must still be approved by the school board. A vote is scheduled for tonight.
“The association feels it is in the best interests of all to settle this matter and move forward,” said union president Jeff Johnston, who represents approximately 1,500 educators. He blames much of the economic issues on the state of California’s budget.
“Teachers will remain the dedicated, compassionate and consummate professionals they have always been, but will do so now in fewer instructional days per year and at a greater financial loss for their own families,” he said. “Unfortunately, nobody in California’s educational system wins in these conditions.” Approximately 76 percent of the 1,110 voters approved the agreement. Among the union concessions:
• Two percent pay cut retroactive to July 1. • Seven and a half unpaid furlough days this school year which results in an approximately 4-percent pay cut • A second 2.75-percent pay cut that will be eliminated when the district receives federal money recently approved by Congress. • No automatic salary increases next June or the following year.
Under the new pay scale, a first-year teacher’s annual salary will be $36,896, compared to $73,898 for a veteran teacher at the highest pay level.
“I’m very happy we’ve come to an agreement,” board president Richard Jones said. “It’s a good day for Lodi Unified.”
The alternative could have been teachers striking.
The parties have been in negotiations since November to reach $17.7 million in ongoing savings.
In April, nearly 80 percent of the union rejected a proposed contract and talks continued behind closed doors. At the end of May, the district filed for impasse for a second time after the school board failed to act on a new proposal.
Under this agreement, the furlough days will cut the next two school years for students by a week, although the five days will likely not be consecutive. For example, one instructional day that could be cut is the Friday after Veterans’ Day, since the holiday falls on a Thursday this year.
The district will also attempt to decrease kindergarten through third-grade class sizes to 28 students, fourththrough sixth-grade class to 31, and seventh-grade through high school class sizes to 34.
And, at least 40 additional teachers will be rehired this year. More than 245 received final pink slips in May, and the union has estimated only about half were called back for part-time or temporary work.
Finally, it declares that any federal money received by the district to restore teacher jobs must go toward salary reductions. The district expects to get between $4.5 million and $5.5 million of the $26 billion package signed by the president last month to save education jobs.
Contact reporter Jennifer Bonnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lodi Unified teachers have approved a second tentative labor agreement put up for a vote this year. They have been working without a contract since June 30, 2009.
Approximately 76 percent of the 1,110 voters approved the agreement. Election results were released Monday, and the board is expected to ratify the contract at a special meeting tonight.
Among the union concessions:
* 4.75-percent pay cut retroactive to July 1.
* 71/2 unpaid furlough days this school year.
* No automatic salary increases next June.
Teachers and administration have been in negotiations since November to achieve $17.7 million in ongoing savings. Salaries and benefits comprise close to 90 percent of the district's annual budget, and the teachers' union is the largest employee group.
For more on the story, see Tuesday's News-Sentinel.