Compton Education Association response to CUSD Supt. Darin Brawley
'Teachers were trustful our employer would settle with a fair and equitable contract, but regrettably, this has not been the case' By PATRICK SULLIVAN On Feb. 3, 2016, Superintendent Darin Brawley of the Compton Unified School District
‘Teachers were trustful our employer would settle with a fair and equitable contract, but regrettably, this has not been the case’
By PATRICK SULLIVAN
On Feb. 3, 2016, Superintendent Darin Brawley of the Compton Unified School District (CUSD) sent a letter to the Compton Herald which was posted in ComptonHerald.com. The letter was intended to manipulate public opinion regarding a year-long negotiation process with teachers. Unfortunately, Brawley did not present the facts correctly.
It is true that the CUSD is making progress with student achievement; we are graduating more seniors, schools are winning state and national awards, and five schools received the Apple Grant, which provides each student with an iPad. Our teachers and administrators deserve all of the credit for these accomplishments. It is the teachers who work hard in their classrooms, providing a high-quality education to our students. It was also the teachers and administrators who, during their summer break, applied for the Apple Grant. We agree, now is not the time to slow down the process, but to work together to achieve excellence in our schools and programs.
The Compton Education Association has been negotiating with the school district for more than a year to settle a new collective bargaining agreement. Currently, teachers are currently working with an expired contract.
The following represents the shortcomings of the CUSD proposal:
1) The CUSD did offer an ongoing increase of 2 percent as well as to increase the monthly medical benefits cap by $100. Unfortunately, the school district also included language in their proposals which gives the CUSD the authority to revoke the small raise and health benefits contribution at any time.
2) The CUSD also included language in their proposals which would increase the instructional day by 5 percent. Because teachers would work 5 percent more and only receive 3 percent in compensation, they would be receiving a decrease in salary for the amount of time worked.
3) In the proposal, the CUSD is also aggressively pushing for larger class sizes, although the State of California provides money to lower them. Many of our students are unfairly crammed into classrooms with larger class sizes which negatively impacts student learning and places our students at a safety risk in the event of a catastrophe.
Our students would face challenges attempting to exit our classrooms because of the high number of students, desks, and chairs which would obstruct their path. In order to put these offers into historical perspective, it is important to remember that CUSD has been trying to decrease the pay of teachers for many years. During the recent State Budget recession, the District forced the teachers into contract negotiations in order to bully teachers into taking less money and decreasing the amount of instruction for students (furlough days).
4) Teachers fought back and were able to prove that the District had a large surplus of funds so they didn’t need to reduce salaries or take furlough days.
5) Teachers were able to guarantee that our students received 180 days of instruction and the education that they deserved.
CUSD was not fair to teachers during the difficult times and continues to mistreat teachers today. The District has not proposed a fair offer to teachers. A small raise which could be taken back at any time, and an extended work day, whereby teachers are working without pay, is not fair.
Although the superintendent, the deputy superintendent, and the associate superintendent of Human Resources negotiated a new contract for themselves in November 2015, which included thousands of dollars in perks, Compton teachers have continued to provide our students with a high-quality education, in spite of the fact that the CUSD has not offered teachers a fair and equitable contract. It is imperative for the community to realize that the teachers have been negotiating in good faith.
Teachers were trustful our employer would settle with a fair and equitable contract, but regrettably, this has not been the case. The leaders of the District decided to take their raises before everyone else and deprive teachers of a fair living. Many of our teachers can no longer afford to work in the District. With a teacher shortage looming over the state and surrounding school districts paying higher wages and providing better healthcare, many teachers are being forced to leave.
The Compton Unified School District cannot afford to have any more teachers leave. The District currently has vacancies that still have not been filled since August 2015 and many of our students are being taught by substitute teachers.
The Compton Unified School District needs to settle with teachers, provide fair working conditions, and guarantee the best education possible for our students.
Patrick Sullivan is president of the Compton Education Association.