Our superintendent chose to respond to the issues listed on our first leaflet by sending a letter to families of PCS students and members of the "community" rather than directly communicating with us. The superintendent began his response with the statement " Petaluma City Schools is 100% committed to working towards maintaining competitive compensation for all employees." He does not understand our concerns are about much more than money, they are about respect. PFT proposed changes in our contract that do not affect the budget.The District has refused to agree to two non tasked days to work in our classrooms and to giving us a 48 hour notice for all District level meetings. In addition, they are insisting that we give up our rights. Under current labor law, we have the right to concerted activities and the District is insisting we give away those rights!
The District has no plan, based on their projected three year budget, to increase our compensation.They have not budgeted for a pay increase through the 2018-19 school year. In addition, if compensation is truly their highest priority, why are the attempting to remove parity from our contract? Why did the District re designate top administration positions giving them large pay increases while they had a structural deficit? Chris Thomas, the CFO, stated it was because these positions were assigned extra responsibilities. We have had much added to our duties without added compensation. Deciding to increase District level administration salaries while offering PFT a 0% salary increase is yet another sign of the District's lack of respect .
The Superintendent speaks of a structural deficit, not an actual one. In fact, the District's reserves will increase at the end of this year. Money not spent at the end of the fiscal year is added to the reserves and thus becomes one time money. One time money can not be spent for salary increases because salaries are an ongoing expense. In addition, it is considered deficit spending when the District takes money from their reserves. Gary stated the increase in STRS contributions was unanticipated. STRS increases were announced in 2014. Other districts have planned for the new STRS rates and were able to give their employees a pay increase. Budgets set priorities and our District's budget reflects theirs.
We have much work ahead. Talk to your student's families, neighbors, friends, and family. Let the community know that this is a fight for our students, Petaluma City Schools needs to stay competitive with other districts to attract and retain the best teachers. They must respect and value all their employees with their actions not merely their words.
Important General Membership Meeting
We are having a General Membership meeting April 17 at 3:30 at Casa Grande.This is an extremely important meeting and all members should attend. We will hear from our negotiators and discuss the path ahead. I look forward to seeing you there.
PERB ( Unfair labor practice) UpdateOn Tuesday, March 28, attorneys for the Federation and the District appeared before an Administrative Law Judge. This case involves the District providing requested information in a timely manner and our First Amendment Rights. We expect a ruling in May and will keep you posted.General Membership MeetingWhen
Monday, April 17th, 3:30pm
333 Casa Grande RoadPetaluma, CA