How can it already be November? It is amazing how fast this year has flown by. Elementary teachers have been busy with report cards and parent conferences and the first semester is drawing to an end for our secondary teachers. Thanks for all you do for Petaluma's students and families. I hope you enjoy your hard earned break and have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
The Federation has been very active representing you in various meetings and committees. There have been some major changes made by District Administration to districtccommittees this year. These changes were made without input from the PFT. EERC (Employer, Employee Relations Committee) is a committee that has experienced change. The meetings are no longer a part of the negotiation process. They are now held on separate afternoons, and members of the District Cabinet attend. These meetings are intended to be a time for clear and open communication between the Federation and the District, so if you would like to attend a meeting either to observe or present a concern to the group, please contact me.
By now, every site should have had a visit from District leadership. I hope everyone took advantage of this opportunity to speak openly and honestly about issues at your site and the district. Clear, honest and open communication is a vital part of restoring transparency and trust. If you have not had the opportunity to speak with Gary without your administrators in the room, or if Gary did not make it to your site, contact your site representative or me. We will request another visit for your site.
UNFAIR LABOR PRACTICE CHARGES
The Federation was represented by Sandra Larsen, Erinn VanderMeer, Suzanne Garcia, and Dana Moralini at a Mediation Conference at the PERB (Public Employees Relations Board) office in Oakland on October 18. The purpose of the conference was to reach an agreement with the district regarding unfair labor charges filed two years ago. The charges filed were about the District not giving the Federation accurate information in a timely matter and denial of our First Amendments rights of free speech. The latter is the most serious. It is about the District telling teachers that they could not pass out flyers 30 minutes before or after school. The Federation was eager to reach an agreement with the District and put this issue behind us. The District choose to send two attorneys and Linda Scheele. It seemed to us that the District did not share our desire to reach an agreement. After a very frustrating day, it became clear we would not reach a settlement. This matter will now be settled at a yet to be scheduled (due to District schedules) PERB Hearing. I will continue to update you about this matter as information arises.
The Negotiations Team will continue to send out an update after each session. These updates are sent via mail chimp to your personal email. Please be sure to read these updates. If you are not receiving them, you can email me at email@example.com and I will make sure your address is added to the list. Suzanne Garcia (McNear 2nd grade) is now our Chief Negotiator and Matt Beaton (Casa Special Education) has joined the team. We are working to create a team that represents all our members. Your Negotiation Team takes this responsibility very seriously and is working diligently to get the best possible contract for our members. We continue to be frustrated by the delays in discussing salary at the negotiation's table. Everyone should have received a joint communication about this delay. Chris Thomas (CBO) has assured us she and her team are going through the budget line by line. The end result will be a clear and accurate budget. The First Interim Budget Report will be presented at the December 13 school board meeting. We look forward to discussing salary and wages at our December 16 session.
New School Board Members
Congratulations to Ellen Webster and Frank Lynch for being elected to the Petaluma City Schools Board of Education. The Federation had endorsed both these candidates and looks forward to working with them.
Article VIII of our contract is about leave. Section B is about Sick Leave and Section C is about Personal Necessity. Please take some time to read these sections. You may take sick leave to care for illness of a child, parent, or spouse. Personal necessity is for instances of personal or professional need. You do not have to give the district a stated reason for your personal necessity for up to 6 days a year. Please be mindful of social media when you take a personal necessity day.
THE FEDERATION NEEDS YOU!
We currently have a very low balance in our Catastrophic Leave Bank. Please see the attached letter for details and consider donating leave if you are eligible to do so.
Membership Chairperson - The main responsibility of this position is to maintain membership records.
Site Rep - The main responsibility of this position is to represent your coworkers. There is a monthly Executive Council Meeting held on the 2nd Monday of the month. Currently Kenilworth, South County Consortium Teachers and Special Services do not have a Site Rep.