June 29 SESPA Bargaining Update – "WE ARE NOT WORTHY"
That’s the message that the SESPA Bargaining Team received from the District Team in the last few days of negotiations. Administrators argued that SESPA employees are paid enough and should accept a contract offer that includes five years of no pay increases from the District (2008-09 through 2012-13) and substantial cuts to nurses, security, behavior techs, and library techs. Some employees are being asked to accept a loss of 24 days of pay! Deputy Superintendent Marcia Harris will argue that SESPA and SEA employees should rely on the (mythical) State Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) that have been suspended for probably the next 4-6 years. Meanwhile, she just got a $10,000 bonus.
Compare this offer with the fact that administrative groups (Superintendent and Deputy Superintendent, confidential assistants, principals, and central office administrators) all received substantial improvements in their compensation packages, in addition to the (mythical) State Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA).
Shoreline School District’s ending fund balance is at an all-time high - over $15 million in the District’s May budget report). A fund balance = the money that is not spent.
Services to kids will be diminished after promising voters that Shoreline will retain the full staffing model of support services for students and families. Will we be forced to close libraries or health rooms for blocks of time? What about time for special education teams to plan behavior interventions and appropriate services for special needs students?
Never mind that SESPA employees were promised by Sue Walker that some restoration would be made to employees when the fund balance returned - in recognition of the sacrifices they have made for Shoreline Schools over the last decade (wage freeze for last two years, suspended professional development stipends, loss of over 100 positions, loss of hours, reductions in benefit programs, etc.)
When the SESPA Bargaining Team refused to freeze wages for five years and accept devastating cuts to our members’ work years, the District Team broke off negotiations and unilaterally declared impasse. The District will request that a State mediator be involved in negotiations. SESPA does not see how ending face-to-face discussions and placing the bargaining teams in separate rooms will improve the parties’ relationship or ability to communicate with each other.
Being RESPECTED, VALUED AND PAID would go a long ways with SESPA employees. If the Shoreline administration truly wants a productive working relationship, then they need to stop treating their hard-working and dedicated employees as "unnecessary expenses" and "non-essential" staff.
Please contact Superintendent Walker at firstname.lastname@example.org and School Board members at email@example.com to communicate your concern over how SESPA employees are being treated by the Shoreline administration. Talk to your friends and neighbors over the summer.
Thank You for Your Support, from your SESPA Bargaining Team
SAVE THE DATE – AUGUST 16 – COFFEE RALLY AT 7:30 AM
LOCATION TO BE DETERMINED – CHECK www.sespaunion.blogspot.com