Your PAT bargaining team met with the district’s bargaining team today for our first mediation session. Although we were in session for more than twelve hours, we were unable to make any tangible progress.
It was disheartening that the district brought in two new members to their bargaining team with no experience with PAT, our contract, or this bargaining process. At the same time, we were pleased to see Assistant Superintendent, Antonio Lopez, return to the District’s team. Yousef Awwad, the District’s main decision-maker, was absent for much of the day.
The District remains set on deleting our workload protection language from our contract. Further, the District has eliminated much of the language we believed we were close to agreement on, claiming it is “permissive language,” and they are not legally obligated to negotiate around it. Notably, they withdrew their own proposal for class-size caps at all grade levels.
We continue to give the district proposals that would improve teaching and learning conditions in the district, often at no cost to the district. Our proposals include increased planning time for elementary teachers; full-day Professional Development days to replace late starts and early releases; and goals to limit workload for educators, including K-12 classroom teachers, counselors, media specialists, special education teachers, school psychs, speech pathologists, and elective teachers. We also have proposals for a cost-of-living salary increase to stay competitive in recruiting and retaining qualified teachers to stabilize schools with high teacher-turnover, and to make sure educators have a place to park at their worksite.
Much of the day was spent trying to understand the District’s incomplete proposal, and waiting for them to respond to ours. We are working on creative ways to work around the District’s legal maneuvering to find a path forward for our members and students.
By the end of the day, we were not able to reach any new agreements. We discovered around 9:00 pm that all but one member of their team had already left. We are working on scheduling further mediation sessions before the start of the school year.