The bargaining situation for this school year has been changing rapidly. As you are aware, earlier this year we were able to secure a small raise of 1.5% and a modest improvement to our health benefits package. However, the onset of Covid 19 has rapidly changed the situation for education in California. The governor recently proposed a budget with around an 8% cut to education statewide in order to balance the budget during this unexpected recession. However, the state legislature has been pushing back against these cuts. We are hopeful that the final budget will not have the drastic cuts originally proposed by the governor. Your bargaining team and executive board will continue to monitor this situation.
Please continue to call and tell the assembly and state senate to pass a budget with NO cuts to education.
As a result of Covid 19 and the fiscal crisis caused by it, OGEA has yet to sunshine bargaining language for next school year. There is very little to be gained by bargaining right now, as OGSD is now grappling with the fallout from the state budget crisis. District management did attempt to sunshine and begin bargaining with the following language:
- Article 12 - Compensation
The District has an interest in considering modifications to Article 12 to enable the District to maintain fiscal solvency and a sustainable budget.
- Article 13 – Health and Welfare
The District has an interest in considering modifications to Article 13 to enable the District to maintain fiscal solvency and a sustainable budget.
- Article 14 – Hours of Employment
The District has an interest in considering modifications to Article 14 to enable the District to maintain fiscal solvency and a sustainable budget.
This language was presented to the school board at the June 4 meeting. Through this language, management made it clear that they were seeking a combination of pay cuts, benefits cuts and/or furlough days in order to balance the budget for next year. However, multiple OGEA members spoke to this at the board meeting and the school board declined to vote on this language at the time. This means that, for now, OGSD management has no authority to commence bargaining with OGEA. However, there is nothing preventing management from bringing language back to the school board for another vote at future meetings. All OGEA members should make sure to pay attention to this situation over the summer and speak up when necessary.
Before asking OGEA members to give back pay and benefits, management should:
- Wait to see what the final state budget looks like and what, if any, help will be coming from the federal government.
- Negotiate with OGEA over how and when to reopen schools in the fall. We need a Memorandum of Understanding to govern how this can be done safely and effectively. This should be a higher priority due to the urgency of the situation.
- Discuss all cuts in open session at board meetings. Lay out all options so the public and OGEA can see what we are dealing with.
- Exhaust all revenue options, including the sale and/or lease of surplus properties.
- Exhaust all options for cuts to management positions. Cuts should be made as far from students as possible.
- Make extensive cuts to consulting services and travel expenses.
- Lead by example. Take pay and benefits cuts before asking OGEA members for these things. Cuts from management should go further than cuts to OGEA members.
Remember that WE are the ones who educate children. We advocate for, sacrifice for and fight for students every day. Management cannot do this without us. We are OGEA members. If we stand together in solidarity, we can guide our district through these tough times.