By Timithie NORMAN
The Glendale Teachers Association recently rejected a proposal by the Glendale Unified School District to defer five previously agreed-upon furlough days for the 2012-13 school year into the 2013-14 school year after negotiations broke down over other issues including collective bargaining agreements and health care.
GUSD offered to defer five previously agreed-upon days to the 2013-14 school year, leaving the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years intact. Both parties nearly reached agreement during negotiations on May 30, but GTA then insisted that “no other contractual issues could be discussed until furlough issues are resolved.”
“The district cannot agree to have its hands tied on all other issues,” said GUSD Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources David Samuelson in a prepared statement. “For example, the current Aug. 24, 2010 collective agreement with GTA requires both parties to commence negotiations on a Successor Agreement (the next collective bargaining agreement) no later than Nov. 1, 2012.”
Deferring the furlough dates, as the district proposed, would ensure a full 180-day school year calendar for students, 186 work days for teachers, and restore full pay for teachers in the next school year. While the GTA decision to maintain furlough days in 2012-13 would save the Glendale Unified School District $2.3 million, it results in an effective 2.5% pay cut for teachers.
“We tried to defer and we thought that was a good proposal for all employees, students, and parents,” said Maria Gander, GUSD executive director of Human Resources. “But they did not want to negotiate anything until we know election results in November and the furlough issue is resolved, and the district cannot agree to those terms.”
The November ballot initiatives are shaping up to have a huge impact on local schools, influencing everything from deferred maintenance to depleting reserves to union negotiations. Though the district and its constituents anxiously wait for the result, some business cannot be delayed for the next five months.
In January, GTA and GUSD agreed that there will be five furlough days in the 2012-13 school year, including three instructional days (when students would have been in school) and two non-instructional days. Now negotiations continue as to when those days will take place.
Since the 2010 GTA contract agreed to furlough days, the district has not had to utilize any of its furlough days. Dates have either been deferred into future years or rescinded as unexpected revenues came available.
No one from the GTA was available for comment.