By Charly SHELTON
After 14 months of negotiations between the Glendale Teachers Association and the Glendale Unified School District, a tentative agreement has been made. The agreement, which is available at the Glendale Teachers Association website, was accepted by the negotiating teams from GUSD, led by Dr. Maria Gandera, and from GTA, led by Chris Stanley.
“We believe it’s a fair agreement, we worked collaboratively together to reach it and I’m pleased with the results,” said Taline Arsenian, president of GTA.
The agreement provides a 3% raise in salary for all GTA members retroactively to Jan. 1, 2015, and then an upcoming raise of 5% to take effect on Jan. 1, 2016. The retroactive raise will be doled out all at once by the GUSD at a date to be determined once the agreement is ratified and takes effect.
In addition to salary, issues of specialty teachers, such as those for visually impaired students, yard duty/supervision time and personnel, health benefits and class size reduction continuation, were all included in this most recent agreement. These issues now join the issues of leaves of absence, safety conditions, summer school, online courses and many more, which had previously been tentatively agreed upon between August 2014 and May 2015.
“We’ve been working for 14 months together and when you work with someone that long, you eventually come together,” said Arsenian. “It didn’t happen overnight, it took 14 months, and we were able to collaboratively decide and make compromises on both sides in order to reach our settlement.”
The next step will be for the GTA to collectively vote on the agreement as a whole. These votes will take place on Nov. 9, 10 and 12 at school sites. Once the GTA accepts the agreement by vote, it will be sent for approval by the GUSD Board of Education, probably at the Nov. 17 board meeting according to the GTA website.
This contract is negotiated for three years, from the 2014-15 school year through the 2016-17 school year. With negotiations taking 14 months to reach an agreement on this contract, it is likely that the new round of negotiations for the next contract will be starting soon. No official date has been set for the new negotiations to start, and both sides need to schedule and agree on a date that works for all involved. But Arsenian believes that start time will come sooner than later.
“We will probably take a break, maybe for a few months,” said Arsenian. “Perhaps sometime next semester, in the spring of 2016, depending on availability and I’ll have to speak with the district about this.”
In the meanwhile, this agreement is up for a vote by the members of the GTA. For information on the agreement and the next steps for those involved, visit glendaleteachers.org.
Arsenian added, “I’m very hopeful and confident that it will pass, it will be approved.”