District, teachers association ratify agreement

Independent fact finding report found in district’s favor for concessions, citing deficit spending and poor state budget.

By Rachel KANE
Just a day after the Glendale Unified School District and the Glendale Teachers Assoc. ratified their employee labor agreement, the district has released a fact finding report which justifies their requests for concessions.
The agreement, ratified Tuesday evening, comes on the heels of the release of an independent fact-finding panel’s advisory report, released to the district and the teachers association on Aug. 17 after months of ongoing negotiations.
The report, written by impartial Chair Bonnie Prouty Castrey, points to the district’s deficit in both restricted and unrestricted funds, decline in student enrollment and the state’s unstable budget as justifications for concessions they asked of the teachers association, which were roundly rejected until last month’s tentative agreement.
“From the Chair’s study of the budget documents, it is a fact that the District is spending down its reserves and is in deficit spending, which is not sustainable, as it will lead to insolvency,” states the report.
The district has also been experiencing a decline in enrollment. The district received state money based on how many students they have in their classrooms, so when they have less students, they have less money.
The report indicates that the district expects to receive more than 20% less funds from the state due to California’s budget missteps and projected funding levels.
According to the report, these factors led the Castrey to find in favor of the district’s assertion that it was unable to pay the teachers association members their requested salary increases.
“What I am relieved by is the community can know we are financially responsible stewards and trustees of the tax dollars and represent the students and the teachers and the fact finding report quantifies our decision that the four board members made in March when we decided to move forward to give ourselves the flexibility for the possible layoffs at that time,” said Glendale Unified School Board President Greg Krikorian.
After an expected federal windfall of funds, the district re-hired all employees who had been laid off in March and was able to settle most of them back into positions with the district.
The final agreement between the district and the teachers association featured a few concessions on both sides, including the agreement on an 8% annual increase in the teachers’ salary caps.
Both groups also came to a compromise on health insurance co-pay, with only a percentage of teachers paying partially into their health insurance as opposed to the district’s previous offer, which would have all teachers in the district making co-payments on their health insurance.
The district also asked for two furlough days from the teachers this coming school year that would be void if funds from HB 1586, federal legislation to fund educational jobs, were approved, said Dave Samuelson, Asst. Supt. of Human Resources.
Board members and district officials had consistently asked for concessions from the
teachers association throughout the entire negotiations process.
The fact finding report mirrored the district’s concerns, with Castrey writing that “substantial concessions spread over this year and next year are crucial in order to remain solvent …”