The JCEA bargaining team officially declared impasse at the bargaining table Monday, April 7. Impasse is called for when either or both parties feel that progress is not possible. Impasse does NOT mean bargaining is over, rather it means stopping the current process and moving into a process of mediation or fact finding with a third party.
Following is the statement made at the table by bargaining chair and Wheat Ridge High School teacher Stephanie Rossi:
Tonight, our JCEA bargaining team must continue our tradition of standing up for all Jeffco students. JCEA and Jeffco Public Schools have a long and proud tradition of successful, problem-solving negotiations. I would like to remind all of you of our opening statement: Our first contract was negotiated in 1969 and for 45 years, through good times and bad, we have been able to come to agreement about teaching and learning conditions for teachers and students. Trust, transparency, accountability to all of Jeffco’s stakeholders and the deep understanding that parents and teachers know best what our students need to be successful have guided our team’s work. Unfortunately and sadly, our expectations have fallen short this year. It has become clear to the JCEA bargaining team that this year’s bargaining process is broken. It is our belief that the Board’s team has not been empowered by the Board to actually bargain and furthermore, we believe that the communication of the Board’s bargaining goals have not taken place in a way that was truly intended to reach a mutually agreed upon outcome. Our community deserves better. This new reality became clear when we created interests and options around our issue of extending the contract; we met most if not all of the stated Board interests and yet the Board’s team was unable or unwilling to accept one of the options. There must be Board interests that have not been expressed at the table, or the Board has simply told their team “No.” This is not how an interest based process works. The JCEA team cannot try to meet the Board’s interests if we don’t know what they are! Our students and our community deserve better. Last Monday we discussed the budget draft and asked about the $11.7 million “placeholder” set aside for salary increases. The question we had was about the form that a salary increase might take- the MOU from last year’s negotiations promised step movement for 14-15. It was inferred that steps were problematic. Three nights later, the Board publicly reduced the $11.7 million by $4 million. Little did we know at the bargaining session that the amount of $11.7 million was in question as well. We do not believe the Board’s team knew that was coming and believe that the Board has again not clearly communicated to their own bargaining team their direction. We stand for ALL students getting the best public education in Jefferson County and the decisions rendered last Thursday’s Board meeting indicates a Board majority that is not focused on what is best for ALL students in Jefferson County. Great teachers will be leaving Jefferson County for better paying and better-managed districts in metro Denver. Refusing to invest money in free full-day kindergarten programs to support kids in poverty further helping to in raise 3rd grade reading score is not what is best for ALL kids. Consequently we are officially declaring impasse on ALL issues brought forward to the table from both sides. Impasse is called for when either or both parties feel that progress is not possible. Impasse does NOT mean we end bargaining, rather it means we are stopping the current process and will move into a mediation or fact finding with a third party. We are sending the Board a very clear message tonight: JCEA will always stand up for all students and we invite you to stop your current direction and join us to protect and preserve our 45 year tradition of collaboration and cooperation. If you won’t give teachers and staff respect, JCEA and the community will demand it. We will not stand by and allow the Board to dismantle and destroy the long and proud tradition of successful, problem-solving negotiations. WE WILL STAND FOR ALL STUDENTS.
Here’s the Budget Worksheet referred to above:
As a reminder, in the Employee Summit 2011, as highlighted in Ed Week News February 2013 and (Jeffco Schools Press Release), when the district was looking at cuts of nearly $40 million from its 2011-12 budget, Jeffco employees stepped up and took a 3% pay cut across the board. The list of proposed reductions included:
- A three percent loss of compensation for all employees, resulting in a four-work-day reduction and two student-contact furlough days.
- The closure of Martensen and Zerger elementary schools.
- A loss of 212 jobs throughout the district, including teachers, administrators and support staff.
- Moving Long View High School staff and students to McLain High School
- Higher athletic fees
- Transportation fees
The suspension of the outdoor lab experience for Jeffco sixth-graders at Mt. Evans and Windy Peak
Employees have not received a pay increase since the 2010 negotiated contract. (2010 employee contract).
At an earlier bargaining session, district officials said the current contract would not be extended past 2015…co.chalkbeat.org
FOX31 Denver contacted the Jeffco School Board to get its side of the issue, but phone calls and requests for comment via email were not returned. kdvr.com
Teachers are more upset by the board’s vote last week to not put $600,000 into full-day Kindergarten. www.cpr.org
We at Support Jeffco Kids would like to remind everyone that a teacher’s working condition is a child’s learning condition.