Legal Ruling on PERB Complaint

For the last few years MBUTA has maintained that MBUSD has been aggressively hostile in negotiations and has displayed that hostility by not providing us with necessary information to which we are entitled by law in a timely and thorough fashion.

Of course, the District denied any such action and even in the face of a PERB issued complaint they denied and minimized their lack of response.

Parents and teachers were purposefully and strategically pitted against each other by District leadership as a lack of timely response to our requests for information allowed the Administration to perpetuate financial claims that made little sense until we had the information necessary to expose their “mistaken” accounting practices.

We knew, though, that what we asked for was needed information that would give us a true sense of the District’s financial picture. We knew, as well, that their failure to fully, completely and in a timely manner respond was hampering our ability to represent you at the negotiating table.  Confident that we were right, we chose to pursue the complaint before an administrative law judge.

Today, a preliminary decision was released showing that:

1. Our case was filed in a timely fashion despite desperate District claims to the contrary.

2. Our claimed scope of the complaint (the months and years cited for failing to comply) is legally sound and that District attempts to narrow the scope were “disingenuous.”

3. All nine of our broad requests for information WERE DEEMED TO BE LEGALLY VALID in our capacity as the exclusive bargaining agents of the certificated staff.  We asked for information regarding:

a. an entity on the books called the “Manhattan Beach School Facilities Corporation”

b. stipend information for all District employees

c. management salary schedules/details

d. contracts made with firms/individuals providing legal, accounting or consulting services

e. all adopted budgets for several years including all detail pages

f. communications with LACOE in which budgetary advice/directives were given

g. invoices and budgetary information associated with ALL aspects of iPad implementation

h. information regarding itemized information for all legal services

i. all public disclosures of collective bargaining agreements

4. Seven of our nine requests for information WERE HELD TO BE “UNREASONABLY DELAYED” and/or ONLY PARTIALLY RESPONDED TO by the District.

5. The District was found to be in violation of the Educational Employment Relations Act (EERA), Gov. Code Section 3543.5 (a), (b), and (c)

6. The District was found to be in violation of the EERA’s requirements for timely and/or complete responses to valid requests for information by the Union.

The judge is ORDERING that

1. MBUSD CEASE AND DESIST from “refusing to respond to MBUTA’s requests for information that is necessary and relevant to its representational duties” AND from interfering with protective rights.  That is a finding that the District was engaged in “unfair labor practices.”

2. MBUSD produce up to date responses for information on seven of our outstanding requests

3. MBUSD must post a notice of their violations of law in ALL work locations where notices are customarily placed

4. MBUSD “CEASE AND DESIST” from denying MBUTA the right to represent its bargaining unit.

5. MBUSD “CEASE AND DESIST” from denying employees their right to be represented by MBUTA.

6. MBUSD must provide written notification of their actions taken to comply these orders to the General Counsel of PERB.

The above is unprecedented in the history our District.  We are on record as saying that this District’s leadership has been more hostile to MBUTA that any administration on record.  These legal findings, after an impartial presentation of the facts, are proof that we have been up against an aggressively hostile administration that has done all they can to obfuscate the financial picture of the District so that you would not receive the compensation to which you are so deserving.

The question now is whether they will come to the table with a desire to negotiate and an intent to come to an agreement in which everyone’s interests, including the teaching staffs’, are respected.  We will know very soon when bargaining begins for a contract covering 2014-15.

Shawn Chen, MBUTA President

Lauri Gonalons, MBUTA Vice President

Bill Fauver, MBUTA Vice President

 MBUTA v MBUSD PERB Decision_LA-CE-5806

Legal Ruling on PERB Complaint

MBUTA and District Reach Tentative Agreement for 2013-14

We have a tentative agreement.  And by “we” we mean WE.  This agreement was made possible only because of your willingness to remain united in the best sense of the word UNION.  Your tenacity and sacrifice, your ability to stand up for what is right, made the difference.

Your Executive Board and Negotiating Team want to extend our most sincere thanks for your work, perseverance and support during this long and difficult process. We must also recognize and give thanks to the parents in the community who were willing to listen and contribute an enormous amount of their own time to raise awareness to the problem that prolonged this struggle. Their dedication remains invaluable.

The general terms of the agreement are as follows:

1.      A 5% on the schedule raise retroactive to July 1, 2013
2.      Maintenance of the 80/20 health and welfare agreement
3.      4 mandatory PD days in 2014-15, paid at your FULL DAILY rate (equivalent to 2% of your salary), sunsetting at the end of 2015.
4.      A continuation of the pilot teacher evaluation system for 2014-15, to be made permanent in 2015-16, unless changes are approved by a sub-committee made up of administration and MBUTA.
5.      An increase in the extra-duty pay from $38/hr. to $39/hr. effective upon ratification by both parties.
6.      For 2014-15, the District will provide all elementary 4th and 5th grade classroom teachers with an additional 3 hours per month of preparation time.

In light of this proposed settlement, we are encouraging each one of you to continue to give of your time, effort and expertise to make the educational experience of MBUSD kids the very best it can be. Please click the link below to view the agreement.

MBUTA Tentative Agreement 2013-14

MBUTA and District Reach Tentative Agreement for 2013-14

Superintendent Under Fire; Parents Urge Community to Push for Transparency

Community members responded quickly to an open letter from Elise and Grant Johnson, parents at MBMS and MCHS, who lambasted teachers that turned up at last week’s school board meeting with dozens of parents and students to demand transparency and express their distrust in district leadership after a $1 million “accounting error” in favor of the district. Kim Leserman wrote to Pennekamp teachers:

“Please know that we continue to support each and every one of you and hope that the letters in
the press today do nothing to impede your courageous and important fight to achieve the full
truth and transparency that you so deserve and we all need! “

Ms. Leserman included two attachments in her correspondence that carried an extremely important message to the community. She asked that if people read either attachment, they READ BOTH. She and Melissa Stein also expressed concern for “Trustees who could simply be caught in the cross-fire … with no ability to talk openly about their own facts at this point”.

We encourage every MBUTA member to read these documents to better understand the emerging situation! Please click on the links below to read BOTH attachments. VERY IMPORTANT!


Email trail between Trustee and Teachers , Letter to Elise



Superintendent Under Fire; Parents Urge Community to Push for Transparency

MBMS Summary of Wednesday’s Board Meeting

First let me say thanks to the 23 MBMS teachers that attended the school Board meeting last night. The room was overflowing with parents and teachers demanding answers. Parents asked, how can teachers negotiate fair compensation when the district is not transparent about their spending? Teachers asked, how can we trust an administration that refuses to listen to teachers? Students asked, how can anyone lose 1 million dollars? I’m sure Dr. Matthews asked himself, how can I get out of here? One former board member asked, how can everyone be so rude as to ask questions of the board? The most important answer of the evening came from Dr. Matthews; when asked if the accounting error, depleting the general fund of over $1,000,000, would have gone unnoticed without the continual questions by the union he said, that is correct!

Stacey Cook, MBMS Site Rep

MBMS Summary of Wednesday’s Board Meeting

Community Found Hope in Lost Trust

For those of you who attended Wednesday night’s Board meeting, you participated in an important evening. You witnessed your colleagues, from all schools and in huge numbers, giving up an evening of personal and family time to be a needed face in support of the truth. You heard the eloquence and passion of teachers, many of whom rarely speak in public, express the reasons they have lost trust in District leadership. You heard students who, on their own, displayed a knowledge of the subject and a strong sense of right and wrong as they addressed the Board on their financial “mistakes”. You heard parents who strongly and clearly demanded answers from the Administration on this financial mishap and lack of transparency in a manner that the Board should have been emulating for the last two years. When stakeholders share the same concerns and bravely standup for what is so clearly right and just, the students we teach are ultimately the winners. We can all hope the Board and this Administration “heard the message”, as the Superintendent claimed they did, and that concrete action is taken now and in the future to begin to repair the fractured trust and damaged relations that have resulted from their dismissive actions and lack of transparency in pursuing policy.

In case you missed it, this is really worth watching. A good place to begin is the 12 minute marker, but make sure you watch the students’ comments starting a little past 36 minutes. You will not be disappointed.

Community Found Hope in Lost Trust

MBUTA Executives Respond to Matthews’ Admission of Mishandling Funds

Mike Matthews sent a letter to parents and staff admitting to a 1 million dollar budgeting “mistake”. For two and a half years District administrators have said repeatedly that NO general fund dollars were used to fund the iPad program in MBUSD. They have said that in Board meetings. They have said that in community meetings. They have said that to the media. They have said that in writing. They have said that to us at the negotiating table.

We knew, based on budgetary analysis that this was not true.

We said that at Board meetings. We said that to any community members that were open enough to listen. We said that to the media. We said that at the negotiating table. Most importantly, we said this to the administration before and after we repeatedly requested all budgetary documents related to iPad expenditures.

These requests, the earliest of which goes back to August 2012, were met with silence. We received no documents and were met with every excuse imaginable on why that documentation couldn’t be provided. We took their failure to provide information on the iPad program and other budgetary issues to PERB and our charges were substantiated in the form of a formally issued PERB complaint. However, the District continued to withhold requested information and began a public “spin” campaign claiming that PERB’s recognition of wrongdoing wasn’t that at all.

As the date for the final PERB hearing loomed, we suddenly received some of the requested documentation. We still have not reviewed the material to ascertain that it fully meets our requests. However, the District knew we were now in possession of enough “proof” of budgetary chicanery that they had to act.

Clearly, the District knew that this documentation provided the “smoking gun” that supported our contention that general fund money was used to pay for the iPad program to the detriment of increasing teacher salaries (our salaries are paid out of the general fund). In the newest “damage control” effort, the Superintendent attempted, once again, to spin public deceit and a lack of budgetary transparency as a simple accounting error.

This was no “mistake” by the District. This was business as usual. They took the money for the iPad program out of the general fund just as we said. In doing so, it was either in collusion with the Board of Education (in which case the Board is equally culpable) or the administration willfully deceived the Board (in which case the Board will need to decide the appropriate response).

The District did not voluntarily come forward with this mea culpa. They were forced to reveal the truth since their budgetary cover-up was unraveling in the face of our persistence and an upcoming final judgment by PERB, the results of which would expose their duplicity.

The letter by the Superintendent was simply a calculated yet pathetic attempt to control a situation of his making that is quickly becoming uncontrollable.

The Board of Education has the authority to authorize expenditures.  However, the budgetary manipulations used by those in authority appears to have been for the purpose of denying fair compensation to teachers for salary and benefits by misrepresenting the true budgetary picture to the public and to our own members.

With the upcoming mediation, PERB hearing and our continuing review of provided documents, we can only assume that these budgetary maneuverings represent only the tip of the iceberg.

The MBUTA Executive Board

MBUTA Executives Respond to Matthews’ Admission of Mishandling Funds