MBUTA Reaches Tentative Agreement with District

On Thursday, September 6, 2012 MBUTA reached a tentative two-year agreement with MBUSD in impasse mediation proceedings. The terms of this agreement stipulate a three percent (3%) salary schedule increase for 2012-13, retroactive to July 1, 2012, which will stay on the schedule unless there is a drastic reduction in the funded base revenue limit. In addition, the conditions of our current health and welfare benefits package will be maintained. Extra duty pay has been increased by 19.4 percent from $31.83 to $38.00 per hour. The parties agreed to reopen negotiations for 2013-2014 on the subjects of salary, health and welfare benefits, elementary teacher preparation time, school calendar for 2014-15, and one additional item by each party.

MBUTA and the District agreed to continue in impasse mediation to discuss changes in the certificated evaluation process for 2013-14. Please click the link for specifics of the Tentative Agreement .

MBUTA Reaches Tentative Agreement with District

An Open Letter to Angry Parents of Manhattan Beach

Recently, the teachers at Mira Costa High School overwhelmingly endorsed suspending writing letters of recommendation for college pending a comprehensive contract agreement.  There are those in the community who are angry.  We understand that.  Your anger is misdirected.

For 10 years teachers in MBUSD have received no salary adjustment that overcomes the effects of inflation.  For five years, teachers have received no salary adjustment, at all.  In that time, this community has supported a massive expansion of technology and a tax measure for buildings.  You have elected officials that have offered administrators raises that meet COLA and then offer 3% on top of that.  That compensation is in addition to the range of perks that your elected officials have offered in compensation packages to those administrators.   Yet, to the people that most affect your child’s future, the teachers, you have been silent in the face of the erosion of their compensation.  You haven’t spoken out on our behalf.  You haven’t advocated for us.   While we have tried to educate, we have been met with silence, at best, hostility, at worst.  You have chosen to endorse administrators who have nothing but a marginal direct effect on the educational development of your child.  You have elected board members who, using their finance experience to the hilt, have sought to drive down labor costs while improving the quality of the “product” that labor produces.

During the last ten years, teachers have been repeatedly asked to sacrifice our family’s financial health while various boards and administrators have sought to correct the errors of their predecessors always with the promise that if we did that, the board would make it right.   We believed the financial numbers we were given at the table at previous negotiations only to be told by the current administrative team that we were deceived.  Unprecedented reserves were built up on our backs for 5 years through budget trickery that over budgeted expenses and under budgeted income leading to a claimed deficit.  Then, in the quiet of summer, 1.5 million to 3 million dollar surpluses would be moved into the reserves.  Then, as negotiations approached, the board and administration took over half of those reserves and moved them into accounts that supposedly kept them from being used to begin to right a decade long wrong perpetrated against its teachers.  This year, we’ve seen COPs (Certificates of Participation) removed as a general fund obligation to the tune of 1.7 million dollars per year.  We were promised by a previous administration and board that once that was done, that would free up general funds for long overdue teacher pay adjustments.  Today, we’ve been told that there is no reason the current board and administration feels compelled to honor that commitment.

We are angry and we aren’t going to accept the status quo any more.  Teachers with over 15 years of experience have taken nearly a 20% pay cut over this decade.   While test scores have skyrocketed and your sons and daughters have received admission in the finest colleges, as AP scores have saved you scores of dollars in college costs and made your kids competitive in the college market, as our sports teams have excelled offering opportunities to many and our extra-curricular programs from MUN (Model United Nations) to choir have become national leaders, the community has allowed your leaders to treat the teachers responsible for this success as mere commodities.

You are angry.  We are angry.   We are angry that our kids in our families, thanks to the decisions you have allowed to happen over ten years, will not even reach the stage of having to ask for a recommendation for college.  For them, thanks to the shortsighted and cruel manipulations of this board, college is quickly becoming simply a dream that financially can’t come true.  Rather than be angry about us choosing not to offer a voluntary service that we have in the past, a service you have grown to rely on and feel entitled to, your anger should be directed at the individuals who have unnecessarily driven the financial situation of some of the finest professional educators in California into the ground.  We plead with you to speak out loudly and clearly to your elected representatives that teachers are important.  They are a priority.  They deserve to have their salary adjusted to begin to right a terrible decade-long wrong.  It can be done.  The financial means are there to get it done.  Teachers want to get it done soon.  The real question is, do you?

An Open Letter to Angry Parents of Manhattan Beach

Advisory Regarding Immediate District-Wide Actions

URGENT ADVISORY! THE MANHATTAN BEACH UNIFIED TEACHERS ASSOCIATION HAS IMPLEMENTED THE FOLLOWING INITIAL ACTION PLAN EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY:

MIRA COSTA HIGH SCHOOL

1. Teachers shall not commit to letters of recommendation until further notice.
2. Teachers shall not advise, sponsor, or host any clubs during lunch, or before school and after school.
3. Classrooms shall be closed to students during snack and lunch.
4. Teachers shall refrain from arriving at school significantly before 7:45 a.m. and avoid leaving campus significantly after 3:15 p.m., except where teacher is assigned a zero period class or
teacher is actively coaching an athletic team.
5. Teachers shall not volunteer for extracurricular duties.
6. Teachers shall not volunteer to provide coverage during preparation period for others called to IEP meetings.
7. Teachers shall wear MBUTA shirts on September 6, 2012 in a show of unity and support for a bargained settlement.

MANHATTAN BEACH MIDDLE SCHOOL

1. Teachers shall not advise, sponsor, or host any clubs during lunch, or before school and after school.
2. Teachers shall close classroom doors during non-instructional time.
3. Teachers shall not volunteer for adjunct duties, but shall comply with assignments by site administration according to Article 7 of the expired (2009-2012) collective bargaining agreement.
4. Teachers shall not volunteer to provide coverage during preparation period for others called to IEP meetings.
5. Teachers shall wear MBUTA shirts on September 6, 2012 in a show of unity and support for a bargained settlement.

GRAND VIEW, MEADOWS, PACIFIC, PENNEKAMP, AND ROBINSON ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS

1. Teachers shall mandate that students leave the classrooms for snack, lunch, and recess.
2. Teachers shall not volunteer for adjunct duties, but shall comply with assignments by site administration according to Article 7 of the expired (2009-2012) collective bargaining agreement.
3. Teachers shall wear MBUTA shirts on September 6, 2012 in a show of unity and support for a bargained settlement.

Advisory Regarding Immediate District-Wide Actions

MBUTA Notice to Staff Regarding Letters of Recommendation

RE: Letters of Recommendation

Dear Mira Costa Faculty,

We stand at a pivotal moment in our lives as professional educators and at a critical
juncture in our history as a faculty. We face a District that has declared impasse after a
refusal to offer us anything but a paltry one-time salary bonus tied to the prospect of
consistently higher fees for medical benefits.

We have generously given our expertise, our passion, and our time to a district that has
depended on us to forego salary increases in order to restore its reserves after they were
undermined by the gross negligence and misconduct of a former board and administration
more than a decade ago.

In our careers at Mira Costa we have devoted ourselves to providing students with an
exemplary education. We are a faculty who has continually and freely given an
extraordinary number of hours to activities that, if not given, would have resulted in an
extremely barren learning landscape. We have given so much because we believe in the
power of learning, the profound beauty of our subject matter, and the precious potential
of our students.

Yet, here we are, looking at the reality of a district that does not value or respect our
enormous contributions enough to offer us a fair wage increase on the salary schedule.

We must stand together and illustrate the countless things we do for free by not doing
them until we have resolved our labor contract.

Commitments to write letters of recommendation will be one of the first things to be
postponed until a contract settlement has been reached. Clearly, this is difficult. And
make no mistake about it, we will be blamed for “hurting kids”. But, remember, it is the
district that is hurting students by placing us in a position in which we have no other
recourse but to withhold many of the things we so dearly love to give. (On Tuesday,
August 28, the union will pass out notices regarding letters of recommendation for
teachers to post in their classrooms.)

We must support each other through this decisive time. If we don’t, we face the prospect
of a district that will continue to give us nothing, nothing, and more nothing because they
know that we will accept it.

Manhattan Beach Unified Teachers Association

MBUTA Notice to Staff Regarding Letters of Recommendation

District Retires COPs with Bond Proceeds and Sheds Estimated $1.7 Million in Annual Payments

Dating back to 1995 and 2000, a series of district wide modernization efforts, particularly the high school, were financed by a convoluted mixture of bonds (Measure A and M) and COPs (Certificates of Participation). This modernization was plagued by cost overruns that exceeded 50 percent. The initial COP which provided bridge financing could not be repaid with bond proceeds and other COPs had to be issued to finish construction of the administration building and a two-story general education building, due to the cost overruns. Setting aside money from the general fund (where your pay comes from) for interest and repayment of debt has been encroaching on “ongoing” revenues for more than a decade. This has denied teachers of cost-of-living adjustments for the better part of the last fifteen years, during which time the salary schedule has slipped from top 25th percentile to bottom 30th in Los Angeles County. Teachers and their families have quietly financed the completion of those structures with their own pay.

An explicitly stated objective of Measure BB, passed in November 2008, was to transfer the remaining portion of the COP obligations to general obligation bonds, paid for by property taxes. In 2012, the district has finally retired the COPs. This financial transaction freed an estimated $1.7 million in annual payments from the general fund. This represents an ongoing reduction in district outlays that can easily be re-purposed to cover a long-overdue adjustment in teacher compensation.

District Retires COPs with Bond Proceeds and Sheds Estimated $1.7 Million in Annual Payments

Superintendent Matthews’ and Deputy Bagley’s Salaries to Go Up 3% Anually

A few months ago MBUTA requested a copy of the MBUSD employment contracts with Superintendent Matthews and Deputy Rick Bagley. We are angry. Both of their salaries are guaranteed to rise by 3% each year. Their negotiated agreement with the district includes the maintenance of purchasing power even though they each make in excess of $150,000 per year.

Bagely routinely talks about “total compensation”, makes arguments on the MBUSD website and via email sent to staff about the poor state of the economy in California to argue against an adjustment to the 10 year erosion of your salary, yet his own salary of $158,000 (not including a range of perks), awarded by the school board, the same school board that has denied you of the same consideration for 10 years , will increase by $4740 after this year and by $4882 after the next year. That is an increase of $9622 in “total compensation” over the course of just two years.

But a close look at Bagley’s contract reveals that all management employees are granted a yearly COLA percentage adjustment in addition to the guaranteed 3% RAISE .

Matthews’ compensation was set at $190,000 when he was hired. Today he earns an additional $5700, and will increase his earning by at least $5871 next year. That is an increase of $10,571 dollars in just two short years. Remember, this is in addition to guaranteed COLA increases.

So, while our most experienced teachers have seen declining paychecks and purchasing power over the course of a decade, our least experienced administration has been granted generous and increasing compensation packages by the same Board that offered you zero “on-the schedule” salary adjustment for the next three years.  Unfortunately, for many of us with 10 years of experience, it will take 20 years, not 2 years to see increases of that magnitude; and those with more years may never get there.  Where is the equity? When will you become the priority?

Superintendent Matthews’ and Deputy Bagley’s Salaries to Go Up 3% Anually