OEA response to Superintendent Wilson’s February 11 letter about contract negotiations

Here is a recent letter from OUSD Superintendent Antwan Wilson about the status of contract negotiations with the teachers: http://us4.campaign-archive1.com/…

Below is the teacher’s response. Since we regulary get updates from OUSD but the teachers do not have access to the same broad network, I thought I would post them both in one place.

Oakland Education Association
13 hrs · Edited ·
It is not always beneficial to do a tit for tat response. We decided, however, that there was cause to clarify our positions in regards to the letter to the community on February 11. Please keep up with our website (https://sites.google.com/a/oaklandea.org/oea/home) and emails for the latest news.
OEA response to Superintendent Wilson’s
“Bargaining Update” of February 11, 2015
OEA believes it is regrettable that the superintendent put out a “bargaining update” filled with inaccurate and misleading statements. If Superintendent Wilson believes that fear mongering is the best way to achieve a settlement, that’s his privilege, but we think it is unlikely to serve any useful purpose. Dissatisfaction with OEA’s proposal does not excuse purposely manufacturing fear through “Memories of Receivership” headlines.
1) The Superintendent implies that the OEA/OUSD settlement in 2000-2002 was responsible for the District being pushed into bankruptcy, completely ignoring the actual findings of fiscal mismanagement that led the District to overspend by $80 million and the unanticipated loss of 3200 students due to population shifts. It was not the agreement to raise teacher pay that pushed OUSD into bankruptcy it was OUSD mismanagement and a political environment willing to make it happen.
2) The Superintendent claims that OEA’s proposal would effectively absorb all of the $78+ million dollars in additional on-going funds the District has and is projected to receive between 2013-14 and 2016-17. OEA’s salary proposal is for about 37% of that amount. Per the District’s adopted budget for 2015-16, OEA’S SALARIES ACCOUNT FOR ABOUT 34% OF TOTAL COSTS. THIS SLIGHT INCREASE IS NECESSARY TO PREVENT ANOTHER MASSIVE EXODUS OF OAKLAND’S EDUCATORS TO HIGHER PAYING DISTRICTS.
3) On January 27, OUSD presented OEA with a package of proposals that stated, “The component proposals are offered in the context of an entire Package as a basis for settlement,” and clearly stated that acceptance of all terms was required for a settlement. OEA responded in the same manner, using slightly different language. Neither of these is unusual in the context of bargaining. And such proposals do not assume that all positions are unchangeable. Neither side, in presenting their respective package proposals had a “Take it or Leave it” attitude.
4) The OEA does have other cost items in our proposal because we know that the rate of student improvement increases with reduced class sizes and more support personnel such as counselors. We know from experience that if it is not in the contract, the District will not provide it. And we are targeting those schools with the most need as having further class reductions and more prep time. Now is the time to give these schools the support they need rather than wait until they are labeled as failing.
5) The District has failed to provide evidence for the need to massively change the assignment process currently in the contract or as provided for in a separate MOU. And, in the current placement practice outlined in the MOU, seniority is rarely used as the deciding factor.
6) The OEA has made offers off and on the table to come together to envision district-wide change that would be in the best interests of all students. This type of visioning would take time in order to be properly supported and enacted on the scale that would produce meaningful reforms rather than chipping away at already stressed out schools. Most, if not all, of the “flexibilities” that the district has proposed under Article 27 can be achieved now through the current waiver process.
7) OEA did not reject the proposal to give two years of credit for each year of service at Intensive Support Schools. We simply stated that we couldn’t accept it at this time as we were still actively discussing it within our leadership.
8) OEA proposed scheduling more meeting dates in order to work through to a settlement more quickly. OUSD declined at this time.

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