Natomas Teachers, District Enter Fact Finding

THE NATOMAS BUZZ | @natomasbuzz
An ongoing contract dispute between the Natomas Unified School District and Natomas teachers’ union heads to fact finding today, July 10.

At issue: the district’s efforts to seek additional concessions from teachers by reopening negotiations for the 2011-12 contract.

The Public Employment Relations Board declared an impasse earlier this year when talks broke down between the Natomas school district and its teachers’ union.

District officials contend additional, retroactive concessions are needed to balance the Natomas Unified budget. The teachers’ union disagrees, pointing to a multimillion dollar reserve.

To date, the district and union have not met to negotiate a contract for the 2012-13 school year.

Without a contract for the new school year, district officials have been approving the school calendar on a month-by-month basis. School is scheduled to start August 15, but the last day of school for 2012-13 remains undecided.

The Natomas Teachers Association and the Natomas Unified School District will present their cases to a three-person fact finding panel this week. The panel will review the dispute and issue a nonbinding report with its recommendations.

The panel’s recommendations could prompt a settlement between the school district and teachers’ union, but if an agreement is not reached the district could impose concessions such as additional pay cuts for teachers. If pay cuts are imposed by the school district, it is likely the union will vote whether to strike.

Teachers and teachers’ union supporters took to Natomas streets over the weekend, passing out door hangers (pictured here). The union plans to host two town hall style community meetings about the district’s finances, concessions already made by teachers, and the status of contract negotiations.

The Natomas Unified school board recently approved a multiyear budget. According to Superintendent Chris Evans, the district will run out money without concessions by employees, whether or not education tax initiatives are approved by voters in November.

The state Public Employment Relations Board – also referred to as PERB – is a quasi-judicial administrative agency charged with administering the collective bargaining statutes covering employees of California’s public schools, colleges, and universities.

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