Negotiations Overview and Updates

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    UPDATE: April 18, 2017
     
    The FCEA on April 6, 2017, asked the state agency that oversees public agency negotiations, the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB), to issue a formal declaration of impasse and assign a neutral mediator. When both sides cannot reach an agreement in negotiations, state law contains a mandatory impasse resolution process. Under the law, either one or both of the parties may ask the state to intervene.

    On April 11, the PERB declined to certify an impasse, stating that “the appointment of a mediator is not appropriate at this time.”

    The District and FCEA will return to the bargaining table on May 4.
     

     
    Folsom Cordova Unified is in contract negotiations with its two employee bargaining units: the Folsom Cordova Education Association (FCEA) which represents teachers and certificated staff, and the California School Employees Association (CSEA) unit, which represents classified, non-teaching staff members.

    FCEA's contract expired on June 30, 2016, and CSEA's expires on June 30, 2017. Folsom Cordova is in discussions with both groups to reach a successor agreement. The existing terms of both contracts remain in effect until new agreements are reached.

    The District is anticipating a $3.9 million deficit in the next fiscal year beginning July 1, and a $1.3 million deficit the following year, in 2018-19. Rising retirement costs are a driving factor, as are scheduled increases in employee pay. Because Gov. Jerry Brown is proposing lowering projected payments to schools in the short-term, school districts across California face a funding gap in at least the next two years.

    The questions and answers, below, are designed to offer factual information regarding ongoing negotiations with the FCEA, the District's financial position, and other important background information. 
     
    What is the District’s financial condition?
    The District is anticipating a $3.9 million deficit in the next fiscal year beginning July 1, and a $1.4 million deficit the following year, in 2018-19. Rising retirement costs are a driving factor, as are scheduled increases in employee pay. Because Gov. Jerry Brown is proposing lowering projected payments to schools in the short-term, school districts across California face a funding gap in at least the next two years.

    Here are details on the District’s structural deficit:
    Chart of the District's structural deficit
     
    Does the District have money it can use in its reserves for pay raises?
    The District has $637,947 in unassigned reserves after setting aside legally required funds for economic uncertainty; services for socioeconomically disadvantaged students, English learners, and foster youth; career preparation programs; and textbooks/technology. The majority of this revenue is one-time, and not an ongoing revenue source.

    See below for multiyear reserves projections:
    Multiyear Projections
     
    And see below for a detailed overview of how the District has set aside money (Assigned/Committed): 
    Committed Revenues
     
    Didn’t voters approve more money for schools? Why are districts facing deficits?
    Earlier this year Gov. Jerry Brown - cautious about declining state revenues and long-term economic uncertainty - unveiled his proposed 2017-18 spending plan for education . The projections are not rosy: Brown proposed lowering funding for schools by $500 million next year and is not offering much more than a minimum cost-of-living increase required by law.

    The governor's budget doesn’t include any new funding to cover rising employer retirement costs.

    So, even though California voters approved temporary tax increases to support education, schools are being asked to carry the burden of sharply rising employee retirement costs - outpacing new revenues for schools.
     
    See below for FCUSD’s retirement cost projections:
    Rising retirement costs
     
    When is the last time teachers received a pay increase?
    • 2015-16: 4.5% permanent pay raise and increase to District’s contributions to health premiums
    • 2014-15: 5% permanent pay raise and increase to District’s contributions to health premiums
    • 2013-14: 5% one-time bonus to pay back funds lost to furloughs

    See below for a chart showing how FCUSD’s salary increases compared to other school districts. 
     
    Salary increases across the county
     
    How does the District’s teacher pay compare to other school districts?
    Teacher pay in FCUSD is competitive with other school districts that have similar English learner and low-income student demographics. See comparison chart, below: 
     
    Pay comparisons
     
    When comparing maximum teacher compensation to other districts, Folsom Cordova ranks No. 5. See comparison chart, below:
     
    Maximum compensation comparison
     
    Has the District made an offer to FCEA regarding compensation?
    The District offered to draft an agreement that provided contingency language should the governor’s updated May budget revisions provide more financial flexibility to school districts. FCEA declined.

    How much would it cost to provide a raise to employees?
    See below for an estimate of what it would cost to provide a 1% increase to salary and benefits to all employees, including teachers. (FCEA has asked for a 3.5% increase.)
     
    Cost of 1 percent
     
    What is “EL/LI” (Supplemental Grant) funding, and can it be used for teacher salary increases?
    EL/LI stands for “English learner” and “low-income” students. California now directs a greater share of school funding to schools with the largest numbers of these high-need students, and requires districts to prioritize funding for services that help improve achievement for these students.

    Redirecting these funds away from direct services for our highest-need students would be both irresponsible and legally questionable. Two Southern California school districts, for instance, are facing legal challenges because of their spending practices:

    What happens if the District and FCEA go to impasse?
    The FCEA on April 6, 2017, asked the state agency that oversees public agency negotiations, the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB), to issue a formal declaration of impasse and assign a neutral mediator. When both sides cannot reach an agreement in negotiations, state law contains a mandatory impasse resolution process. Under the law, either one or both of the parties may ask the state to intervene.

    On April 11, the PERB declined to certify an impasse, stating that “the appointment of a mediator is not appropriate at this time.”

    The District and FCEA will return to the bargaining table on May 4.

    Can teachers strike?
    Under state law, a strike cannot occur until all steps in the impasse process have been exhausted. We are still in the beginning stages of that process in FCUSD, so any possible strike would likely be months away. The District is confident we can resolve our differences and reach agreement with FCEA.


    What is the difference between “one-time” and “ongoing” funding?
    Ongoing funding are sources of revenue that the District relies on each year. Examples would be tax dollars from the state and federal government, and local property taxes.

    “One-time” funding is a single payment from a source, typically to be used for a specific purpose. These can include grants, or state funding that must be allocated for things like textbook adoption, teacher training, technology, and more.

    It is the District’s position that using “one-time” funds, which are not guaranteed year-to-year, for permanent salary increases commits the District to rising costs for years to come without an ongoing source of revenue.

    Could the District send back “Engineering is Elementary” curriculum and use that money for teacher salary increases?
    The District used federal categorical funds (for restricted purposes) to purchase this STEM curriculum to ensure our elementary students experience relevant, science and technology based, hands-on projects.

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