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Community Message regarding status of Labor Negotiations

September 28, 2017

Dear Dublin Families,

 

We are excited to be in full swing of the 2017-18 school year.  We just recently announced many exciting new accomplishments and events, such as our district’s National Merit Semifinalists and our partnership with Dublin Partners in Education (DPIE) to test all students at Dublin High School on the PSAT/SAT. As we prepare for these and other academic milestones, however, we face some challenging circumstances.  We wanted to make certain you hear directly from us how we are working to address and minimize these challenges. 

As you may be aware, the district has not yet been able to reach an agreement with the Dublin Teachers Association, the labor union representing teachers and other professionals in our schools. That said, the Board and District staff remains committed to providing our dedicated employees the highest level of compensation that fiscal restraints allow.  Recent history supports and affirms this commitment. Staff has received the following increases over the past three 
years:

  • 2016 – 5 percent total raise (3 percent on-going, 2 percent one-time)

  • 2015 – 5 percent raise

  • 2014 – 2.5 percent raise

We are currently engaged in negotiations that are more protracted than we would all prefer in large part due to fiscal challenges at the state level and changes in personnel at the district level. Specifically, we did not have a Chief Business Officer virtually all of last year and we were without a Fiscal Director for the last quarter of the school year.  Despite our best efforts, this inhibited our ability to fully project our budget for the next few years.  However, we are now fully staffed in our business department and are quickly moving forward with transparent budget projections. 

At the state level, we have multiple financial considerations which must be considered when determining our fixed costs for upcoming years. For example, one of the considerable pressures on the district budget is escalating pension costs. Between July 1, 2014 and July 1, 2017, we have experienced the following increases in pension costs:

  •  6.18 percent for certificated teaching staff and administrators

  •  4.83 percent for classified staff

By 2020, pension costs are scheduled to further increase an additional:

  • 4.67 percent for certificated teaching staff and administrators

  • 3.81 percent for classified staff

These increases translate into millions of dollars of additional personnel costs annually.  Future financial considerations, such as textbook purchases (for new adoptions and growth), as well as technology and maintenance costs for aging facilities, must be considered and budgeted into future expenditures. 

Despite these internal and external challenges, we remain positive that ultimately, a mutually satisfactory agreement will be reached. Each negotiating session has the potential to move the parties closer to a tentative agreement. The District’s most recent offer was a 2 percent on-going salary increase upon ratification. Immediately following the September 12th bargaining session, the District team developed a draft proposal that will be presented at the next bargaining session, scheduled for September 29, which contains additional items for consideration.

We want to emphasize that we are committed to on-going and collaborative conversations with our union partners, whose work in our District and on behalf of our students we greatly value.  Any mention of a work stoppage is 

very premature, as a series of meetings and steps would need to be followed per California Labor Code that would unfold over several months, starting with a formal written request for impasse and participation in fact-finding. 

We are committed to updating you throughout this process to avoid 

surprises and we will share with you our plan to ensure that your children are 
fully supported in their classrooms. We understand how discord in our schools can impact your family and that you have concerns about how your children will be supported during this period of uncertainty. We encourage you to reach out directly to your school site principals if you have any concerns.  
They are committed to working with families to ensure all needs are met, 
whether it be when applying for college or participating in extra-curricular 
activities. 
Our schools continue to be wonderful places of learning for our children. We want our community's children in their classrooms -- with their excellent teachers there to support them. That's why we have made numerous proposals at the negotiating table. And, it's why we continue to ask union leadership to join us in constructive negotiations that can lead to a solution that works for everybody. 

We welcome your child to school each day and will do everything within our power to continue providing an environment where he or she can succeed.  We hope to be writing to you again soon with encouraging news. 

 

Dublin Unified School District Leadership

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