LATEST UPDATES from the san Leandro Teachers association
My warmest wishes to you all and hopes for a wonderful vacation. When we return from our holiday, we will find ourselves at the start of a very shortened election cycle. Two items will be at the top of a very busy election cycle: the Schools and Communities First Statewide ballot measure; and San Leandro’s school bond, which will appear on the March Ballot as Measure N.
Schools and Community First
Congratulations to Roosevelt School’s Natasha Weidner, who was our top ranked signature gatherer for November and December! Natasha has earned the first prize, which is a Paradiso Gift Certificate. Thank you for all the hard work. Shout outs to Roosevelt School, which had the top three signature gatherers, including Natasha, Patty Fishbaugh and Karen Koizumi. Another Paradiso gift card will be awarded for the person who gathers the most signatures in January and February.
Please Keep Collecting Signatures! We need to gather more than 600,000 signatures to qualify SCF for the state ballot. The holidays are a great time to gather signatures. When your friends and family come to visit, don’t let them eat dessert until they sign! If you need a few petitions, let me know and I will bring you some on Friday.
March 3 Election
SLTA’s Representative Council unanimously endorsed the San Leandro School Bond measure, Measure N, which will appear on the March 3 ballot. While Rep Council’s support was unanimous, we had a discussion about assuring that the District is communicating with teachers and parents about the needs of each school community. Rep Council also endorsed Angela Normand, who is running for County Board of Education in the District that includes much of Oakland and Alameda. Angela is a teacher in Brentwood, and is our CTA Board Member for much of Alameda and Contra Costa Counties.
SLTA coordinates all of its election work through STAND (San Leandro Teachers Advocating New Directions), our political action committee. The STAND Committee consists of James Riddle, Nancy James and myself. The committee will be forwarding a list of recommendations for SLTA’s campaign activities to the January Representative Council.
Finally, don’t forget to check out the SLTA website, Instagram and Facebook group.
Greetings SLTA Members,
We are closing in on the half-way mark through the year, and your SLTA leadership is making things happen.
STRS Workshop on Monday!
Thank you to the forty of you who have RSVPd for SLTA/CTA's STRS Workshop. We’re looking forward to seeing you Monday, 3:45 in the SLHS Library. The presentation is extremely useful whether you are near retirement, or relatively new to the profession and would like to understand how the retirement system works. I’ve ordered sandwiches, and will have other snacks. There’s still room for a few more, so if you’d like to attend, let me know.
And more useful workshops to come…
Special Education issues are often the most confusing, and our District Special Education Resources are stretched thin. To respond to the concerns, both from Special Education and General Education teachers, SLTA / CTA will hold a Special Education Issues Forum on February 25, again 3:45 at the SLHS Library. We will also present a Member Benefits Workshop on March 24, 3:45 at the Barbara Lee Center. You’ll be surprised how much money you can save thanks to your SLTA / CTA membership! Mark your calendars. I’ll send out an invite as we get closer to those two events.
Schools and Communities First
Thanks to so many of you for getting the Initiative Signatures on the petitions to support Schools and Communities First. If our SCF campaign is successful, that will mean about $7 Million for San Leandro Schools EACH YEAR. I’ve heard from folks who shared the petitions with family groups, friend circles, neighbors, congregations and co-ops, and the signatures are coming in! If you have collected signatures, please sign the bottom of every petition that you gather. Turn them in to your site rep before they come to next Tuesday’s Representative Council Meeting. If that’s not possible, send them to Thomas Morse, SLTA President via District Mail at Bancroft Middle School. DON’T FORGET THE FABULOUS PRIZES — A Paradiso gift certificate for the top signature gatherer in November / December, another one for the top signature gatherer in January, and cash prizes for the top three signature gatherers over all once we get to the March deadline.
SLTA’s rep council will meet on Tuesday, December 10, 3:45 at the SLHS Staff Cafeteria. The most important items on the agenda will be our plans for the 2020 elections, including the District’s Bond Measure (on the March Ballot), Schools and Communities First, and the role we’re going to play in School Board races and other local campaigns. All members are invited to join us at Rep Council.
Thomas Morse, SLTA President
Greetings SLTA Members,
We are at the beginning of a very busy election cycle. SLUSD’s School Board has approved a bond measure for the March 3 election, and the November 2020 general election will give us an opportunity to fundamentally alter the way public schools are funded in California.
Schools and Community First — Time to Collect Signatures.
Thanks to all of you for the overwhelming support for the Schools and Communities First campaign. Now it’s time for Phase II — signature gathering. If we are successful, California schools will receive $11 or 12 Billion per year, which is equivalent to about $7 million each year in additional funding for San Leandro.
To qualify the SCF Initiative for the State Ballot in November 2020, we need to gather more than 600,000 signatures statewide. CTA has committed to gathering 150,000 signatures statewide.
SLTA is joining this effort, and we need all of us to play a part of this campaign. Your site reps have a packet of initiative signature forms. It’s simple, bring one or two signature forms to your family gatherings (the Holidays are coming up), or your kids’ soccer games and sleepovers. When you have gathered as many signatures as you can, turn them back in to your site rep.
You have to be a registered voter in California to gather signatures. The people who sign must also be registered voters. Each form has to be separated by County (keep a different form for Alameda County voters, but start a new one for San Francisco or Contra Costa or Tulare County voters.)
Fabulous prizes!!! Site reps will turn in the signature charts at the December Rep Council meeting, then again in January and February. The member who collects the most signatures at the December turn-in will receive a gift certificate to Paradiso. There will be another Paradiso gift certificate for the member who turns in the most signatures by the February Rep Council Meeting. And there will be cash gifts for the top three signature gatherers for the whole campaign!
San Leandro School Bond
The SLUSD has approved a school bond initiative for the March 3 election. SLTA’s Executive Board has recommended that Representative Council endorse this measure and lend our support to getting it passed. Representative Council will vote on this issue at the December meeting. The School Bond measure will raise $198 Million over the next 20 years for more classrooms and improved facilities. The success of this campaign depends on teachers and community members getting the word out in the neighborhoods of San Leandro. You’ll be hearing about opportunities to join this campaign as we get into the new year.
If you have any questions about these campaigns, don’t hesitate to contact me!
Tom Morse, SLTA President
Dear SLTA Members,
Thank you for participating in Phase I of our Schools and Communities First Campaign. If CTA is successful getting this ballot initiative passed, we will create $11 Billion of new funding for investment into our public schools and community resources. The new revenue would come by assessing corporate real estate at fair market value. That will mean about $7 million for San Leandro Schools every year.
Most of you have already signed the posters to support SCF, and I would like to thank you all (especially site reps) for your patience with the faulty video link. If you have not signed one of the posters, please go see your site rep. For those who have yet to view the Information video, here is the link.
Important Member Benefit Notifications:
California Casualty is reminding anyone who has an auto, homeowners or renters policy and has been forced to evacuate your home, suffered smoke damage, or suffered other fire related damage to call toll-free at 1-800-800-9410 so they can assist you as quickly as possible. When you call, press 4 when prompted or remain on the line for an operator and you will be transferred to a claims specialist who can assist you.
The Standard -- Limited Time Offer for CTA Members to Switch Disability Coverage with No Health Questions. From October 1 through November 30, CTA members who are covered by a different insurance company have a special opportunity to apply for CTA-endorsed Disability and Life Insurance from Standard Insurance Company (The Standard) without answering health questions. Before applying, members should compare their current plan with the CTA-endorsed plans to hunderstand how any difference may impact your personal situation. The help CTA members compare Disability plans or to learn more about the process of switching coverage to The Standard, visit standard.com/cta/portover.
-Tom Morse, SLTA President
The “Red for Ed” for movement, which has scored so many gains for public schools around the nation, is loud and proud in the streets of Chicago. Chicago teachers have been on strike for a week, fighting for fully staffed schools and smaller class sizes. The Chicago Teachers Union is calling for solidarity from teachers throughout the nation, and asking us all to wear Red for Ed tomorrow, Thursday, October 24.
Please wear red, and then take “Solidarity Selfies” that you can post on social media platforms and share with SLTA (for our website, which is in development). You may also support teachers by supporting their Strike Fund and Bread for Ed campaign to feed students during the strike. https://www.gofundme.com/f/bread-for-ed. (Please send me your best pics!)
Learn more about CTU’s fight for the schools our students deserve at https://www.ctulocal1.org/movement/contract-campaigns/strike-faq/.
SLTA President’s Update, October 11, 2019
I hope you survived this crazy week with as little disruption as possible. SLTA’s Representative Council will be meeting on Tuesday, 3:45 PM, at the SLHS Staff Cafeteria. All members are invited. This month, we are going to roll out Phase I of our campaign for Schools and Communities First, the statewide ballot measure which seeks to reassess corporate property tax rates and raise up to $11 Billion per year for California schools.
Attend the SLUSD/SLTA Retirement Workshop
On October 30, the District is hosting its CalSTRS Retirement Informational Session, with information about what happens with your STRS accounts, how to plan for the transition to Medicare, and balance your STRS accounts with supplementary investments. Last year’s event, initiated in partnership with SLTA, was very well received, and is appropriate for all members, not just those nearing retirement. The event will be held at 3:30 at the Barbara Lee Center.
SLTA planning a STRS workshop and a Member Benefits Workshop
Many of you have attended SLTA/CTA coordinated trainings in the past, including CTA’s STRS workshop and the Student Loan Forgiveness workshop. We have scheduled the highly popular STRS training for December 9 at the SLHS Library. We also have scheduled a member benefits workshop for March 24. We are NOT scheduling a student loan forgiveness training (as we have each of the last 4 years) because Betsy Devos’ Department of Education has not been processing those applications.
Grant Opportunities available through CTA
As a CTA Member, you can apply for grants to support your teaching through CTA’s Institute for Teaching. The IFT provides grants ranging from $5,000 to $20,000 for projects that fall into its philosophy about school change which is teacher-driven and is based on what is working and successful in our schools and classrooms. To check out this opportunity, please visit https://www.cta.org/About-CTA/CTA-Foundation/IFT.aspx
Greetings SLTA Members,
It has been a real pleasure getting around the schools and talking to you all. Last week, my visits to SLHS and FTK concluded the cycle, I have now visited every school at least once. It is clear that San Leandro has amazing teachers who are passionately dedicated to helping our students succeed. Your ideas are forming the first draft of items which will go in the bargaining survey for 2020 - 2021. I’ve also had powerful discussions about getting teachers' voices heard at the school site, and some of your concerns frame SLTA's monthly discussions with District Administration. SLTA believes that more teacher voice at the policy table means better outcomes for our students. During these visits, I’ve also been passing out CTA calendars, Member Benefits Highlights brochures and Disability Insurance applications from The Standard. If you still want one of these items, please send me a note.
It’s not too soon to think about how the 2020 elections will impact our schools. Campaigns for the school board, city council, state legislature, Congress and the White House will have a huge impact on our schools. Just as significant will be local and state funding issues. SLTA will be joining a Statewide Coalition called Schools and Communities First. This campaign will seek to add as much as $7 Billion a year to our schools by closing loopholes in Proposition 13 which for decades have allowed corporate landowners to dramatically slash their share of the tax base at the expense of our schools and students.
SLTA will also be paying attention to local funding measures. At the October 8th SLUSD Board of Trustees Meeting, the school board will be considering a proposal to put a Bond Measure on the ballot in 2020. While San Leandro voters recently passed a parcel tax which provides money for ongoing expenditures, bonds are most frequently used for facilities and expansion. San Leandro has had the most consistent student population growth in central Alameda County for the last several years, and any future progress in class size reductions and programmatic expansion will be difficult without expanding facilities.
The SLTA New Teachers Orientation will be held on Tuesday, October 1, at 3:45 at the Englander. The program will provide valuable information about our rights and responsibilities as educators, the evaluation process, member benefits, CTA/SLTA political efforts and ways that your Union is fighting for you. All new teachers to San Leandro are highly encouraged to attend. Any SLTA member is welcome.
Thank you for showing up to Wednesday’s ratification vote. With 314 voters, we had strong voter turnout despite the difficult traffic on Bancroft Avenue. The agreement now goes to the school board for final approval. Our tentative agreement was a win for teachers and students, with continued progress in salaries for strong retention and recruitment, and major gains for class sizes and caseloads.
I’d like to take this moment to recognize what went into building such a strong agreement...
• First, the success of our colleagues in Oakland, Los Angeles and New Haven and the national “Red for Ed” movement has changed the discussion around public education. It’s been a long time since the political climate has been so supportive of our public schools.
• Second, the strength of our local organization -- Jon and Anita left us in a very strong position to continue the work, along with the focus and courage of the bargaining team.
• Most importantly, SLTA’s extraordinary membership rates. We’ve ended each of the last two years with 99% membership rates, and the District knows it. It’s clear that when the leadership speaks, we have all of you behind us.
This week, I’ll be meeting with teachers at John Muir at lunch on Tuesday, and McKinley at lunch on Wednesday. I’ll have member benefit brochures and CTA calendars. While these site visits don’t have a set agenda, teachers have been bringing important issues to me, and sharing their vision of what our Union should be working on. I’ll also meet another batch of new teachers, especially folks who’ve been hired since the beginning of the year.
A few things to remember:
• By Thursday, your class sizes should be established at or below the contractual mandates.
• The scheduled work day is 6 hours and 40 minutes for all members. All members have a scheduled duty-free lunch, and a prep period.
• The contract is online. You can access it through the Personnel Services window of the District Website, or click on this link:
Dear SLTA Members,
As you know, SLTA has had quite a week. First and foremost, I want to thank and honor our bargaining team. Bargaining Chair Jacob Clark, Valarie Sowers, Glenn Brodeur and our CTA staff member Nicole Love showed incredible discipline and passion, staying at the table until 8PM Monday evening to get a historic settlement for our teachers and our school community.
I hope you’ve had the chance to read the Tentative Agreement. The compensation package, with a 3.25% salary increase, keeps pace with the state COLA and with neighboring districts. This matches up with our longterm goals of putting San Leandro in the position to retain and recruit an outstanding core of educational professionals. We negotiated real improvements in class sizes in elementary, middle schools and high schools, as well as caseload language for SLPs and psychologists, which we’ve never had. Increased nurse staffing also recognizes the critical role that student health plays in student success.
Our Representative Council voted on Tuesday to recommend passage of this tentative agreement. Rep Council also started the job of setting goals for the year. Vice President Nancy James presented two major programmatic goals for the year, focusing on increased communications and member participation, and developing an organizing committee which will advocate for great public schools for our community.
Most of you have received your membership cards by now. If not, please visit your site rep. Newly hired teachers may have to wait about a month until we get those member cards from CTA.
Also, I am beginning a round of site visits. This first round is intended to be an informal listening campaign. I’d love to hear your thoughts about what our Union should be working on, or what you might need to do your best job in the classroom. I will have the 2019-2020 CTA Member Benefit guides and the CTA Calendars with me, so make sure to stop by and say hello. I’ll be at Madison on Monday at lunch, Roosevelt lunch on Tuesday, Washington lunch on Thursday, and Jefferson lunch on Friday. Muir and McKinley are scheduled for the following week. Other schools will be scheduled in September.
Looking forward to seeing you all at the Ratification Meeting on Wednesday!
Greetings and Welcome Back!
I hope you had a wonderful summer and that our returning students are smiling while sitting in your classrooms and offices.
Our Union is off to a busy start. First, we welcomed 56 new teachers, counselors and specialists to San Leandro. As you see our newest folks around your campuses, please be sure to make them feel at home in your school communities.
SLTA’s Bargaining Team is back to work already. We met on Wednesday to prepare for a bargaining session next week on Monday. We had two bargaining sessions in the Spring, and one during summer vacation. The biggest issues on the table are compensation, class size and caseloads for nurses, speech and language professionals and psychologists. Also, your SLTA executive board spent a day last week mapping out our goals for the year.
Rep Council meets next week, especially to talk about negotiations and organizing around our contract demands. While each school site has elected representatives, all members are invited. The first meeting will be at 3:45 PM on Tuesday in the SLHS Staff Cafeteria.
• If you were asked to move classrooms at the last minute, remember to record all of the hours outside the normal school day that you worked on moving, and turn in a time sheet. You will be paid hourly for up to 18 hours.
• If you are experiencing class-size issues, the district has 15 school days to rectify the situation. September 4 is the last day the district can be over class size limits, and September 5 is the first day they must be in compliance. Your site reps will be monitoring progress in your school.
• First and second year teachers, there will be a New Teacher Workshop on October 1 at 3:45. Location TBD. The focus is on teacher rights, the evaluation process and member benefits. Please put this in your calendar right away.
As always, please let me know if you have any questions, concerns or ideas.
Tom Morse, SLTA President