A Message from Keri Avila
Like you, I’m very disappointed the district feels they’ve “met their goal” on Salary for the 2022-2023 school year when we closed the 2021-2022 contract in December. Prefacing the bad news by stating that they’re “committed to being competitive with employee compensation in San Diego County” is clever double speak. If they were truly committed to keeping us competitively compensated, they’d enter Salary negotiations with VTA every time we bargained!
I’ve seen how hard you’ve been working to continually put Vista students first and I know the district and board have seen your efforts as well. This is why offering 0% to dedicated employees, and unilaterally removing Salary as a negotiable item, in a time of 8.5% inflation, feels like a gut punch.
This is NOT demonstrating the respect the district says they hold as a core value.
This does NOT show respect to certificated staff who consistently work to make VUSD a welcoming learning environment everyday.
This does NOT show respect to certificated staff who are finishing up what are arguably the most difficult 2 ½ years in education.
This does NOT show respect to certificated staff who continue to work tirelessly to help kids recover from the trauma, lack of socialization, and academic gaps from the pandemic.
This decision is unconscionable.
It’s extremely upsetting the district feels 0% is a reasonable offer given the fact that the projected COLA is to be around 7%. Clearly the district’s goals are out of alignment with VTA’s. 0% feels like a slap in the face. Given that our school board and management seem to make providing union opportunities for our graduating students a priority, they make a point of hiring labor union friendly construction companies through the Project Labor Agreement (PLA), when spending bond monies. Yet they refuse to show respect for their own labor force! Indeed, by presenting such a ridiculous offer, the opposite occurs, namely, showing a total lack of respect for VTA Membership. Members, remember YOU are VTA. We need you now to show them who the VTA represents: every last one of you!
The No Strike Provision
I’ve had many members reach out, asking if we can strike. We can’t strike at this time under Article 4: The No Strike Provision. I understand why people want to strike. The offer by management demonstrates they’re either oblivious to our nation’s current economic crisis with inflation, or that they simply don’t care about the average VTA Member. Management is definitely not considering how inflation impacts Vista educators’ ability to put students first.
Why is that?
Maybe because management makes the big bucks, and inflation isn’t affecting their way of life? Must be nice. We’re currently working under the 2021-2022 Contract, so what we can do at this juncture is organize as a united front. We need to show the district our collective might and worth.
Can I do more than Wear My Shirt and Write Letters?
Know your rights:
Article 18.9: Regular Teacher Substitute Compensation.
This year our district used many of our VTA family members who are not “Regular Teacher(s)” to fill in as guest teachers when there were not enough substitute teachers to fill vacancies.
This included: ANYONE WITHOUT A ROSTERED CLASS who is a VTA member.
This contract article is something that not all districts have and we should all stand together to protect it. Without this article, teachers can be forced to give up prep or to take in extra students.
We can all agree that this article should contain protections for our counselors, and our VTA family members who do not have a rostered class. We want to put our students first. But with policies that do not allow members, such as counselors to focus on, not only the social and emotional well being of our students but their graduation path as well. They can not put our students first when they are forced to sub.
This article protects PREP and Student:Teacher Ratio, and should be expanded to include all members. We have seen how our counselors have been used as place fillers to supervise students, instead of doing what they should be doing, providing social and emotional support for our students and families.
Ultimately it is your choice to sub on your prep, or take on extra students, this should be the right of all of our members. Our union does not judge you if you exercise your CHOICE to sub. The contract PROTECTS your right to use your professional judgment to do what is best for our students.
VTA Encourages you to exercise your right, especially given the fact that VUSD Leadership treats our highly educated workforce as expendable. We can see the heart of an organization in their budget and their policies. What does the decision to offer 0% show about our district, what does using our VTA members as place fillers say about how our district uses its highly educated workforce. In this time of economic uncertainty, VTA will not tell you to sub or not to sub, we want what is best for you and your family, especially since VUSD offered 0%. We want you to know that we value this protection.
Ways to Make Your Voice Be Heard
You can still contact your board members since they are the decision makers of this district.
Before I was in this role I invited past board members to come and visit my classroom to see what I really do. Every single Board Member, including Jim Gibson, came to visit my classroom. Will these board members do that? Invite them?
YOU ARE EMPOWERED TO:
REMIND the President of OUR SCHOOL BOARD that with this deal he does not support increasing wages for a labor force while running for Mayor in a city that does not provide moderate housing.
EDUCATE our district management and two of our former teacher Board members that have clearly forgotten what it is like to be in the classroom.
EDUCATE our Parent Board Member what the role of an educator is. She must not understand what it is like to be in the classroom.
REMINDour CTA Endorsed Board Member that she is an educator as well, and we WANT her to use her voice for EDUCATORS.
How can you Talk to VTA allies about the district’s non starter offer with inflation roaring in the background
Come to one of our events. These events are just not a social event but a way for you to connect with other members so we can strengthen our unity.
We can not lead with anger. We as educators have seen how our district can use this to divide us. Let’s not lead with the anger that we all feel with such a hurtful offer. Let’s use reason. I know many of you have personal connections with our board members and management, as some of them were once classroom teachers in VUSD, and hoped they’d demonstrate through their policies and budget choices they have a heart for their workforce and WE, the members, are the one who actually put students first, not just with pomp and circumstance at board meetings and coalition meetings. YOU members are VTA, remember your worth and how leadership shows their value of educators.
In Solidarity and with Respect,
Update and Message
It has been wonderful visiting sites and meeting members. If I have not yet been to your site, please contact your site representative to set up a site visit.
Your VTA Bargaining team met with the district April 12th to begin bargaining the 2022/2023 contract. The district made proposals for articles 12: Salaries, 18: Teachers’ Duty Hours, 20: Class Size, and 30: Special Education. VTA shared their proposals for articles 12, 13: Unit Member Benefits, 18, and 20. We will make our proposal on article 30 at the next bargaining meeting with the district. We will respond to the district’s proposals following collaboration and direction from our VTA Executive Board. We will meet with our executive board on Monday April 18, 2022.
The district offered a 0% salary increase and rejected the 6% increase your bargaining team proposed. 6% is a reasonable starting point given the current projections for COLA. It is unfortunate that the district is feel’s that they have met their goal regarding salary at this time and has not addressed inflation or cost of living increases that directly affect their staff.
Please keep a look out for future bargaining updates. What can you do now? Let the board members know how you feel about a 0% salary increase and what that does to your ability to help you provide a quality education for your students.
Here are some talking points:
Continue to wear your VTA shirts on Thursdays (or your site's VTA Shirt Day). and on all bargaining days.
We return to Bargaining on April 27th. Wear your shirts on that day and post a pic on social media of you and your VTA Family wearing your shirts.
#strongertogether, #wearevta, #vistaTA, #local1088, #westandbehindVTAbargaining
Be ready to come out to the May 5th Board Meeting. More information will be coming. Make sure you keep an eye out for future emails these next few weeks.
The One-Time and Retro Pay
What we know is that the one-time is anticipated to be in the April pay warrant and the Retro pay will hopefully be on our May or June warrants. Human Relations will have more accurate information. We encourage you to email HR to ask when we will receive these payments.
RSVP for April 30th
Link to RSVP
The election timeline has been extended and we have a position open on EBoard for Middle School Rep. If you are interested in running and stepping up into VTA Leadership please fill out a declaration HERE and get it to the VTA office by 4:00 pm on April 22. Elections for High School rep, Middle School rep and Secretary will take place April 25-May 4 at your school sites.
Question of the Month
There is still time to answer the question of the month for April. If you had a superpower what would it be? Just respond to this email with your answer. Please include what site you are at. The site that has the most responses will win a pizza party. Congratulations to our March winner Empresa!
April President's Message
Dear VTA Members,
I hope you had a wonderful and relaxing Spring Break. Remember to wear your VTA shirts tomorrow, Tuesday April 12, when VTA and VUSD return to the bargaining table for negotiations. We are bargaining Articles 12 (Salary), 13 (Benefits), 18 (Duty Hours), 20 (Class Size), and 30 (Special Education).
What is the Cost of Living Increase (COLA)
The Cost of Living Adjustment, or COLA is money that is allotted to school districts from the State based taxes collected. The COLA is applied to the general fund only, and many specific categories are not funded by the COLA. Transportation is an example of that, even though costs go up year after year. It is not automatically given to the workforce, nor is intended to be used only for raises for employees.
The anticipated COLA this year is 5.33%, and that was projected in January by the Governor. We will know exact numbers when we get the May Revise, but that still has to be approved by the legislator. We are expecting an even higher COLA than projected in January but that is only speculation at this time. . We will know for sure when the Governor's Budget is finalized in June. How much of the COLA that transfers to salary and benefits need to be negotiated.
When it comes to comparative salaries of surrounding districts, we are in the top when compared to Carlsbad, Oceanside, San Marcos, Poway, Escondido Union, and Encinitas for the first 10 years, but we are not as competitive in the later years. Your bargaining team and district are committed to keep Vista competitive. We are not facing a Reduction in Workforce (RIF’s), as other districts around us did this year and we are in a good place to come together around our common interests.
The highest raise I have heard of so far is a 12% averaged over 3 years in Northern California. A 15% raise is unrealistic, and would bankrupt our district. Years ago, VUSD had reserves of over 20%, but that is not the case today. Two years ago, our reserves were under the 3% school budget requirements, and we were on the verge of being taken over by the State. Today our reserve is about 7%. Districts around us have reserves over 20%.
Save the Day April 30th
VTA has several opportunities on April 30 to come out and meet other members. We will be having three events that day.
Come out and do some community service with the Vista Rotary Club. We will be picking weeds at the Veterans Wall in downtown Vista, by the baseball field at Vista Magnet Middle School. This is a great way to give back to our community and meet our fellow colleagues. This event is from 9 am to 12 pm. Please contact VTA’s office manager Lisa Ingles, if you have any questions firstname.lastname@example.org
Family Lunch at Joe’s Crab Shack at the Harbor from 1:30 pm to 2:30 pm. This is a family friendly event. We will be providing appetizers and non alcoholic drinks.
Karaoke Night at Smitty’s Downtown from 7:30 - 10:30. VTA will buy a drink for the first 10 people.
Please RSVP using the link below. We look forward to meeting our fellow members.
Question of the Month
If you would like to be entered into this month’s raffle, please respond to the following question
If you could have a superpower what would it be?