Less than 24 hours before a strike by thousands of educators was scheduled to start, Fresno Unified School District and its teachers union agreed on a tentative contract, the two announced during a joint press conference Tuesday morning.
The “historic” agreement, which was still being revised as late as this morning, brings more than a year of negotiating to an end and prevents a strike that is divisive would’ve definitely harmed the Fresno neighborhood and also the district’s over 74,000 pupils.
“Our students have been the innocent bystanders waiting through the difficulties of negotiations,” Superintendent Bob Nelson mentioned. “This deal is really about you (students): it’s our joint commitment to avoid a strike because there’s really nothing more important than making sure our students have the opportunity to be in school every day, all the time.”
District and union frontrunners in addition to panel people touted the agreement for purchasing educators, promoting pupils and preserving the district’s solvency that is fiscal.
To Fresno Teachers Association president Manuel Bonilla, the contract meets and exceeds the four requests that emerged as sticking points throughout negotiations: reducing class size, reducing special Education caseloads, keeping educators competitive in pay and maintaining certain Healthcare benefits.
Bonilla and Louise Jamerson, executive director of the teachers union, highlighted key provisions from the offer, including:
- Class size reductions for all grades with investments for new classrooms to continue to reduce class size
- A comprehensive guideline for special education caseloads
- Competitive salaries
- Lifetime Medical benefits
“Soon a child will walk into their Classroom and have the closest connection ever with their Teacher, rather than competing for attention and assistance,” Bonilla said about one of many “wins” for students.
What does the contract offer?
The teachers union came to the bargaining table with a request to cap class size while the district proposed class that is maintaining averages but decreasing the amount of pupils over that average for an instructor stipend.
Starting then class 12 months, the section will certainly reduce course size averages to percentages of 1 teacher for:
- Eight pupils for prekindergarten
- 12 students for transitional kindergarten
- 23 students for grades K-3
- 28 students for grades*)27 that is 4-6 for grades 7-8
- 28 students for high school grades
The contract language provides guidelines for class size, which say the district will reduce individual class size even more each school year and will reassign 75 non-classroom educators back to the classroom to lower class size.
The agreed-upon offer includes what Fresno Unified previously called a bridge to Medicare to meet the goal that is same lifetime retiree advantages:
- At age 57.5, if a worker did in Fresno Unified for 2 decades, they’ll be provided equivalent medical care strategy, as well as equivalent price, as recent workers.
- At 65, whenever workers come to be qualified to receive Medicare, they have usage of an area Health strategy that addresses surgical procedures that Medicare does not purchase.
The contract assurances seven . 5 numerous years of the insurance, even when the Medicare qualifications age modifications. The agreement also contains terms regarding the district’s share to workers’ medical care investment, which, to some extent, decides medical care advantages. The section will add much less with the wellness investment, however the agreement would dictate how Fresno now Unified will utilize an adjusted contribution cost that increases automatically and the range by which the district’s contribution can rise in the next two school years.
More than 20% in raises and bonuses
As for employee pay, over the next three years, Fresno Unified educators will receive 21% in raises and one-time payments – up from the previous 11% and 19% offers – which include:
- 8.5% raises this school year
- 3% raises in the 24-25 school year with a 2.5% one-time bonus
- 4.5% raises in the 25-26 school year when cost-of-living adjustment estimates are at 3.29% with a 2.5% one-time bonus
A win for teachers and students
The contract allows educators and students to thrive, Bonilla said.
“As educators and as a community, we’ve made it clear (that) students thrive when educators thrive,” he said. “And educators thrive when leaders value their hard work — when they value that tireless dedication to adequate support.”
While negotiations have ended, many said that the work of building a better Fresno starts now. The district and the union agreed to a District and Association Labor Management Partnership for a* that is( Four section frontrunners, like the superintendent, and four FTA frontrunners are part of the cooperation.
Don Raczka, composer of a report that is fact-finding better if Fresno Unified as well as its educators union work collaboratively to track down solutions to enable them to deal with the “transformational Student and teacher support systems the (Fresno Teachers) Association believes essential.”
The cooperation, mentioned class panel user Andy Levine, will let the section and union to carry on to be hired on problems over the years, maybe not hold off 36 months for the following agreement negotiations to appear about.
“It’s not over; we start from a different place today,” Trustee Valerie Davis mentioned. “Today, our students win.”