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Tuesday, 18 November 2014 14:30

Turlock Teachers File Charges Against TUSD With State, Rally to be Held at Tuesday’s Board Meeting

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In May, teachers from Crowell Elementary School held a protest at a Board of Trustees meeting regarding the working environment at the school. Now teachers district wide are upset with TUSD administration. In May, teachers from Crowell Elementary School held a protest at a Board of Trustees meeting regarding the working environment at the school. Now teachers district wide are upset with TUSD administration. Jonathan McCorkell/TurlockCityNews.com
Tensions between the Turlock Teachers Association and Turlock Unified School District Administration, namely Superintendent Sonny Da Marto, have just gone to a new level.

On Tuesday, the TTA, which represents more than 700 teachers in TUSD, will hold a “call to action” rally at the Board of Trustee meeting at 6 p.m. in response to labor negotiations that appear to be breaking down quickly, possibly threatening a teacher strike.

TTA issued a press release stating in the past year they have filed five separate complaints with the State of California Public Employee Relations Board (PERB), but current contract negotiations between TTA and TUSD seems to have pushed matters to the boiling point.
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“TTA members are not only fed up with the attitude and actions of the District, but have now become genuinely angry with the disrespect shown to us with the lack of negotiations and the proposed contract language under ‘Hours of Work,’” said TTA President and Turlock High School German and English Teacher Julie Shipman.

TUSD is mandating teachers remain on campus after school until school site principals determine when they can leave — with no exact determination what those hours might be.

In the current contract negotiations TUSD mandates, “Employees shall remain on duty at the school building until they have completed all professional responsibilities as determined by the site principal."

That is followed by a list of nearly all teachers professional duties they already complete outside of normal classroom hours, including curriculum planning, Student Study Team or Individualized Education Plan meetings, remediation and enrichment for an individual student as appropriate.

It is fair to say that teachers have one of the more unique professions in that the vast majority of teachers often work “off the clock” performing professional duties such as grading papers and tests, and preparing lesson plans on their own time.

Shipman made the point that teachers have lives.
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“They are grading papers while doing laundry and making dinner. They have kids to pick up from school or daycare, soccer practice, dentist and doctor appointments,” she said. “For them to leave it open-ended just shows their level of respect for us as people and professionals.”

Shipman says TTA representatives visited each school site throughout TUSD and reported that discontent amongst teachers is growing.

“Teachers are tired of feeling not respected and not valued as professionals,” said Shipman.

Despite TUSD Administration claims that negotiations are progressing in a positive manner, Shipman says negotiations are actually going backwards and she described the antics by TUSD Administration as “pigheaded.”


TUSD Admin Already Under the Gun with PERB

The TTA and TUSD administration have a clear history of problems. In the past two years, five claims have been filed with PERB, which has already issued a finding against the district in response to the teachers’ December 2013 filing. In this filing, the charge is that the district disrupted the education process and violated its contractual obligations by involuntarily transferring seven teachers just two days before the start of a new school year.

“Teachers were given inadequate time to prepare new lessons for students in different grades and subjects than they had been teaching. They were expected to pack up their old classrooms, set up their new ones, and be prepared to teach a brand new grade level in two days. Both students and teachers suffered,” PERB determined.
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Four other charges are currently pending findings from PERB:
  • The district has prevented teachers from receiving salary credit for completing postgraduate coursework and professional development courses aimed at enhancing their teaching skills.
  • The district has refused to negotiate with teachers over the implementation of the new, ambitious national Common Core State Standards designed to ensure California students are prepared for the educational and vocational challenges of the 21st century.
  • The district has, in violation of law, refused to provide information to teachers supporting the wholesale transfer of one-third of Crowell Elementary School’s general education teachers. The actions disrupted the educational environment and hurt students, teachers emphasize.
  • The district, also in violation of law and its contract with its teachers, unilaterally eliminated teacher preparation time used by educators to grade final exams and compute and record students’ final grades.


TUSD Could be a “Renegade District,” Teachers can Strike

“The TUSD’s unconscionable violation of state law is harming our students, undermining the educational mission, and hurting teachers,” said Shipman. “The District has become increasingly more and more difficult to work with over the last 5-6 years.”

The number and severity of the charges could lead PERB to declare TUSD to be a “renegade” district, a declaration that would allow teachers to strike in response to the district’s illegal behavior.

Under standard bargaining process, if the district refuses to reach a fair agreement with its teachers, an “impasse” can be declared. An impasse procedure brings in a state mediator, who shuttles between the two sides, hoping to forge an agreement. If impasse does not result in a new agreement, both sides head to “fact finding” in which a three-person panel hears testimony and issues a non-binding ruling. Following fact finding, a district gains the power to implement its “last, best offer” and teachers gain the right to strike in response, a so-called “economic strike.”

The TUSD Board of Trustees will meet 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 18 at the Professional Development Center, 1100 Cahill Ave.
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Comments (20)

  1. Journalism?

"It is fair to say that teachers have one of the more unique professions in that the vast majority of teachers often work “off the clock” performing professional duties such as grading papers and tests, and preparing lesson plans on their own...

"It is fair to say that teachers have one of the more unique professions in that the vast majority of teachers often work “off the clock” performing professional duties such as grading papers and tests, and preparing lesson plans on their own time."

What kind of stupid commentary is this. Many professions require off the clock duties to be performed. Perhaps the authors needs a bit more life experience.

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  1. Agreed

Teachers work 180 days per year. The are compensated for a full year. The expectation is they do a little extra time. Last time I checked, 8:00-3:00 is a 7 hour day. Are you really complaining? Teachers have it pretty darn good. If they...

Teachers work 180 days per year. The are compensated for a full year. The expectation is they do a little extra time. Last time I checked, 8:00-3:00 is a 7 hour day. Are you really complaining? Teachers have it pretty darn good. If they want to be treated like professionals perhaps they need to work like professionals.

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  1. Gertie

Sounds like a mess. It must be nice to get to take your sweet a$$ time airing your grievances on the working public's dime. On the other hand I don't blame the plaintiffs. TUSD admin seems like a bunch of unprofessional scumbags which is not...

Sounds like a mess. It must be nice to get to take your sweet a$$ time airing your grievances on the working public's dime. On the other hand I don't blame the plaintiffs. TUSD admin seems like a bunch of unprofessional scumbags which is not unusual for school district administration. Well, happy turkey day everyone!

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  1. TUSD Teacher

I am a current TUSD and can't stand our current union President blue district has made a generous offer, our pay is better than most districts in our area and complaining about the district not treating us like professionals is wrong. Shipman...

I am a current TUSD and can't stand our current union President blue district has made a generous offer, our pay is better than most districts in our area and complaining about the district not treating us like professionals is wrong. Shipman doesn't act like a professional by calling the district pigheaded and being confrontational. She also encourages teachers not to stay for IEPs which is unprofessional. On top of that if she would just accept the districts offer we could all receive our retro pay by Christmas but all she cares about is making a scene and causing problems.

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  1. Unknown

Go teachers, fight for what is right! My job does not allow me to work off the clock. I believe their administration is violating labor laws.

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  1. Guest

Yes, the school day last from 8-3pm. I am a teacher, and I show up between 7-7:15am to begin setting everything up and do not leave until 4pm at the earliest. That is roughly 9 hours on site (at the minimum). Teachers are contracted to be on...

Yes, the school day last from 8-3pm. I am a teacher, and I show up between 7-7:15am to begin setting everything up and do not leave until 4pm at the earliest. That is roughly 9 hours on site (at the minimum). Teachers are contracted to be on campus roughly a half hour before school starts and remain until a half hour after school ends, adding an extra hour to the school day. Do all teachers do this? Of course not. We also do NOT get 1-hour lunch breaks as most professions do.

My 40 minute lunch break may actually be a true lunch break MAYBE once a week. This short block of time is spent eating while emailing (since we are teaching and cannot email during class time), meeting with students for various clubs and organizations and prepping for afternoon classes.

As a teacher, I am also required to work 7 other events throughout the year (which may be as long as 4 hours each), without pay. I also coach multiple activities that make me a year-long coach. During one of these seasons, I am on campus from 7am - 9pm almost daily. This does not include game days, which take up all Saturdays from January until April, effectively working me 6 days a week. Yes there is compensation, but it around out to about $0.25 an hour when you consider all the hours.

And then there's lesson planning and grading done on my own time.

Then there's teaching - an experience that is in the hands of roughly 250 young adults going through mood swings, puberty and general teenage turmoil.

Being paid year-round means they spread a 9-month salary over 12 months. During the summer, I get a LOT of work done for the upcoming year, for parent programs, for professional development and for preparing for all my coaching activities. Summer vacation does not equal summer vacation for teachers.

I'm not looking for sympathy, I'm just supplying you all with this teacher's story. We are not all out looking to be a victim as some may think. But of course, people will see what they want to see.

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  1. Guest

Damarto vs Shipman. Lmao. You teachers don't get anything because of two reasons. 1. DaMarto. 2. Shipman. Teachers, you really need to new leadership. Bottom line, those are the two problems in TUSD

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  1. Brutal

Here's some more scary news. The current principals/administration trained under DaMarto will soon be filling vacancies in the District Office. Great--We're screwed for many years to come.

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  1. Agreed

All educational employees (especially administrators) should have to work in the city they reside in. I'm sick of these outsiders pushing someone else's agenda and then escaping each day to another city in which they live. But Character Counts....

All educational employees (especially administrators) should have to work in the city they reside in. I'm sick of these outsiders pushing someone else's agenda and then escaping each day to another city in which they live. But Character Counts. Hilarious. Turlock Unified is better when it's unified by Turlock residents. Don't let the outsiders continue to get away with leading from behind.

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  1. lacalabaza

The fact there have been five filings with the labor board gives significant credence to the teachers' issues. Several years ago, Stockton had an awful Superintendent. I'm wondering if this is a Central Valley thing or just a bunch of poor...

The fact there have been five filings with the labor board gives significant credence to the teachers' issues. Several years ago, Stockton had an awful Superintendent. I'm wondering if this is a Central Valley thing or just a bunch of poor quality administrators.

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