Negotiations Overview and Updates

  • UPDATE: May 16, 2017 
     
    Budget Update: Governor releases revised spending plan
     
    Last week, Gov. Jerry Brown released a revised budget plan that is being cautiously welcomed by school districts as an improvement over previous proposals for education spending.

    In his revised budget proposal, public schools would receive about $1.1 billion more next year than the governor had forecast in his previous draft in January. A report from School Services of California cautions that any gains will be tempered by rising pension costs.

    “All in all, the May Revision (budget) is better for public education than the January budget,” according to the report. “But only enough to offer slightly better prospects for maintaining programs. There is little room for growth in program costs or new programs.”

    Folsom Cordova is still analyzing the impacts of the governor’s latest revisions on its own budget projections. Based on the governor’s previous budget draft in January, the District has anticipated a $3.8 million budget deficit in the next fiscal year, 2017-18.

    The impact of the governor’s budget revisions on Folsom Cordova’s projected revenues will be discussed when the District and the Folsom Cordova Education Association (FCEA), the employee group that represents teachers and other certificated staff, return to the negotiation table on Thursday, May 18.

    The District and FCEA are bargaining for a new contract. Catch up on the progress of bargaining at www.fcusd.org/negotiations.

    The FCUSD Board of Education also will discuss the impact of the governor’s revised budget at its regular Board meeting Thursday, May 18. The agenda item includes the report from School Services of California, which provides a detailed analysis of the governor’s proposals.

    UPDATE: May 9, 2017 

     
    District’s May 4 offer; talks to continue
     
    Bargaining teams from the District and the Folsom Cordova Education Association (FCEA), which represents the District’s teachers and other certificated employees, continued negotiations for a new contract on Thursday, May 4. During their session, the District made a compensation counter offer.

    Here’s a brief summary of the offer (and the full language can be found here):

    The District’s contract offer states that if the 2017/18 adopted state budget increases projected funding to schools beyond what was projected at Second Interim report in March 2017, the first $3.8 million increase shall be used towards balancing the District’ projected structural deficit. Any funding increase beyond $3.8 million shall be allocated for an additional increase to the salary schedule for the 2016/2017 school year in the following manner:

    1. Salary schedules shall be increased by 1% for each $1.45 million of available increased funding as described in the contract language.
    2. Salary increases shall only occur in full increments of 0.5% and will be retroactive to July 1, 2016.
    3. In lieu of a salary increase, the Association may elect to use its fair share of the increased funding towards improving the District’s contribution for medical benefits (cap).

    According to the District’s proposal, within 45 calendar days after adoption of the State Budget, the District will determine if the contingency requirements have been met and will notify FCEA of its conclusion in writing.

    FCEA and the District bargaining teams agreed to continue negotiations after Gov. Jerry Brown releases his revised state budget proposal later this month. The next negotiation session will be May 19.
      

    Frequently Asked Questions - Labor Negotiations 
     
    Folsom Cordova Unified is in contract negotiations with its two employee bargaining units: the Folsom Cordova Education Association (FCEA) which represents teachers and certificated staff, and the California School Employees Association (CSEA) unit, which represents classified, non-teaching staff members.

    FCEA's contract expired on June 30, 2016, and CSEA's expires on June 30, 2017. Folsom Cordova is in discussions with both groups to reach a successor agreement. The existing terms of both contracts remain in effect until new agreements are reached.

    The District is anticipating a $3.9 million deficit in the next fiscal year beginning July 1, and a $1.3 million deficit the following year, in 2018-19. Rising retirement costs are a driving factor, as are scheduled increases in employee pay. Because Gov. Jerry Brown is proposing lowering projected payments to schools in the short-term, school districts across California face a funding gap in at least the next two years.

    The questions and answers, below, are designed to offer factual information regarding ongoing negotiations with the FCEA, the District's financial position, and other important background information. 
     
    What is the District’s financial condition?
    The District is anticipating a $3.9 million deficit in the next fiscal year beginning July 1, and a $1.4 million deficit the following year, in 2018-19. Rising retirement costs are a driving factor, as are scheduled increases in employee pay. Because Gov. Jerry Brown is proposing lowering projected payments to schools in the short-term, school districts across California face a funding gap in at least the next two years.

    Here are details on the District’s structural deficit:
    Chart of the District's structural deficit
     
    Does the District have money it can use in its reserves for pay raises?
    The District has $637,947 in unassigned reserves after setting aside legally required funds for economic uncertainty; services for socioeconomically disadvantaged students, English learners, and foster youth; career preparation programs; and textbooks/technology. The majority of this revenue is one-time, and not an ongoing revenue source.

    See below for multiyear reserves projections:
    Multiyear Projections
     
    And see below for a detailed overview of how the District has set aside money (Assigned/Committed): 
    Committed Revenues
     
    Didn’t voters approve more money for schools? Why are districts facing deficits?
    Earlier this year Gov. Jerry Brown - cautious about declining state revenues and long-term economic uncertainty - unveiled his proposed 2017-18 spending plan for education . The projections are not rosy: Brown proposed lowering funding for schools by $500 million next year and is not offering much more than a minimum cost-of-living increase required by law.

    The governor's budget doesn’t include any new funding to cover rising employer retirement costs.

    So, even though California voters approved temporary tax increases to support education, schools are being asked to carry the burden of sharply rising employee retirement costs - outpacing new revenues for schools.
     
    See below for FCUSD’s retirement cost projections:
    Rising retirement costs
     
    How does the District's revenue compare to other school districts?  
    Folsom Cordova receives the least amount of state money per student (average daily attendance) under the state's Local Control Funding Formula when comapred to other Sacramento County school districts: 
    Chart showing county comparisons of LCFF funding
     
    When is the last time teachers received a pay increase?
    • 2015-16: 4.5% permanent pay raise and increase to District’s contributions to health premiums
    • 2014-15: 5% permanent pay raise and increase to District’s contributions to health premiums
    • 2013-14: 5% one-time bonus to pay back funds lost to furloughs

    See below for a chart showing how FCUSD’s salary increases compared to other school districts. 
     
    Salary increases across the county
     
    How does the District’s teacher pay compare to other school districts?
    Teacher pay in FCUSD is competitive with other school districts that have similar English learner and low-income student demographics. See comparison chart, below: 
     
    Pay comparisons
     
    When comparing maximum teacher compensation to other districts, Folsom Cordova ranks No. 5. See comparison chart, below:
     
    Maximum compensation comparison
     
    Has the District made an offer to FCEA regarding compensation?
    The District offered to draft an agreement that provided contingency language should the governor’s updated May budget revisions provide more financial flexibility to school districts. FCEA declined.

    How much would it cost to provide a raise to employees?
    See below for an estimate of what it would cost to provide a 1% increase to salary and benefits to all employees, including teachers. (FCEA has asked for a 3.5% increase.)
     
    Cost of 1 percent
     
    What is “EL/LI” (Supplemental Grant) funding, and can it be used for teacher salary increases?
    EL/LI stands for “English learner” and “low-income” students. California now directs a greater share of school funding to schools with the largest numbers of these high-need students, and requires districts to prioritize funding for services that help improve achievement for these students.

    Redirecting these funds away from direct services for our highest-need students would be both irresponsible and legally questionable. Two Southern California school districts, for instance, are facing legal challenges because of their spending practices:

    What happens if the District and FCEA go to impasse?
    The FCEA on April 6, 2017, asked the state agency that oversees public agency negotiations, the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB), to issue a formal declaration of impasse and assign a neutral mediator. When both sides cannot reach an agreement in negotiations, state law contains a mandatory impasse resolution process. Under the law, either one or both of the parties may ask the state to intervene.

    On April 11, the PERB declined to certify an impasse, stating that “the appointment of a mediator is not appropriate at this time.”

    The District and FCEA will return to the bargaining table on May 4.

    Can teachers strike?
    Under state law, a strike cannot occur until all steps in the impasse process have been exhausted. We are still in the beginning stages of that process in FCUSD, so any possible strike would likely be months away. The District is confident we can resolve our differences and reach agreement with FCEA.


    What is the difference between “one-time” and “ongoing” funding?
    Ongoing funding are sources of revenue that the District relies on each year. Examples would be tax dollars from the state and federal government, and local property taxes.

    “One-time” funding is a single payment from a source, typically to be used for a specific purpose. These can include grants, or state funding that must be allocated for things like textbook adoption, teacher training, technology, and more.

    It is the District’s position that using “one-time” funds, which are not guaranteed year-to-year, for permanent salary increases commits the District to rising costs for years to come without an ongoing source of revenue.

    Could the District send back “Engineering is Elementary” curriculum and use that money for teacher salary increases?
    The District used federal categorical funds (for restricted purposes) to purchase this STEM curriculum to ensure our elementary students experience relevant, science and technology based, hands-on projects.

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