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Letter to Staff & Community

Letter to Staff & Community

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Published by The Natomas Buzz
Dr. Walt Hanline's letter to Natomas Unified School District staff and the community about planned teacher layoffs.
Dr. Walt Hanline's letter to Natomas Unified School District staff and the community about planned teacher layoffs.

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Published by: The Natomas Buzz on Feb 28, 2012
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February 27, 2012Natomas Staff and Community,Tomorrow evening, for programmatic reasons, I am recommending that the Board reduce anumber of staff members, including six Elementary PE teachers and three District elementary Visual And Performing Arts (VAPA) teachers. In these difficult times, every creative idea thatwill make us more efficient and more effective must be considered. With this in mind, weneed to explore the priorities of the Natomas Teachers Association (NTA), when it comes tomaking our District efficient and effective.My expectation was, by this late date, that we would have long since had meaningfulnegotiations with the NTA leadership on our proposals presented to them in August andwould have looked at all of the options to address the needed loss of ongoing revenue fromthe State. (Please note the attached Negotiation Fact Sheet.) NTA leadership has avoidedeven trying to negotiate. We finally met for the first time to negotiate on November 30
.Rather than negotiating, NTA presented a proposal to increase salaries and benefits.Obviously, this was not a productive beginning. We discussed some options that werepossible for NTA to consider in presenting a counter to our proposal. However, NTA negotiators related that they did not have the authority to move forward, at which time weset the negotiation date of December 13
. NTA canceled out of that date. We filed forImpasse and were told by the Public Employee Relations Board (PERB) to negotiate. Wescheduled the next negotiations date for January 17
, at which point, NTA canceled again.We filed for Impasse and were told by PERB to go negotiate. We scheduled February 1
,and NTA left abruptly after less than 60 minutes of negotiations. We filed for Impasse andPERB certified to Impasse, which means that the District and NTA are in Mediation. Weproposed two dates in March to meet with the State Mediator and the NTA leadershiprefused to negotiate until April 19
.To enable the District to have options in our negotiations with NTA, we had to move forwardwith the notice on the February 28
Board Agenda of the services that will not be needed. Ibelieve that the present Preparation Release structure for elementary teachers is not themost efficient, in light of the future financial challenges we face as a District. In its ideal, Iwould want to maintain the Preparation Time. Yet, I believe that reasonable class sizes,library assistants, counselors, basic
teacher supply budgets and other “core” program
needsare a priority. Ultimately, NTA leadership and the District will have to agree to actions thatprovide for maximum efficiency, in an effort to reduce the impact of our 20% reduction of income from the State. Frankly, there are no easy decisions to be made that will not impacteither our students or our staff.
 As we all know, the rhetoric expressed recently that PE teachers provide the 200 minutes of State required PE instruction is not accurate. For K-3 grade teachers, alone, they provide 60minutes of such instruction every ten days. It is factual that the regular classroom teacher isrequired, by the law being quoted, to render the additional 140 minutes of instruction, whichthey are credentialed and trained to do. As we approach the shift of delivery, which we plan to implement for Elementary PE and VAPA, we are committing to a
trainer and support model
. We will keep at least oneelementary PE teacher to coach and to provide lessons for the week for each elementaryteacher. The coach will also provide staff development for the elementary teachers to train
them on “what they should do.” 
 Simply stated, we are not eliminating PE, we arebeing efficient in teaching PE.
In the times we are in, we have to prioritize the use of the limited resources available. The financial impact of this option will be over $450,000 of savings to our budget, which translates to approximately 1.5% on the salary schedule.Please do understand that any ultimate change is subject to negotiations, yet, we needed tonotify the effected teachers to give decision flexibility to both the Association and the District.I hope this information clarifies concerns and questions raised recently related to theprogrammatic changes reflected in the February 28
Board Agenda which are necessary atthis time.Sincerely,Dr. Walt HanlineInterim Superintendent
 Attached: Statement of Facts
 1. Memorandum of Understanding. On or about January 10, 2011, Natomas Unified
School District (“District”) and
the Natomas Teachers Association (“Association”) enteredinto a Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”). Presently at issue is the section entitled“Duration” wherein the parties agreed to the following:
 [I]n the event the proposed 2011-
2012 State Budget … w
ill result inpositive or negative change equal to or greater than $500,000 in the
District’s projected ending cash balance for June 2012 … as determined by the District’s Fiscal Advisor [Teresa R. Ryland], the District and the
Association agree to meet within ten (10) calendar days at the request of either party to negotiate regarding possible adjustments to employeesalaries and/or work year, benefits and/or class size overage payments inthe 2011-2012 fiscal year.The January 10, 2011 MOU is attached as Exhibit A (see page 3).2. Duty to Negotiate Triggered
. On or about July 18, 2011, the District’s Fiscal
Advisor determined that a positive or negative change equal to or greater than $500,000 in the
District’s projected ending cash balance for June 201
2 had occurred. On or about July 19,
2011, the District, through its legal counsel Roman J. Muñoz, notified the Association’srepresentative, Leslie Levine, of the Fiscal Advisor’s determination and provided the
Association with dates to commence negotiations. The July 19, 2011 letter from Roman J.Muñoz to Leslie Levine with the July 18, 2011 notification from Teresa R. Ryland is attachedas Exhibit B.3.
District’s Attempts To Commence Negotiations
. Beginning in August 2011 andcontinuing for several months, the District attempted to commence negotiations with theAssociation to no avail. Correspondence between the District and the Association
demonstrating the District’s attempts to begin the negotiations process is attached as Exhibit
C. On November 30, 2011, the District and the Association finally met and negotiated fromapproximately 8:45 a.m. to 4:53 p.m. and exchanged proposals the District rejected the
Association’s initial proposal and asked the Association to reconsider the District’s initi
alproposal. The parties agreed to recommence negotiations on December 13, 2011 from 10:00

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