PALMDALE – A state-appointed factfinder has recommended that the Palmdale School District and its teachers enter into a multi-year agreement (three years), during which salary reductions and furlough days be taken as necessary to balance the District’s budget, according to Superintendent Roger D. Gallizzi.
In a press release issued Monday, Gallizzi outlined the recommendations of Bonnie Castrey, a factfinder appointed by the Public Employee Relations Board as a neutral party to help in contract negotiations between the Palmdale Elementary Teachers Association (PETA) and Palmdale School District.
“After the two full days of hearing and deliberation, the Factfinder Castrey completed and distributed her report and recommendations to the parties on July 4th,” Gallizzi states in the press release. “In that report, Ms. Castrey sides with the District on virtually every substantive point at issue regarding its finances, and recommends a course of action not significantly different to what the District has been proposing for several months.”
According to Gallizzi, the Factfinder made the following findings and recommendations:
- The District met its very “heavy burden” of proving that it cannot afford to continue to pay salary and benefits at their current level.
- The District should use salary reductions and furlough days to balance its budget.
- Teachers should pay for health benefit costs above a health benefits funding cap.
Read the Factfinder’s 23-page report in full here.
“The District remains committed to negotiating immediately and in good faith with PETA in an attempt to find a mutually acceptable solution to the current impasse over teacher salary and benefits,” Gallizzi states.
Gallizzi’s press release explains the history of the contract negotiations, the details of the factfinder’s recommendations and the Palmdale School District’s path forward. Read it in full here.
UPDATED 7/9/13: PETA responds to Fact Finding report
The following is the full statement from Palmdale Elementary Teachers Association President Hugo Estrada, which details PETA’s position on the Fact Finding Report between the Palmdale School District and Palmdale Elementary Teachers Association.
This is the Palmdale Elementary Teachers Association (PETA) position on the Fact Finding Report between the Palmdale School District and Palmdale Elementary Teachers Association. Palmdale Elementary Teachers Association finds the State Neutral’s Report has merits for both sides as substantiated by the fact that panelist from both sides agree and dissent on some areas.
On behalf of the Palmdale Elementary Teachers Association I want to thank the community for supporting our efforts to keep cuts/concessions away from the classroom. In November 2012, you helped us passed Proposition 30 which promised to do exactly that. In January, Governor Jerry Brown presented his new budget and he also mentioned a new method of funding schools based on the needs of those communities. He called it the Local Control Funding Formula. Based on this formula our community’s needs qualify for significant new revenue as noted by the Neutral’s report. Governor Brown signed the budget and eventual trailer bills into law on June 27th. It is important to note that other districts around our area are already using the new information and so should our district.
Experts from School Services of California, John Gray, and California Teachers Association, Angela Su, in January recommended patience when negotiating cuts/concessions until May. With the State Budget now signed and the formula defined, we know the funds are coming and both the District and the Association must use this knowledge to negotiate in good faith.
Pulling numbers from PSD Budget documents, the fact-finders report, CA Department of Finance, and State Assemblyman Steve Fox’s table on http://theavtimes.com/2013/06/17/passage-of-state-budget-benefits-local-school-districts, PSD will receive approximately $11.7 million in new funding next year. Since Proposition 30 taxes will last for 7 years, this new money will continue. In addition to the new funds, the Neutral’s report recommends the District move the extra $5.2 million from the textbook account to the general fund since no new books will be adopted until 2015.
New unrestricted funding = $8,000,000.00 (minimum)
Common Core funding = $3,700,000.00
Total New Funds $11,700,000.00 (minimum)
Total dollars available $11.7million + $5.2 million= $16.9 million
PSD projected deficit $11,800,000.00
In closing, PETA has a history of co-operation with the district, also noted by the Neutral’ Report. That history merits for both sides to return to the table and negotiate in good faith using Mrs. Castrey Report as a basis for reaching a reasonable settlement. PETA extends a heartfelt thank you to our community for continuing to make public education and our teachers a priority.
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