PALMDALE – The Palmdale School District met with the Palmdale Elementary Teachers Association (PETA) in post-factfinding negotiations this past Friday, but both sides were unable to reach an agreement that would allow the District to present a balanced budget for the next three years to the Los Angeles County Office of Education (“LACOE”), as required by law, according to Superintendent Roger D. Gallizzi.
In a press release issued Monday, Gallizzi gave his take on the latest round of negotiations:
While PETA, after more than six months, did propose for the first time an economic proposal that reflected the necessity of some reductions in benefits, PETA proposed no salary reductions. In response, the District informed PETA that its proposal was inadequate to address the District’s deficit which had been shared with PETA almost six months earlier, and had been confirmed through the factfinding process by the neutral Factfinder, Bonnie Castrey.
Ultimately, PETA reverted back to its original position that no changes were necessary to any salary and benefits in light of the State of California’s projected funding. While the District acknowledged the more positive outlook reflected in the Governor’s Budget, the District reminded PETA that the State has not yet determined the restrictions attached to those funds. As such, the District again presented its prior proposal which both ensures a balanced budget while also providing for strong contingency language which would restore salary reductions and/or furlough days based upon any unrestricted money in the ending fund balance for 2012-13, or additional unrestricted revenues in the District’s 2013-14 revenue limit.
In addition to this contingency language, and at PETA’s request, the District agreed to include language providing “If after the restoration of all salary reductions and furlough days additional funds are available from the ending fund balance and/or additional unrestricted revenue limit, the District and PETA agree to reconvene negotiations in regards to Salary.”
The meeting concluded with both the District and PETA acknowledging that they continued to be at impasse and unable to reach an agreement. Given that the District has negotiated and reached impasse with PETA in good faith, the District’s bargaining team will recommend to the Board of Trustees of the District that it implement its last, best, and final offer proposed to PETA on July 12, 2013. [Read the District's last proposal here] That public meeting will be held on July 16, 2013.
PETA President Hugo Estrada said he was disappointed that the District did not accept PETA’s proposal, and said the proposal followed the factfinder’s recommendations. [Read PETA’s proposal here]
“We presented a soft cap for our benefits and we presented furloughs days that we felt we could take towards the end of the school year where it won’t affect us that much and we would definitely know how the money that Sacramento is sending would be used…” Estrada said. “The District cannot pick and choose what to use from the [factfinder] report, they either honor the entire report or not.”
Estrada said he was also disappointed that District officials tried to obstruct a planned demonstration outside the Palmdale School District Friday morning.
“They had District trucks parked in the front, blocking our ability to park. It was a clear move by the District to try to suppress our demonstration,” Estrada said, adding that the 200 plus demonstrators had to park down the street and then lug their banners and signs up to the District building for the protest.
PETA is planning another protest at the District Board meeting on Tuesday (July 16), and they’re asking supporters to show up at 3:30 p.m.
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