Step & Freeze & Step & Freeze & …

Do you remember last year when we agreed to a step & column freeze of our salary schedule?


That is probably because it did not happen. However, we did agree to three furlough days and more if proposition 30 did not pass.

How would you feel if you were the superintendent of the largest high school district in the nation and were under the impression that the largest bargaining unit in your District had agreed to freeze their salary schedule and your advisers had said nothing as you spoke about restoring step and column.

At last week’s meeting with adult school educators and staff, the superintendent made it very clear that if we were to agree to allow the salary schedule to remain frozen and to not ask for anything of monetary value that there would be no layoffs.

Our bargaining chair, Roberto Rodriguez, and I were present at this meeting. After the superintendent made his statement regarding the salary schedule, Roberto gave him the opportunity to clarify his statement. The superintendent talked about the agreement that we reached which froze the salary schedule.  Roberto corrected him. No such agreement was made with us.

I suppose if I were the superintendent, I would not be too happy with my Labor Negotiator. It makes you wonder what goes on when the School Board and the Labor Negotiator confer in closed session. This time, I won’t blame the Labor Negotiator. By now, the superintendent should know that he is  poorly informed  and advised with respect to our negotiated contract and is likely to make erroneous statements that lead to erroneous actions  when it comes to our contract and negotiations.   Resorting to strong arm tactics, such using as layoffs as a weapon, reminds me that we still have a long way to go to fix the climate and culture of Sweetwater.

Layoffs are being used as bargaining tactic. If Jim Cartmill had been present at the School Board meeting, the administration would not have pulled Resolution R-7 from the agenda and pink slips would have been issued the following morning.  Without Jim’s vote, the motion would likely have failed. I have pasted the District’ analysis that explains in writing why they feel the Resolution is needed. Please read it. The analysis explains how the Resolution impacts all segments of our bargaining unit: Adult School, ROP, and the 7-12 program.  The analysis fails to mention what was described at last week’s meeting with adult educators:  The District believes that layoffs should used as a bargaining tactic because SEA will not only be asking to unfreeze their salary schedule but to better it.

It has been announced that the Resolution will return at the Monday,  March 11th  School Board meeting. However, by posting the Resolution at the February School Board meeting they have, once again, shown their cards.  To begin with, they planned on over-noticing to provide an extraordinary cushion for errors that we will likely discover as we approach layoff hearings. Secondly, the Resolution assumes that Adult Education and ROP will not exist in our District next year; therefore, making it necessary to pink slip 7-12 program teachers that can be replaced by properly credentialed Adult and ROP educators. (I’m eager to see their credential analysis.) The resolution indicates that all Adult and ROP classes will be eliminated. The reality is that we will not receive fewer funds for Adult Education next year. In fact, our District plans on sweeping 3 million dollars of their funding into the general budget.  The Resolution also assumes that the County office of Education will not pass through one cent of ROP  funds to our District. That is not going to happen.

At the meeting with Adult School Educators, Ed informed the group that he has been in contact with legislator Marty Block regarding pushing back the March 15 pink-slip notification date.  This is smoke and mirrors. After the superintendent left, I asked the Adult Educators if they were going to receive notice that they may be laid-off would they like to push back the notice date. They did not. (For those of you that went through the layoff process last year, this would have meant having they layoff hearings in the summertime. ) The reality is that the District is using the layoff process as a bargaining tactic. They want to unfreeze a salary schedule that they thought was frozen and they do not want to bargain additional state revenue that will be available for the upcoming school year(s).

The District now knows that we will be receiving more funds for the next school year than we are for the current year. The District has informed me verbally that that our permanent Adult School teachers will be returning next year. If so,  they should not be pink-slipped–but they may. Unfortunately, many of our Adult School and ROP teachers are temporary employees and are not subject layoff proceedings.  However, the Resolution implies that temporary employees will be going through layoff hearings.  It is a bargaining tactic.

If I were the superintendent, I would issue the following statement:

I apologize. I was misinformed, again, regarding the settlement that was reached and I will start to hold my advisers to a higher standard from now on. We will not initiate the layoff process. The layoff Resolution will not be posted on next week’s agenda. I apologize for using it as a bargaining tactic. I fared well in my personal negotiations with the District. I wish you the same.

However, that is a fantasy.  I do not believe that District will acknowledge publicly that using layoffs as bargaining tactic is the Sweetwater way of doing business.  The School Board agenda will be posted Friday evening on the District’s website in the BoardDocs area.  Please look at the section of the agenda called “Resolutions.”


  • Alex Anguiano, SEA President
  • (619) 840-9104 cell

Please do not respond to this email on the District’s Outlook system.


Due to revisions in the state budget regarding adult education, ROP, low enrollment at some of the schools, and changes to academic program offerings, the district must plan for certificated and classified cuts for the 2013-2014 school year to respond to the budget shortfalls.

The governing board is required by law to give notice, on or before March 15, 2013, to all certificated employees affected by any decision to reduce or eliminate services.  This reduction or elimination of services will impact certificated and classified employees from adult education and ROP programs.  The 7-12 certificated and classified employees may be impacted because of transfers from one program to another. Additionally, the alternative education program is being restructured with the possibility of reduction in counseling services.

Under current law, probationary certificated employees may not be non-re-elected for the sole purpose of saving costs because they are entitled to the benefit of the procedures specified in the certificated layoff statues.  In order to lay off probationary or permanent certificated employees, the district is required to adopt a resolution setting forth statutory reasons for the layoff and specifying the types and quantity of certificated employees whose services will be reduced or eliminated.  The statutory reason for the proposed layoff is reductions of a “particular kind of service,” which is the most common means of achieving certificated staff layoff.

Positions will be restored based on available funding and the needs of the district.

The proposed resolution will authorize the superintendent to give notices to certificated employees to respond to the restructuring of adult education and ROP programs and the reductions resulting from this action.

Fiscal Impact: The savings is estimated to be $11,439,924.00

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