Teachers Union at High Tech High Reaches Tentative Agreement With School

by on January 19, 2023 · 0 comments

in Education, Labor, Ocean Beach

The Voice of San Diego reports today that “after a year of bargaining, High Tech High’s new teachers union has reached a tentative agreement on a contract with the school’s leadership. The breakthrough comes after the charter network’s board of trustees declared an impasse a few months ago.”

Back in November 2022 there was an impasse with the board. But there has been progress, as VOSD reports:

The two outstanding issues on the table were who would make a final decision if a teacher appealed a firing, and how long of a probationary period new educators would need to complete before becoming established teachers.

What they agreed on: The union succeeded in advocating that a neutral third party have the final say in appeals, while High Tech High’s leadership got the three-year probationary period it wanted. The union previously insisted on a two-year probationary period.

Both the union and High Tech High leadership celebrated this tentative agreement, which still needs approval from the charter network’s board of trustees and the union’s membership.

Voice of San Diego’s Jakob McWhinney writes that both sides also acknowledged it was a first step toward restoring a relationship between management and educators that had become frayed during the bargaining process.

Read more about the tentative agreement here.

Here is a statement of the achievement from their union:

HTEC educators moved into the New Year with a successful contract that, for the first time, gives these talented teams of teachers a voice in their shared future with the successful charter school.

Some of the provisions include a restructuring of the pay scale retroactive to July 1, 2022 (10.28% total cost increase) with additional opportunities to reopen the contract for salary enhancement in the future. To address the longstanding problem of keeping teachers at High Tech, a two-tiered retroactive retention bonus was established for 2022-23 ($3,900 or $1,600 depending on placement on salary schedule).

All High Tech teachers were formerly at-will employees, subject to immediate dismissal with virtually no recourse. HTEC successfully added the protection of “For cause dismissal” language after a 3-year probationary period.

Wellness and worktime issues were addressed through language guaranteeing lunch breaks, and 10 days of sick leave that carries over from year-to-year; including three days of personal business leave. Class size caps for all grades were established, including maximums of 25 for elementary, 29 for middle school, 34 for 9th grade, and 32 for 10th–12th grades. Special Education student caseloads were capped at 22 for elementary and 24 for secondary.

The new contract also provides a wage replacement benefit that offsets the gap between State Disability Insurance and a member’s salary for up to 6 weeks–effectively creating a 6-week paid maternity leave program for their educators.

Because no official codified evaluation system was established, an inconsistent pattern of treatment emerged at High Tech sites. HTEC will participate in a joint committee to create their first-ever evaluation process and build an effective evaluative model.

HTEC leaders and members have shown through diligence, patience, solidarity and hard work, members can build a better future for themselves–and their students.

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