Blogging Bayport Alameda

February 28, 2013

Say it right

Filed under: Alameda, School — Tags: , , , — Lauren Do @ 6:08 am

Tuesday night’s School Board meeting was quite a doozy.   It kicked off with a marathon bargaining session the night before which went into the wee hours of the morning so I’ve been told, but in the end it appears that meeting was not fruitful because it culminated in an early morning press release announcing that there would be a huge rally in advance of the school board meeting.

Essentially the public comment portion of the school board meeting consisted of a whole lot of finger pointing from AEA members at the School Board telling them to “do their job.”   Of course the tiny little fact (okay two tiny little facts) omitted from this positioning are (1) the School Board doesn’t sit at the negotiation table and (2) AEA declared an impasse.

Also not helpful was the heckling and gratuitous applause after almost every single speaker.   With the exception of this guy:

Damon Smith from the Alameda County Office of Education.   He received zero applause from this audience that had previously been so generous with their accolades.   Probably because he told the School Board that they needed to make sure that they saved enough in case the School District received an adverse judgment in the Measure H lawsuit so that they wouldn’t go into receivership.  It’s never fun hearing about how there might not be enough money when you are asking for more money.

Anyway, so something that came up on Tuesday night was that one of the members of the AEA negotiation team insisted that the School District had only offered a 2% raise.    Of course by last count the District had publicly stated that they had last offered 2.5%, so I’m not clear why the 2% number was proffered on Tuesday night because generally, in a negotiation, you don’t offer less than you have publicly offered unless you are being a jerk.   And while I’m sure that some folks think that District are being jerk-like it wouldn’t make sense for them to march backward when the last time around they offered 2% they were roundly rejected.

From what I have heard, during the Monday marathon session the District offered “more.”  Which would mean more than 2.5%.   I don’t have any insider information about what that “more” could be, but the gap between what AEA wanted (4.5% over two years) and what the District offered (2.5%) yielded a difference of only $450-600K to fight over.   If the District offered “more” even nominally more and AEA refused to budge on the 4.5% over two years then that difference is even smaller and makes the lack of resolution even more troublesome.

If we play around with some potential numbers, and keep the AEA proposal fixed, here are some of the possible scenarios, first a nominal hike of .25% to an offer of 2.75%


AUSD proposal
2.75% raise

AEA proposal
4.5% raise over two years
Year One Raise
$1,094,500

$796,000
Year Two Raise
$1,094,500

$1,791,000
Total
$2,189,000

$2,587,000

So the difference between the two is about $400K.

And here’s what it is if I use the rounded $1.2 million number for the two years:


AUSD proposal
2.75% raise

AEA proposal
4.5% raise over two years
Year One Raise
$825,000

$600,000
Year Two Raise
$825,000

$1,350,000
Total
$1,650,000

$1,950,000

Then the difference is around $300K.

If I bump up the possible District offer to 3% here’s what you get


AUSD proposal
3% raise

AEA proposal
4.5% raise over two years
Year One Raise
$1,194,000

$796,000
Year Two Raise
$1,194,000

$1,791,000
Total
$2,388,000

$2,587,000

The difference between the two is about $200K.

And here’s what it is if I use the rounded $1.2 million number for the two years:


AUSD proposal
3% raise

AEA proposal
4.5% raise over two years
Year One Raise
$900,000

$600,000
Year Two Raise
$900,000

$1,350,000
Total
$1,800,000

$1,950,000

Then the difference is around $150K.  In case you were wondering a 2.5% raise in the first year and a 1% raise in year two (while maintain the 2.5% raise in the first year) yields the same result as a 3% raise off the top, but would yield a talking point on the District’s side as having offered a 3.5% raise over two years.

Anyway, maybe there will end up being more clarity on the terms later on, but I think it’s not in anyone’s interest to misrepresent what the bargaining position is of the “other side”  if they are barred from saying anything to correct the record.

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7 Comments »

  1. Talking about school Board saying : Do your Job ……That’s a funny line .
    I think it is about time to remove evry single one of them and select a Board that will do Hjis job , in this case negotiating , in most cases not wasting our taxes in useless buiding at a time they need it the most , Stop wasting our taxes in your accomodations , use existing building , you no longer need to be housed in the same facility .
    LEAD BY EXAMPLE

    Comment by mijoka — February 28, 2013 @ 9:05 am

  2. Again, the School Board does not sit at the negotiation table, they are policy makers, they don’t run the day to day operations (of which negotiation falls under) the only thing that Board does is approve the general policy direction for the negotiation team to then take to the table.

    Also, there has just been much drama about the lack of space to house ACLC, what makes you think that there is room for the District staff on school sites if we just went through (and are still going through) a huge issue with accommodations for a charter school?

    Comment by Lauren Do — February 28, 2013 @ 10:01 am

  3. I’d say take whatever pay raise is contemplated and put it in the ‘oh shit we lost H fund”.

    Comment by Jack Richard — February 28, 2013 @ 12:21 pm

  4. OK, I understand the job of the School Board is to make policy, not run the day to day operations. So, why does the President of the School Board read off a list of every small school event over the next few weeks, i.e, family night tomorrow night at this school, a fund raiser at that school, etc? What does that have to do with policy? And, not with day to day operations?

    And how can this list be read with equanimity after the previous agenda item of Public Comment?

    I understand the teachers were acting out; I probably would too, were I a teacher. But there were several other speakers who had other substantive issues. The one that impressed me was the parent who outlined deplorable conditions at various schools attended by her children with some pretty clear bullet points. No response from the Board. It seems like they could at least ask for the list of bullet points in written form so they could be responded to at a later date.

    Just stepping back, trying not to wallow in all the sordid history, and listening to words said and tones of voice used, and the *non-responses*, which are in themselves a form of response, it was a really *weird* meeting.

    Comment by Tom Schweich — February 28, 2013 @ 1:01 pm

  5. I imagine that school events are read off because of tradition, much like the whole student school board members who essentially do the same.

    The public comment period is NOT a time for back and forth discussion. I know that a lot of people get upset that the City Council does not “listen” because they don’t provide responses during the public comment period, but that’s not really the point of the public comment period. If the School Board members were to launch into a lengthy discussion about site inadequacies that would be a violation of the Brown Act since the issue of facilities was not on the agenda. I imagine that lots of parents have a lot to say about the facilities at their schools, and to open an agenda item without notice and not allowing other parents and community members with similar concerns to add input would be unfair. Yes even parents at Lincoln which the speaker intimated that the conditions would never be acceptable there have very valid concerns about the state of their facility as well.

    The District attempted to start the discussion about updating and modernizing the school facilities, but that discussion ended up in a discussion about how to have the discussion, including the insistence that a neutral moderator be used and that the School Board itself hand select that moderator. In fact, I don’t think the District or the Board is unaware of the issues at different sites, the question is, how to pay for it. The most recent facilities assessment report already estimates repairs in the $92 million range, that’s just sort of the bare minimum repairs to be done.

    I believe that District staff wanted to move forward with the facilities discussion earlier, but again, the discussion turned into a discussion about how to have the discussion.

    Comment by Lauren Do — February 28, 2013 @ 1:51 pm

  6. Yes, I’ve heard of the requirements of various laws and how they affect agendas, etc., though I may not fully understand it all. And I know a lot of water has gone over the bridge, or under the dam, as the case may be. What I don’t understand is how or why they have been used to justify the highly ritualized, dissociated event of Tuesday night. I suspect there is plenty of legal wiggle room between “Thank you, next speaker” and a full blown discussion. Perhaps something like “Have you communicated your concerns to staff? … No? Will you please …”

    Comment by Tom Schweich — March 1, 2013 @ 6:54 am

  7. I think you’re right Tom. But I also think that some understanding of the circumstance (rowdy audience looking to score political points, potential of board member who is incapable of staying within the bounds of law on open meeting rules, fact that much of what the speaker said had been said by the speaker, and others, a week before) and excuse the lack of acknowledgement as possilby a new board president trying to get his feet under him while balancing a very dynamic and chaotic situation.

    Watching the board over the last month, it’s verging on becoming a disaster and without help it is going to be lucky to get anything done in the coming two years. I think your criticisms are valid and on point and I would encourage you to email them, not as accusations but as constructive criticism to the board president. When I was the chair of the Transportation Commission, I know it took me easily six months to a year to feel anywhere near comfortable running meetings (which is different than claiming I did a good job of it). I’m sure the chair would be grateful for the positive, constructive feedback.

    Comment by jkw — March 1, 2013 @ 7:53 am


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