Palmdale School District and teachers approve new agreement
Move will save district $3.6 million
Palmdale School District’s board of education unanimously ratified a tentative agreement with the Palmdale Elementary Teachers Association that will save the school district an estimated $3.6 million.
The board also approved a leadership team personnel policy that will save the school district more than $1.3 million.
Addtionally, the trustees voted to approve layoff notices for 51 classified employees related to the closure of Tamarisk and Wildflower Elementary schools, and a loss of categorical funding (money from the state and federal governments targeted to particular programs, such as elementary class size reduction, special education etc.)
More than 70 percent of Palmdale Elementary Teachers Association members approved the agreement, which covers negotiations for the 2009-10 school year. The proposal received 496 yes votes and 164 no votes in March of this year.
According to the tentative agreement, which will be officially approved July 1 to go into effect for the 2010-11 school year, all teachers who work on an extended-calendar year will move to the regular school calendar year of 184 days. Additionally, the agreement includes a reconfiguration of early childhood special education classes.
Class sizes will also increase to 33 students for the school district’s seventh and eighth grade classes, and 31 students for elementary schools.
“I would just like to say how much we appreciate our working relationship with our fellow negotiators at the table,” Carolyn Hansen, Palmdale assistant superintendent for human resources, said after the board’s vote. “We’re facing difficult challenges, and we appreciate where we are now with business as usual.”
Superintendent Roger Gallizzi indicated that he was very pleased that the school district and the teachers’ union reached an agreeable settlement. “This really shows what positive relationships seeking mutual benefit can do,” he said. “Everyone stepped up to the plate and contributed their fair share.”
Gallizzi said the leadership team personnel policy approved by the board is consistent with the other bargaining units in that it had very minor changes.
“However, the one significant change was we drastically reduced our health benefits to help contribute our fair share of the budget deficit.”
The changes approved by the board include a modification to dental and vision plans as well as the addition of co-pays and deductibles.
In addition, several open management positions are set to remain vacant next year, including principal and assistant principal positions at Tamarisk and Wildflower, which are scheduled to be closed this year, and coordinator and director positions at the district office.