District Blames State Funding for Contract Delay

Nick Johnson, Staff Writer

Teachers in the Acalanes Education Association and the Acalanes Union High School District had been locked in contract negotiations for months.

The two sides had met 19 times and had yet to come up with a deal as of March 25.

Acalanes Union High School District (AUHSD) assistant superintendent Kevin French described his goals for the meetings. “You always hope to get a settlement that’s fair to both sides and maintain if not improve relationships. I think that its a goal to understand each other and at the end of the time together come out with a better relationship.” he said.

French said that there were several factors that led to the negotiations taking longer than anticipated, but they did not make the process more difficult. “I wouldn’t describe them [the discussions] as hard. We spent a lot of time on contract language. I think there are several factors that are beyond the control of either side.” he said.

According to French, the two sides spent 4 weeks discussing teachers’ compensation, but other than that, the talk had been mostly contract language. Among the things discussed were class size, salary and benefits.

“We’re actually discussing 8 articles per year which is much more than most districts attempt to do. We’ve gotten some great things accomplished,” French said.

Since the Governor’s office in Sacramento has reduced the funding that the AUHSD district receives, the district has decided to begin releasing temporary and probationary teachers. French said that this process is “nothing new,” and the process is normal and happens every year. “Unfortunately, the school district is a people-driven organization, and when you are deficit spending and such a large part of you’re budget is people, that usually requires reducing staff,” French said.

Because the state has come up with a new funding formula, the state has reduced the amount of funding that the AUHSD receives. The funding plan called Revenue Limit has been changed to Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF). Under the LCFF, the state gives the AUHSD less money because there are not as many low income students at this school district.

“We are, unfortunately, one of the few school districts that were harmed. There are some school districts that are receiving more money,” said French.

Another topic of discussion in the negotiations was teacher seniority. Because of the reduced funding, the district has decided to let some teachers go. The established policy is to generally keep the teacher who has been in the district for a longer amount of time. This is known as competency language.