Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Negotiation Highlights - November 19, 2012

GEA-GSD Negotiaions 
November  19, 2012

The bargaining session began at 3:17 PM. Genaro Alarcon facilitated the meeting while Ken Tang was the recorder.

After Check-in, an agenda was begun.

The final agenda consisted of three items.

  1. Budget information from the District
  2. 2013-2014 Calendar
  3. Where are we/next steps
The District distributed information regarding the financial state of the District. A chart with the most recent projections was distributed. Several graphs were distributed as well. There was an explanation of cash flow issues caused by payment deferrals from the state. There was also discussion regarding loans which the District has to take out every nine months or so because of the state payment deferrals.

There was also information regarding the effects a hard cap on fringe benefits to all employees would have on the bottom line.

The Association asked several questions regarding the assumptions used to create the documents.

The discussion turned to the 2013-2014 calendar. The District distributed two calendars which are closely aligned with Alhambra's calendar. It was stated that these were not proposals at this time, but  rather a starting point for discussion.

The first calendar had an orientation date of August 14, 2013, and an ending date of May 28, 2014.
The second calendar had an orientation date of August 19, 2013 and an ending date of May 30-, 2012.

The District stated that since our calendar does not align with Alhambra this year, we will have to have summer school classes for our special education eighth graders. Historically these classes are held at the high schools, but since their summer school classes begin before we are out of school, Garvey will have to conduct their own classes. This is a cost to the District.

The Association clarified that with both calendars we would be going back to a 10 month pay schedule and asked to find out when summer school 2014 would begin in Alhambra so we can take that information into consideration.

The Association took a caucus.

After the caucus the discussion turned to next steps.

The District stated it was very important to begin discussion regarding fringe benefits in December.

The Association stated that we need to survey and discuss fringe with our members in order to have a meaningful discussion with the District.

In the end it was decided that fringe benefits would be taken up in January.

The next bargaining session is scheduled for December 3rd at 3 PM

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

David Cruz from AM 1150 interviews Bob Bruesch and Dr. Johnson

David Cruz interviewed both Garvey School Board Member Bob Bruesch and Garvey School District Superintendent Dr. Sandra Johnson. The David Cruz Show can be heard weekdays from 3-6 PM on KTLK AM 1150 in Los Angeles.

The interview with Bob Bruesch occurred on October 31, 2012. It can be heard by clicking the link below.

David Cruz interview with Bob Bruesch

The interview with Dr. Johnson took place on November 5, 2012. It can be heard by clicking the link below.

David Cruz interview with Dr. Johnson

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Negotiation Highlights - August 29, 2012

GEA-GSD Negotiaions 
August 29, 2012

Negotiations between the Garvey School District and the Garvey Education Association continued on August 29, 2012. The session that had been scheduled for August 3rd was cancelled by the District.

The Association began the session by reminding the District of the offer to take two furlough days and to create a “staff development day” to relieve the general fund. A formal proposal was given to the District on July 5, 2012.

The Association then offered two additional furlough days, for a total of four.
  • The District is interested in removing the “family plan” for GEA members and implementing a hard cap of $9500 for all GEA members.
  • The Association offered the two extra furlough days to cover the cost to the District caused by the inclusion of the “family plan” during the 2013 calendar year.
  • This would allow for a thorough discussion of medical benefits without the financial constraint caused by the “family plan.”
 The District stated it was not interested in the additional furlough days, and that maybe a mediator should come in to mediate the health benefits discussion.

The Association stated it was premature to bring in a mediator since there had been no discussion surrounding fringe benefits to this point. The Association stated its desire to discuss medical benefits in an interest based bargaining setting.

The discussion turned to the unilateral decision to change instructional minutes across the District.
  • GEA stated that a vote for furlough days which would have been a “slam dunk” in June, when it was first agreed to, would be more of a challenge since the District implemented their instructional minutes plan without any discussion with the Association.
  • GEA noted that the concept of saving money by implementing a furlough day is based on the concept that employees don’t work so the District does not have to pay them.
  • The District has implemented a plan to have the teachers work increased instructional minutes despite furlough days, essentially having teachers work more time with students for less money.
  • The Association Bargaining Team was not sure how this would be viewed by the membership.
 The Association asked for the rationale for the instructional minutes change. The District stated:

  • The District is entitled to add more minutes within the contract.
  • The Board has directed the District Team to not lower instructional minutes despite impending furlough days.
  • There is a need in the District to increase seat time for students.

GEA caucused. Upon their return:
  • The Association stated they wanted to sign the MOU for the two furlough days and the staff development day as soon a possible.
  • They asked the District if they were willing to sign today.
  • GEA also stated they would like to reconvene the Insurance Committee to start meeting with insurance carriers ASAP. The desire is to explore as many options as we can as we begin discussion on fringe benefits.

The meeting adjourned with agreement to reconvene at 1:30 PM. The District was to write the MOU Language so it could be signed.

The District subsequently contacted the Association and stated that the trigger cut calculation was no longer a flat dollar amount, and that they needed to recalculate the figures before writing the MOU.

No writing of the MOU ever occurred.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Thursday, October 11, 2012

How much is the Superintendent's pay increase costing the District?

There has been much discussion as to how much the salary increase of Dr. Sandra Johnson, in conjunction with her decision to come out of retirement after over 10 years, is costing the District.

Our calculation places the added annual cost at $42,549.63!

 If anyone in the know can explain why this is inaccurate, please let us know.

Cost to the Garvey School District General Fund. 

New Salary $170,000
Previous Salary $148,516
Net Difference $21,484

Doctoral Stipend (She was not previously receiving this stipend.)

Payment to the State Teacher's Retirement System (STRS)
Since Dr Johnson decided to come out of retirement, the District must now pay 8.25% into the pension system on Dr. Johnson's behalf. No STRS payment was being made prior to the change in the contract. An equal payment was being made to an annuity instead. The School Board decided to continue the annuity despite the new payments to STRS. The annuity is considered creditable income and the District is paying 8.25% on it as well.

Dr. Johnson's total income for STRS includes $170,000 salary, $12,722.82 annuity, $5,100 Doctoral Stipend, $5,700 car allowance.

Total income - $193,522.82.

STRS Payment = $15,965.63 (8.25% of total income $193,522.82)

$21,484 (Salary increase) + $5,100 (Doctoral Stipend) + $15,965.63 (STRS Payment) = $42,549.63

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Channel 5 Coverage of School Board Meeting - October 4, 2012

Upset parents and community members attended the School Board Meeting on October 4, 2012. The event was covered by Channel 5 news.

Channel 11 Coverage of School Board Meeting - October 4, 2012

Upset parents and community members attended the School Board Meeting on October 4, 2012. The event was covered by Channel 11 news.

Los Angeles Local News, Weather, and Traffic

Friday, June 22, 2012

Negotiation Highlights - June 21, 2012

GEA-GSD Negotiations
June 21, 2012

The District and Association met for 2 hours on June 21st. Les Nakasaki facilitated the meeting. Genaro Alarcon was the recorder.

The District presented a proposal to the Association. It can be found here.

The proposal called for 2 furlough days and one staff development day.

Discussion surrounded the financial rationale for the proposal. The prep period at the Intermediate Schools has been restored although the original claim that 7 teachers would be brought back if the prep was restored was altered. Four teachers are scheduled to be brought back.

Of the 32.1 teachers laid off in March, 16 will have their RIF notices rescinded.

The District also used money from “Deferred Maintenance” and “Books and Supplies” to help balance the budget. They plan to use over half a million each of the next two years from these lines to supplement the general fund. The Association has been pointing at these two lines for months as areas that were over-budgeted.

The cut to the Base Revenue Limit has also been increased at the state level.

Based on all the factors, the Association agreed in principle to the two furlough days, and one staff development day. The furlough days would be restored if funding is increased next year via passage of either ballot initiatives of other means.

Additionally, two sub-committees will be set up to discuss "Duty Hours" and "Fringe Benefits" during the summer and beyond.

The District and Association still plan to discuss many other items, but they will be discussed in due course. Our next session is set for August 3rd.

GEA membership will most likely be asked to ratify a final agreement during the summer by mail. Details will follow, once a specific language for a tentative agreement is reached.

Friday, June 1, 2012

GEA-GSD Negotiations - June 1, 2012

Negotiation Highlights
June 1, 2012

An all day session was scheduled. The meeting was facilitated by Les Nakasaki. Genaro Alarcon was the recorder.

The District countered the Associations May 21stproposal with their own. The District may or may not decide to post the proposal on their website. Recent updates have not been forthcoming.

The following areas were included in the District Proposal. Other than the salary/financial aspects, the proposals were basically unchanged from the Initial Bargaining Proposal.

·        5 Furlough days
·        1 Professional Development Day
·        Parent Conferences held over the course of a week. (Minimum days of instruction with conferences in the afternoon.
·        Removing contract language allowing unit members to leave campus after 6 hours and 45 minutes if professional responsibilities are finished. Everyone would stay until 7 hours and 10 minutes regardless of duties.
·        At least 2 early release Wednesdays a month would be facilitated by the principal. District can also take more Wednesday time as they see fit.
·        Elimination of Bilingual Stipend
·        Elimination of the Recruitment Bonus
·        Elimination of Ancillary Services retirement option
·        Elimination of post-retirement medical benefits after age 65 of $112/month towards a Medicare supplemental plan
·        Elimination of the family plan exemption in the fringe benefit language. Everyone subject to the $9500 cap
·        Presently the District pays the salary and benefits for the 40% release time afforded the GEA President. The District would no longer pay for this release time.
·        Presently the Association can request up to 40 days of Union Business Release Time. The District pays for the sub for 10 days and the Association pays for the sub for 30 days. The District would now charge the Association for all 40 days.
·        Elimination of Daily Rate of pay for laid off teachers. Laid off teachers would only receive their daily rate if they were in a long term assignment for 21 days or more in a 60 day period.
·        There was no mention in the District Plan of rescission of layoffs.

The Association asked some questions and then caucused for a couple of hours.

The Association countered.

The Association stated it was willing to discuss:

·        More furlough days than the original proposal put forth on May 21st.
·        Elimination of bilingual stipends
·        Elimination of the recruitment bonus

The Association wanted to discuss the relationship between the possible concessions and the rescinding of RIFs.

The Association wanted to revisit Professional Development Days.

The Association stated the following items would need to be dropped in order to expedite an agreement before school ends. A full discussion on these items would not be possible before the end of the school year.

·        5.9 Early Release Wednesdays
·        7.2 Ancillary Retirement
·        7.5 Retirement Medical Benefits
·        8.2 Fringe Benefits
·        11.13 Association President Release Time
·        15.5 RIF Teacher Sub Pay

The Association stated that if the aforementioned items were not dropped, they would need to get direction from the GEA Executive Board on June 7th.

The District caucused.

They returned and stated they could table 5.9 and 7.2, but the other items they could not table.

The District thereby decided that no agreement could be reached prior to the end of school.

The District stated that the rescission of RIF Notices was a management prerogative. They also stated they (The District) were not inclined to make the rescission of RIF notices part of negotiations. This was contrary to prior statements.

No agreement was reached on any of the items discussed.

A two hour meeting was scheduled for June 11th.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Negotiations cancelled

The District and Association had been scheduled to have a negotiation session on Tuesday May 29th in order to discuss the financial proposal presented by the Association to the District on May 21st.

The District cancelled the session. It has been rescheduled for June 1. The original proposal from the Association was to expire on May 31st at the conclusion of the Board of Education Meeting. It has been extended for one day, but the timing may be problematic as there are no more School Board Meetings scheduled before school ends on June 15th. Ratification would have to take place by then.

Monday, May 21, 2012

May 21, 2012 Negotiations Highlights

GEA-GSD Negotiations
May 21, 2012

        The District and Association met at 9 AM. Genaro Alarcon facilitated the session while Ken Tang was the recorder.

        The Association presented a Package Proposal. The proposal was designed to free up general funds, bring back unit members who have been laid off and address possible budgetary deficiencies in regards to state funding.

      A summary of the proposal can be found here:

      The actual proposal can be found here:

      The District took a 1 hour caucus.

      Upon the District's return, the discussion returned to calendar. The Memorandum of Understanding regarding the 2012-2013 Calendar was signed. We will link to the documents once they are posted on the District's website, or we receive a final copy.

      The District needed more time to fully analyze the Association proposal. The session ended at 11:30 AM. 

       The next session is scheduled for May 29, 2012 at noon.


May 14, 2012 - Negotiations Highlights

GEA-GSD Negotiations
May 14, 2012
    The District and Association met for about two hours. The meeting was facilitated by Ken Tang. Michael Coughlin was the recorder.
    The primary discussion surrounded calendar. A calendar agreement was reached.
    The first day of school for students will be September 4, 2012. Orientation day will be held on August 31, 2012.

     Unit members will be paid in eleven equal payments. The first at the end of August 2012 and the last in June 2012.

     The Memorandum of Understanding will be signed at the next meeting on the 21st.

     The next session is scheduled for May 21st from 9 AM to 3 PM.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

May 7, 2012 - Negotiations Highlights

GEA-GSD Negotiations
May 7, 2012

The Association and the District met for two hours.  The meeting was facilitated by Mary Suzuki and Ken Tang was the recorder.

The first order of business was salary.

The District presented three revisions to their analysis of the general fund balance. They were altered from the original in three ways. Once the District places these documents online, we will link to them here.

Version 1 – Included the savings from 8 certificated layoffs and an offset due to resource teachers being placed back in the classroom.

Version 2 – Included items in “version 1” and added savings from the elimination of prep periods at the intermediate schools.

Version 3 – Included everything above plus savings from a hard insurance cap, a 1.5% salary reduction and 2 furlough days.

The Association asked several questions about the numbers and eventually decided they would pool their questions after the meeting and send them to the District for response. The Association plans to address the new data in future sessions.

The second order of business was calendar.

The Association made a proposal agreeing to the calendar presented by the District at the last meeting. (

Below is an excerpt from the District’s summary of the last meeting on April 27th.
“After taking a caucus, the District repeated its preference for a September 4 teacher orientation date. Alternatively, if GEA was going to insist that the District’s Business Services Office spend the time to cover an 11th pay period, the calendar might as well be configured to be as close to Alhambra Unified School District’s calendar as possible, meaning a school start date of August 27 with teacher orientation occurring on August 24. GEA team members objected stating that it was too late in the year to shorten the summer by one week, among other things. The District agreed about the lateness in setting the 20122013 calendar and that is why the District prefers the traditional option of starting school and having teacher orientation occur after Labor Day.

GEA stated that since the District had not previously presented a school start date of September 5 as an option, its bargaining team needed to consult and consider the matter. The parties tabled further discussion of the matter until the next bargaining session.”

The Association agreed to the September 5thstart date (orientation day on the 4th), as well as lining up the winter and spring breaks, yet the District refused to agree to the calendar they had proposed and repeatedly pointed to as their first choice. The District stated they had just completed a phone survey of parents and were not ready to agree to a calendar. The Association voiced its displeasure of agreeing to two different calendars proposed by the District, during two separate bargaining sessions, just to have the District renege on their own proposals.

The third agenda item was staff development. 

The Association presented questions ( regarding the use of funds for staff development on April 16th. As of the meeting on the May 7th, no written response had been received from the District.

Mary Suzuki made an oral presentation regarding the questions and shared her plan to send the information already gathered to GEA. She also shared that some of the questions would take more time to research and she would get that information out to GEA as soon as it was compiled.

The final item for discussion was duty hours.

The Association presented a proposal regarding early dismissal after 4 rainy days. (

Presently when a rainy day schedule is called, teachers give up 15 minutes of their duty-free uninterrupted lunch and provide 15 extra minutes of instruction to students. If 4 rainy days occur, the staff and administration from the school choose a day in which the students go home an hour early since they received an extra hour of instruction already. Teachers do not get to go home early.

GEA proposed that teachers may also go home an hour early on the days students go home early since they gave up duty free time when they could have been off campus. 

The District took it under advisement.

The next session is scheduled for May 14th.


Monday, May 7, 2012

No Confidence

The membership of the Garvey Education Association voted "No Confidence" in Garvey School District Superintendent, Dr. Sandra Johnson last week.

Ninety-six percent of the teachers support the "No Confidence" Resolution.

Monday, April 30, 2012

April 27, 2012 - Negotiations Highlights

GEA - GSD Negotiations
April 27, 2012

 The meeting began around 3:15 PM. Les Nakasaki facilitated the meeting for the Association. Michael Coughlin was the recorder for the District.

The session began with a continued discussion of calendar. The District reported that beginning the calendar in August would present difficulties in regards to payroll and payments to STRS. They proposed calendars beginning (Orientation) on August 24th, August 31st and September 4th. They also discussed pros and cons from the District perspective surrounding these calendars.

After a caucus, the Association stated they could agree to an August 31st start date, with unit members being paid for their one work day in August in a separate check. The remainder of the 182 day calendar would be split among 10 equal payments.

The District caucused and came back with a recommendation to begin the school year with orientation day on September 4th or August 24th. Their preference was to begin on September 4th in order to avoid having to spend the man hours necessary to create new payroll schedules based on teachers working during 11 calendar months. The Association agreed to do informal polling before the next session, but wasn't sure if they could do a formal poll prior to the next session. Discussion of Calendar was then tabled.

The discussion then moved to future bargaining dates. The following dates were agreed to.

  • May 7 - 3-5PM
  • May 14 - 3-5 PM
  • May 21 - 9AM-3PM
  • June 1 - 3-5PM
Salary was the next order of business. The Association countered the prior documents from the District with two pages. These pages had been prepared for the prior session on April 16th, but were nor presented at that time due to extended discussion regarding calendar. They can be found at the following links. (Narrative, Spreadsheet)

The Association explained their position that until RIFs are rescinded, they should be included in budget discussions. The Association also stated that since cuts are based on a two year projection, the effects of RIFs must be looked at over two years as well. Prior documents from the District only looked at a one year effect.

There was a discussion regarding the prep periods at the intermediate schools. The District stated they did not want to cut the prep periods, but the $529,000 in savings would have to be found elsewhere. The District mentioned the concept of contingency language in regards to certain RIFs, but did not propose and specific language.

The District also came back with some preliminary amended calculations regarding cuts and salary based on the paperwork presented by the Association. They stated they would present a more formal presentation of the amended numbers at the next session.

Before ending the session, the Association asked whether the District was ready to respond to the staff development questions (found here) from the last session. The District responded that Mary Suzuki would email the response to our questions prior to the next session.

The meeting ended at approximately 7 PM.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Contentious School Board Meeting

Emotions ran a bit hot at the last School Board Meeting on the 19th. The meeting was held at Bitely School to accommodate the large crowd.

The San Gabriel Valley Tribune ran an article about the meeting. It can be found at the following link.

There are some inaccuracies, but you get the idea.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

April 16, 2012 - Negotiation Highlights

GEA - GSD Negotiations
April 16, 2012

The sessions was facilitated by Genaro Alarcon for the District. Ken Tang was the recorder from the Association.

The Association began with an insight regarding communications. The District agreed on April 3rd that it would "post negotiation documents separate from its own summary of the bargaining session." As of April 16th, the District had not yet segregated the two types of documents on their website. The Association pointed this out, and the District agreed it would work to make the distinction on its website.

The District distributed three calendars for the 2012-13 school year. The majority of the session was spent discussing these calendar options. The three calendars have starting Orientation days of August 17, 2012, August 24, 2012 and August 31, 2012. Highlights of the discussion are presented below.

  • It was noted by the Association that one of the calenders (beginning 8/17) was different than what had agreed upon at the previous bargaining session. The District explained that starting on the 27th of August would be problematic because payroll is due to LA County on that date. They would not know who actually reported to work prior to having to submit payroll to the county.
  • Another consideration was the August start date. Even with the calendar beginning on the 31st of August, there may be issues caused by rule changes and enforcement by STRS. Michael Coughlin said he would discuss the matter on April 17th with the appropriate parties, because he would be attending a meeting with STRS representatives that day.
  • Issues regarding the late notice to all stakeholders for a drastically changed 2012-2013 calendar were discussed. This led to discussions about looking at the calendar for the next two years instead of just one.
  • The District plans to survey parents in regards to their preferences about calendar options. There was a lengthy discussion about the type of survey questions, as well as how the survey would be done in relation to validity and reliability. The District agreed it would allow the Association to give input on the survey. The District would consider this input before going forward with the survey. The survey will take place soon, and use statistical randomization tables in order to ensure a useful outcome.
  • The time line for implementation of a calendar will be dependent upon the time needed to create, conduct and analyze the parent survey.
The Association presented a set of questions regarding staff development spending during this school year as well as projections for the next two years. The questions can be found here. These questions and answers will be used in the next session to discuss staff development.

The next session is scheduled for April 27, 2012.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

April 2, 2012 Highlights

GEA - GSD Negotiations
April 2, 2012

Gloria Lopez served as facilitator until she had to leave. Pat Molina took over as facilitator at that time. Robin Libby served as the recorder.

The District stated they would be unable to offer an early retirement incentive this year. They explored many options, but concluded none were feasible this year. The District expressed its deep regret in being unable to offer an incentive this year.

The District stated it would post negotiation documents separate from its summary of bargaining sessions and other items not expressly part of the formal negotiation sessions. The District also agreed to place a link on its website which would point to GEA's posting of negotiation summaries.

Calendar for the upcoming school year was discussed at length. In the end it was decided that the District would provide 3 calendars to GEA. These calendars would have starting Orientation Day dates of August 24th, 27th and 31st. Information would also be forthcoming regarding the distribution of paychecks, since these calendars would have GEA members working during 11 calendar months. Once the calendars were given to GEA, a survey would be conducted among unit members as to their preference.

There was a discussion regarding GEA's rights in regards to political activity. A decision was made to have the counsel from GEA contact the counsel from GSD to try and agree on the legal rights of the Association. This hastened timeline is necessitated by the political work being done surrounding the Governor's budget proposition.

Future bargaining dates include April 16, 2012 and April 27, 2012.

March 30, 2012 Highlights

GEA – GSD Negotiation Highlights
March 30, 2012

Genaro Alarcon served as facilitator and Cathie Camacho served as recorder.

GEA followed up on its desire to post its own statement concerning negotiations on the District's website. The District stated that since it was not responsible for the content of GEA's statements, they could not post any statements from GEA on their website. GEA could post their commentary on their own site.

GEA asked whether the parties would be engaging in interest based bargaining since it is in fact the policy of the school board. The District responded we could continue the practice of interest based bargaining. GEA then stated that interest based bargaining usually means information remains confidential until communicated jointly. The District responded that the District has an interest in transparency so they felt placing information regarding bargaining on the District website was appropriate. They also stated they had no intention of removing the information from the website. 

GEA requested that the District make a distinction on its website between items formally presented at the table and opinion pieces such as the "Letter to Parents" and the "Negotiation Summaries." The District thought this would be possible but would have to verify with the Superintendent.

The issue of communication was to be taken up again at the next session.

The District responded to GEA in regards to the effects of certificated layoffs. (available here)

The District proposed a calendar which had students beginning on August 20, 2012. Teachers would report on August 17th for Orientation Day. The calendar lines up with the Alhambra School District Calendar. A link to the calendar is not available at this time.

The next session was set for April 2, 2012.

200 at the last Board Meeting

Over 200 people attended the last School Board Meeting on  March 29th. Many were protesting Superintendent Johnson and the School Board's decision to remove Principal Collaso from Willard School.

Mrs. Collaso has worked closely with teachers and parents to help raise test scores and win a Title 1 AA Award in 2011.

The next meeting will be on April 19th at 6:30 PM.

The Truth About Garvey

A blogger simply named Garvey Teacher has been writing about the situation we all find ourselves in here at the Garvey School District. The blog is called "The Truth About Garvey." Two of the blog entries are especially pertinent here.

The first is entitled "Collaboration is Dead." It speaks about the Garvey School District Local Educational Agency Plan.

The second is entitled "The Budget Committee."

To read the entire blog, click here.

The Illusion of Collaboration

The Leadership Team

Before Dr. Johnson’s arrival, the teachers at Garvey School District schools decided who they would like to represent them on their school site leadership team. That all changed with the arrival of Superintendent Johnson.

o       Leadership teams were slipped in during the summer.
o       The Leadership Teams are now chosen by administration and are essentially an arm of administration. They do as they are told and at some schools, teams have been chastised for leaking information to other teachers.
o       Teachers have no say as to what topics are to be discussed because they are simply carrying out the agenda of administration.
o       The leadership teams are perfect examples of the appearance of teacher input, but the bottom line is administration gets what they want, one way or another. Administration knows what their end objectives are and if the work the leadership team doesn’t fit the objective, it is thrown out. If it does fit, the team is congratulated for their hard work.

Two examples from Garvey Intermediate. 

1. Garvey teachers spent a couple of Wednesdays working on master schedule ideas at the behest or the school’s leadership team via administration. In the end, these ideas were not used and the parameters were set by administration.

2. Early in the leadership team process, Garvey teachers considered having the leadership team lead Wednesday Collaboration Sessions. The principal said it would be inappropriate for the leadership team to run the collaboration meetings because she runs the leadership team and she would therefore have to lead the Wednesday meetings. The leadership team does not exist without her.

 As hard working as all the teachers serving on leadership teams are, their function is essentially "assistant to the principal." No collaboration here, just working administration's agenda, through chosen teachers.

Parents Go Unheard

Superintendent Johnson and the School Board disregard parental and community input at Board Meetings.

In the Spring of 2011, parents attended several Board Meetings and spoke in favor of continuing the successful Honors Program at Garvey Intermediate. 

Dr. Johnson stated the School board does not get involved in curricular issues. She stated the decision would be made by the site principal, but the principal did not make the decision.

The Honors Program was cut in half at the Superintendent's direction and the School Board's full knowledge and acquiescence. 

Acquiescence is not leadership.

Unjustified Layoffs

The District has a 14.5% reserve, totaling over $6.5 million, but they have cut over 30 teachers. 

These excessive cuts must be stopped.
Despite being in a terrible financial situation at the state level, the District has managed to increase its bottom line to a 14.5% reserve. They have also laid off over 30 teachers. Declining ADA and other factors do not justify this many RIF notices. Peoples lives should not be disrupted unnecessarily. Rescind the RIFs.


Superintendent Johnson and the School Board disregarded the safety of students and employees during the windstorms and a water main break.

o       During the wind storms, two of the Garvey District schools were without power. This also meant no heat. Superintendent Johnson decided to leave these schools open. She said it was “an adventure.” Teachers and students had to navigate dark hallways and bathrooms and rooms with windows that didn’t face the sun were very dark.

o       After the first day, GEA asked the superintendent to cancel classes the following day for safety reasons. It was dangerous getting to and from school without even considering a day at school in the dark. The Alhambra police department recommended that Alhambra schools close and they did. Rosemead also closed their schools, but Garvey remained open. Again, the district made its decision without regard for others. There was power at the District Office.

o       On another day, the water main broke at Rice School. The students were sent home, but teachers had to remain on duty even though there was no running water.

March 19, 2012 Highlights

GEA – GSD Negotiation Highlights
March 19, 2012

            It was agreed that facilitation of meetings would alternate between the parties. Since Mr. Garcia facilitated the last meeting, Les Nakasaki facilitated the meeting for GEA while Genaro Alarcon was the recorder.

            Norms were agreed to. (available here)

            GEA asked for a response from the District regarding the posting of negotiation information on its website. GEA had previously asked for equal space for its proposal as well as a cover letter on the District’s website. The District stated it would post all materials exchanged at the table, but the team was not authorized to agree to posting a cover letter on the District’s Website since such a letter would not be part of negotiations. The District Team agreed to follow up with the Superintendent.

            GEA presented its initial bargaining proposal. (available here)

            GEA presented a response to the District’s salary proposal. (available here)

            Future bargaining dates are March 30th and April 2nd.

March 15, 2012

There was no bargaining session on March 15th, but there was an interesting development.

The Garvey School District posted a cover letter as well as all the documents which were distributed during the March 12th session on their website. This went against interest based bargaining tenets as understood by the Garvey Education Association. In interest based bargaining, notification to the public is done jointly unless the parties decide to waive this practice. There was no discussion about the matter. This new practice was begun without the knowledge of the parties involved.

It will be determined as to whether equal access is granted to both sides.

March 12, 2012 Highlights

GEA – GSD Negotiation Highlights
March 12, 2012

          List of Bargaining Team Members


Pat Kasababian – Bargaining Chair
Les Nakasaki
Ken Tang
Cathie Camacho
Gloria Lopez
Pat Molina (alternate)
Michael Drange – ex-officio
Terry Skotnes – GEA Executive Director


Genaro Alarcon
Michael Coughlin
Mary Suzuki
Robin Libby
Bonifacio Bonny Garcia

            Noteworthy was the inclusion of Mr. Garcia. It has been more than a decade since the District placed their attorney at the bargaining table.

            Mr. Garcia acknowledged that historically GEA and GSD had engaged in interest based bargaining. He asked how would the parties wished to proceed.

            The District had prepared a 25 page document spelling out the specific proposals from the District as well as data comparing the Garvey District with other districts.

            GEA questioned why we were immediately abandoning interest based bargaining. In interest based bargaining, both sides speak to their interests on a subject before any options are placed on the table. Distribution of the proposal from the District violated these tenets. The District did not respond directly.

            GSD presented their updated initial bargaining proposal as well as information comparing school districts. GEA declined hearing the budget presentation from the District as all members present had heard the presentation at the March 8thSchool Board Meeting.

            GEA did not make a presentation.