LAUSD/UTLA Concerns and Information on BD 5 Elections

Hello Highlands Council members,

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season!

Our next Highlands Council meeting will be held on Monday January 14, 2019 at the Sotomayor Learning Center’s parent center from 4:00pm to 5:30pm. It is important for you to have representation and voice any concerns you may have, and how, we as a council may help, at these meetings.

One of the biggest concerns parents have at this moment is the looming teachers strike currently scheduled to start on Thursday January 10 if an agreement cannot be reached with LAUSD. Many people have asked what the stance of the PTA should be and hopefully this information helps clear up any confusion. According the the PTA toolkit under the topic of collective bargaining, the PTA MUST REMAIN NEUTRAL.

Under the California PTA stance, all PTA’s must remain neutral when the union and the district are engaged in the collective bargaining process, even though we are a Parent, Teacher Association. The California State PTA Toolkit specifically addresses the issue of Collective Bargaining and the different actions that the PTA may take in compliance with California State policies regarding Collective Bargaining.

That said, it is not advisable for the teacher or UTLA representative alone to speak at the association meeting for to following reasons:

  1. This may jeopardize the PTA’s neutrality position.
  2. The PTA has a responsibility to become knowledgeable and to inform the public about proposed contracts, and there are steps that must be taken to fulfill this responsibility.
  3. Under the Education Employment Relations Act (EERA), there is a provision for the public to have access to the collective bargaining clause.  Called the “sunshine” clause, it mandates that all initial proposals of any contract negotiations between employee group and the school district shall be presented at a public meeting of the board of education and that a reasonable time shall elapse to allow for public input before negotiations start.
  4. The PTA Council or Tenth District is encouraged to hold an informational meeting that has representatives from the Teacher’s Union and the school district, and both groups must be represented in order to have this meeting.

Therefore, any information involving ongoing collective bargaining shall come from the board of education through a public meeting, or a meeting that includes both sides, so that all pertinent information are addressed and the PTA must be able to ask “WHAT WILL BE THE EFFECT ON ALL CHILDREN”.

From the California State PTA:

Public School Employer-Employee Negotiations

“The PTA has a responsibility to:

  • Study and become informed early in the process about the proposed contracts and the fiscal implications and to analyze the effect on the students and the programs in the district;
  • Inform all parties if any issue being negotiated either is consistent with or differs with adopted California State PTA position statements;
  • Encourage all parties to work cooperatively to develop procedures to ensure that classrooms and students are not used for propaganda purposes;
  • Remain neutral in the event of a dispute††;
  • Continue with normal PTA activities in the event of a dispute; and
  • Inform parents and community members about proposed contracts and encourage other school-based and community organizations to study proposed contracts.

(The above statement is a policy of the PTA as an organization, and is in no way intended as an infringement on the activities of its members acting as individuals.)
† Scope of bargaining – The law defines “scope,” as a broad range of issues and subjects that either party may or may not introduce for negotiation. Scope is a crucial, dynamic, and frequently litigated area.
†† Dispute – a verbal controversy, a controversy, a debate, or quarrel on any issue under discussion.”

Please come to the January 14 Highlands Council meeting to hear about what parents can do during this time as well as hear about information of the upcoming special election for electing a representative for Board District 5. Again, it is important for at least one officer from your PTA unit attend.

Thank you!
Take Tada
Highlands Council PTA