The Fallbrook Union Elementary School District (FUESD) has recently entered into negotiations with the California School Employees Association (CSEA), Chapter 307, on the topic of preschool issues. The association and the district have begun discussions on revising evaluation forms and modifying the evaluation process, in addition to ongoing efforts for professional development.
In part, there will now be four rating categories for evaluations: exceeds expectations; meets expectations; inconsistent performance; and needs improvement. Corresponding definitions were included for each rating category. In addition, there will be an opportunity to meet for an evaluation conference to review the evaluation.
According to Dennis Bixler, assistant superintendent of human resources, some of the key topics discussed with the classified association have also been the incorporation of playground supervisors into the bargaining group and improving the evaluation process.
“Playground supervisors were not members of the CSEA bargaining unit previously,” said Bixler. “Recent changes in the education code now allow for inclusion of the playground supervisors in the bargaining unit. The district and CSEA have agreed to specific contractual terms, which will apply to the playground supervisors.”
The negotiations include proposals in relation to extending contract protections to playground supervisors, with the district providing for sick leave, bereavement leave, specified salary, and more than 10 additional articles within the current contract with the CSEA.
The association has also asked for an opportunity to open negotiations relating to preparation time and professional development.
Some of the key topics of negotiations with the teachers have been related to time for preparation and professional development. The association and the district share an interest to having well-prepared teachers working with students, and according to a negotiations newsletter released by the district, the district has proposed duty-free recess time for the teachers.
According to the newsletter, the district has proposed to explore “the feasibility of built in prep time for elementary teachers through the development of an elementary PE program provided to all K-6 students.”
An additional benefit to the students would be additional physical education time while the teachers have “approximately two hundred minutes of preparation time every two weeks.”
The district and the association are also in talks regarding the development of a revised evaluation system based on current research and best practices in teacher evaluations.
“The evaluation process and forms utilized for both certificated employees and classified staff needed to be updated,” said Bixler.
According to Bixler, the process for certificated evaluations is under the review of a subcommittee that has been working to develop evaluation systems and processes that continually grow principals and teachers by designing evaluation systems that are more meaningful and are aligned to district goals and stay within the parameters of the education code.
Discussions with both bargaining groups related to salary and benefits have been purposefully delayed in order to garner information related to the budget in light of the state’s new funding paradigm for education.
The next sessions for negotiations will be held on Jan. 29 and Feb. 5, after the release of the governor’s budget for 2014-2015.