We would like to take a moment to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving. We hope you are able to relax and enjoy this time with family and friends. We are thankful to work with such exemplary colleagues, and we appreciate your continued support and commitment to what is right for our students. Have a great break!
Recently, many CAVA staff members signed onto a letter (see below) asking our administration for the opportunity to discuss some areas of concern. The letter was an attempt to summarize many different concerns of staff into one document—not an easy feat. We are impressed by the staff members who signed onto this letter, and by the support expressed by others who were too afraid to sign. It is clear that CAVA teachers are committed to making our school a better place for students to learn and teachers to teach. We are hopeful that more communication such as this letter will lead to a culture of open collaboration, and erode away the culture of fear that currently exists. Unfortunately, CAVA administration has not yet formally responded to our concerns. Though we are not surprised by their silence, we still hope that CAVA administration will address the important issues we raised. But we are not waiting for their answer. Instead, we will continue to work to expose problems and find solutions in order to improve CAVA.
Our school’s teacher turnover rate is at an all-time high. It seems every week we learn of multiple teachers who have decided to step away from their jobs at CAVA. This means our school must hire new teachers, and in certain job categories, this is no easy task. Losing teachers mid-year negatively impacts our students as they lose the support and relationships they have developed. Often when a replacement isn’t readily found, others need to take on extra students when they already have a very full class load. This again leads to a lack of support for our students.
Additionally, many people have noticed there are new monthly rates of pay attached to the multiple CAVA job openings currently posted on EdJoin.org. It looks like our employer is finding it necessary to raise starting pay in order to attract applicants. Should increases be used to keep current teachers as well?
Salary Issues Increasingly Common
It has come to our attention that many teachers have not actually received the pay raises they were promised for this current school year. Here is an invitation for you to conduct a self-audit in an effort to discover and correct any errors you might find. You should log in to your Insperity account and view your pay stubs. Compare what you find there to the salary you see on your employment agreement for the current year. You should also check the salary schedule which has been posted on SharePoint and also on our website.
Make sure everything looks right and makes sense to you. You might choose to compare your current rate of pay with those currently posted on EdJoin.org for prospective new hires. At the beginning of this school year, some teachers received notice of an unexpected raise. We believe this was because some new hires started at a higher rate of pay than these continuing teachers. We are wondering if the current wave of mid-semester new-hires might also be coming to CAVA getting paid more to start than some of our teachers who have been around a few months or even a few years.
If you discover something you believe is an error or gives you cause for concern, you should contact CAVA’s HR department via a kind, polite, professionally worded e-mail addressing the issue. If you are at all dissatisfied with this process or what you discover, or if you find something notable and want to share, please contact your union organizing committee at email@example.com.
Check your Credential Expiration Date
After close of business on Thursday, November 6, an e-mail went out to CAVA teachers from the Human Resources department letting us know that it is the responsibility of each CAVA teacher to ensure credentials remain current with the CTC. The attachment includes a credential expiration policy, which places a teacher on unpaid administrative leave if the teacher allows a credential to expire. This policy document was to be signed and returned to HR by close of business, Friday, November 7. We have been made aware of at least one case of a teacher being placed on this unpaid leave beginning on the very same day this notice was sent out. This is alarming. CAVA has a Credential Specialist as part of our clerical staff, but apparently keeping up on credential expiration dates and sending reminders out to teachers is not part of the job tasks currently handled in this department.
Please take a moment now, if you have not already done so, and visit the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing at http://www.ctc.ca.gov. (Use a browser other than Safari to do this.) Click the “Search for an Educator” button, then click “Public Search.” This is a quick and easy way to look up the credentials of any teacher in our state. You will be able to see your expiration dates here. Make a plan to make sure you renew your credential at the appropriate time – Mark your calendar or set a reminder on your phone.
As always, if you experience anything that doesn’t seem right pertaining to the issue of credential expiration & renewal, surprise unpaid administrative leave, or anything else of note, please notify your union organizing committee at firstname.lastname@example.org so we are aware and can work on addressing these issues.
Also: Got Your TB Test?
Teachers are required to maintain a current TB test on file. If you are unsure about the date your TB test expires, check with human resources.
We have good news to report. Thursday was an important step forward in the establishment of a teachers’ union at our school. Four members of our organizing committee, along with our CTA lawyer and organizer, held a settlement conference at the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) office in Glendale on Thursday, November 6th. PERB’s Senior Regional Attorney convened the meeting. Our team met with CAVA’s Head of Schools Katrina Abston and CAVA’s lawyer. We came to the meeting in the spirit of collaboration and hoped to find some common ground to expedite the process so we can work together with CAVA through collective bargaining to address the many problems at our school.
Not surprisingly, CAVA administration wasn’t prepared to work with us and no settlement was reached. Though a bit disappointed, we were not surprised by the behavior of our HOS and her lawyer. For those interested in the details a review of CAVA administration’s initial Denial of Recognition document will shed some light on their delay tactics.
The good news is that we will now head toward the next step in the process: an official settlement hearing. In the hearing a PERB official will listen to both sides and make a decision about our case. We are confident in our position. This will likely be scheduled for shortly after the holidays. We believe our employer should respect our colleagues’ democratic decision to unionize. Though we are disappointed they have not done that so far, with the hearing imminent, we know their irresponsible delay tactics will soon come to end.