Thursday Jun 26 2008
Rocklin teachers’ union, district continue mediation
By: Michael Althouse, The Placer Herald
Springview coaches resign in protest
Although the Rocklin Unified School District and the Rocklin Teachers Professional Association have not yet reached an agreement on a new labor contract, the bargaining process is continuing. The RUSD board formally rejected a counterproposal that called for teachers to get a raise this year and was presented by the RTPA on June 18. The rejection allows for the next step in the negotiations process to take place. A non-binding “fact-finding” evaluation will be conducted by a hearing officer from the state teamed up with a representative from the district and the California Teachers Association. However, the two sides agreed to meet again in mediation on June 25 to see if an agreement can be reached. The impasse has spawned the resignation of the athletic coaches at Springview Middle School. According to RUSD Superintendent Kevin Brown, the district received a letter from the coaches indicating that due to the current lack of a contract, they will not be coaching in the coming school year. Brown said the district responded by accepting the resignations, but gave the coaches until June 30 to rescind their resignation, indicating that so far two have done so. “We were very dismayed that they would use the student athletes as leverage. It’s unfair. As far as I’m concerned, this is a rouge move,” Brown said, adding that it is isolated to the coaches at Springview and does not appear to be a union sanctioned move. Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Dave Pope said the additional pay for coaching is $800 to $1,500 per year. “They’re not doing it for the money,” he said. “We’re extending a grace period to June 30 for them to reconsider.” RTPA lead negotiator Joe McClean, who is also a teacher and coach at Springview, said the district misinterpreted the coaches’ letter to the district. “The intent was to let the district know that based on the fact that there isn’t a contract in place – and projecting forward – we would not be able to continue coaching,” McClean said. “Nobody coaches for the pay, but you’re doing a lot of extra and the district doesn’t recognize that we are working without a contract.” McClean explained that the letter was not meant to be a formal resignation, adding that the coaching positions don’t require a resignation – a coach can simply quit. “We could put them in a bad spot if we decided to wait until three weeks before, but we wanted to give them notice,” McClean said. “They’re trying to play hardball. The next step is that the teachers will work to their contract hours – nothing extra.” RTPA President Mary Dick said the action of the coaches at Springview is teacher initiated. “The RTPA did not initiate it, but we understand and support them,” she said. Both McClean and Dick are hopeful that a resolution will come out of the June 25 mediation. “We are open to try to resolve this,” Dick said. “If we can avoid fact-finding that would be great, rather than have this hanging over our head when school starts.” “I’m hoping something positive will come out of the next mediation. It’s been 16 sessions – since a year ago last May. It’s been very frustrating,” she said.