By Allison Jarrell
After more than a year of negotiations, the Capistrano Unified School District and the Capistrano Unified Education Association have still not reached a contract agreement, according to CUSD and CUEA officials.
After the third mediation session between the parties concluded on Oct. 17, the mediator announced that she would send CUSD and CUEA on to fact-finding.
Contract negotiations between CUSD and CUEA officially stalled back in June. At that time, CUSD and CUEA agreed to jointly file for impasse certification with the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB), and a mediator was assigned to help resolve the negotiations.
Since the mediator and parties were not able to reach an agreement, the process now continues to fact-finding, where a three-person panel will review the arguments and proposals and ultimately issue non-binding recommendations.
If the fact-finding process does not result in an agreement, CUSD would be able to impose its last, best and final offer, and CUEA teachers would maintain the right to strike.
In the school district’s Oct. 17 press release, Ryan Burris, CUSD’s chief communications officer, defended the district’s last two offers with statements about the “uncertainties of future state funding,” and the “very broken Local Control Funding Formula that was created in Sacramento.”
“This formula continues to severely underfund districts such as ours and does not do anything to increase funding in the future,” Burris said.
According to countywide school district salary settlement reports listed on CUEA’s website, CUSD’s teachers make roughly $4,700 less than the average teacher in Orange County.
CUEA officials said their bargaining goals have remained the same since negotiations began in August 2016—they want “permanent increases to the salary schedule,” and “a sustainable plan to mitigate the negative impact of increasing employee health and welfare contributions.”
A date has not yet been released for the upcoming fact-finding session.
For more information on the status of the negotiations, visit capousd-ca.schoolloop.com/cuea and www.cuea.org.
To view the specifics of CUSD’s two last best and final offer options, find the online version of this story at www.danapointtimes.com.