By Allison Jarrell
Contract negotiations between the Capistrano Unified School District and the Capistrano Unified Education Association have officially stalled, according to a Friday, June 30 press release from the district.
CUSD officials reported that after 16 bargaining sessions with CUEA, both parties were unable to reach an agreement on June 29. The school district’s last offer to the union was a “two-year agreement that includes a 1.5 percent ongoing salary schedule increase effective July 1, 2016, a two-year increase (for plan years 2017 and 2018) to health and welfare benefits, and a retirement incentive for 2017-2018.”
In a notice online regarding the declared impasse, teachers union officials describe the parties as “far apart economically.”
“Their health and welfare offer would only make the Kaiser HMO plan a no co-premium to our members for 2017,” union officials said of CUSD’s offer. “Their proposed salary increase would likely be negated by an increase to members’ co-premiums to health and welfare in 2018.”
According to countywide school district salary settlement reports listed on CUEA’s website, of the 27 school districts in Orange County, CUSD was the sixth highest-paying school district on average in 2012-13, but declined over the years to the 20th spot in 2016-17.
In the school district’s press release, CUSD’s offer was defended with statements about the “uncertainties of future state funding,” and the “very broken Local Control Funding Formula that was created in Sacramento.”
CUSD and CUEA agreed to jointly file for impasse certification with the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB), according to the district’s release. A mediator will likely be assigned to help resolve the negotiations, which could take up to several months.
If the mediator and parties aren’t able to reach an agreement, the process continues to fact-finding, where a panel reviews the proposals and ultimately issues 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.