San Diego educators say they're hopeful they'll be able to throw away their pink slips and head back to the classroom. Teacher Allison Paredes, teachers union rep Bill Freeman and SDUSD Board Vice President Scott Barnett discuss the tentative deal with NBC 7s Danya Bacchus.
A tentative agreement has been reached between San Diego’s teacher’s union and the San Diego Unified School District.
"This is the first piece of really good news I've received in the last couple of months,” said third grade teacher Allison Paredes.
The proposed agreement promises that more than 1,400 laid-off members' layoff notices will be recalled if it is ratified, and all teachers' salary increases will be deferred until more funding becomes available.
"Once again we are stepping up to the plate. We are opening up our pockets for the sake of our kids,” said SDEA President Bill Freeman.
Members of the union will now vote on whether to ratify the tentative agreement.
The details of the agreement were explained in a letter first obtained by NBC 7 San Diego.
"After bargaining late into the night on Monday, the SDEA and SDUSD bargaining teams reached a tentative agreement this morning [Tuesday] that stops layoffs, maintains class sizes and protects our contract from expiring in what is projected to be SDUSD’s worst budget year, 2013," read a letter from the SDEA board and bargaining team obtained by NBC 7 San Diego.
The agreement highlights the importance of passing of Gov. Jerry Brown's November tax initiative. If the measure fails, the district will likely add more furlough days to the school year. There are currently five furlough days in the district's school year.
"It's not good for kids and it's unfortunate that the only options that have been presented is either you lay off 1500 people or you have these furlough days,” said Scott Barnett, VP San Diego Unified School District Board of Education.
The union began negotiations with the district on June 11, about three weeks after the district voted to approve final layoff notices for more than 1,500 teachers, nurses and counselors.
Both sides say they want to get a deal done sooner rather than later so teachers on hold about their futures can move forward.
The district has been hoping for such an agreement for months now. Since the budget crisis began, district trustees say schools are cut to the bone, and the only way now to have a balanced budget and to close a $122 million deficit was to lay off teachers.
The union hopes to recall the layoff notices by June 30, according to a letter posted on their website. Polls will open Saturday for union members to vote and remain open until the following Tuesday.