In The News & Achievements

News Articles

2011-2016: Raising Awareness About the Struggle of Silicon Valley Educators, Improving Our Negotiations Culture, and Improving Our Working Conditions

BACKGROUND

BRSFA President: Angela Sveda / Superintendents: Milliken, Roy, Hungerford, Orta-Camilieri / School Board Members: Koo, Velschow, Tashjian, Phan, Bhopale, (Kaul, Stulbarg, Matthews)

  • These 5 years represented a time for change in our district with four superintendents (Milliken, Roy, Hungerford, Orta-Camilieri). We also experienced the first School Board elections in over several years in 2013 with elections for Koo, Bhopale, and Velschow. The elections brought 2 women onto the School Board to improve its diversity.

IN THE NEWS

ACHIEVEMENTS

  • We successfully shifted our negotiations culture from one that always negotiated in the past, to one that is forward-looking and progressive. BRSFA, BRSSD, and the School Board all went through Harvard’s Interest-Based Bargaining training together. We settled the first, forward-looking contracts in over a decade totaling salary increases of ~17% and ~$2500 in improved support for health and welfare benefits.
  • Our chapter won the John Swett Award for Media Excellence in CA Public Education for our organizing efforts that brought attention to the struggle of Silicon Valley educators and the high cost of living.
  • Our IRC 125 Flexible Benefits Plan (that hadn’t been afforded to employees for years) was institutionalized for all employees (certificated, classified, administrative, confidential) via grievance processing to comply with contract and IRS code. This helped all employees save on child care, dependent care, additional medical services, etc.
  • Counselors and elementary music-science specialists are finally afforded tenure with support from CTA Legal.
  • Our Evaluations contract language was improved to be all-inclusive, including professional standards not only for teachers, but for our psychologists, speech-language pathologists, counselors, and nurses-RN. We also included an Alternate Evaluations Process to honor our educators to be able to expand even further in their professional public education careers.
  • Labor Law posters were institutionalized and posted visibly at every site to describe the federal and state laws governing working environments such as the Family and Medical Leave Act, Occupational Safety and Health Act, Whistleblower Protection, etc. Posters had not been up in the district for quite sometime.
  • The District English Language Learner Committee and site-level English Language Learner Committees are formed per Ed Code and to better represent English Language Learners district-wide.
  • Reading intervention courses are now available to all 6-8 graders and online reading enrichment programs are available to all elementary students.
  • Our president during this time was initially written in by her colleagues to become BRSFA President (and then annually elected from that point forward) after helping the district identify and save $650,000 in flexible monies during the Great Recession to help bring back our pink-slipped educators.

2008-2011: Buffering the Great Recession

BACKGROUND

BRSFA President: Kristin Mack / Superintendent: Orta-Camilieri / School Board Members: Kaul, Matthews, Stulbarg, Tashjian, and Velschow

  • In spring 2011, when over 20 professionals suffered pink slips in a district growing in numbers, BRSFA ensured counsel and legal representation because teachers suffered wrongful pink slips – the District went beyond what the Board allowed. The pink slips were rescinded, educators were brought back, and money was saved. And furloughs were never needed.

IN THE NEWS

ACHIEVEMENTS

  • Contract language now provided for leave to attend mandated jury duty.
  • Contract language now ensured that general educators had meetings with special needs educators prior to the start of school. These meetings were to discuss the needs of special education students.

2005-2008: Gathering Support for Our Educators

BRSFA President: George Metropolus / Superitendents: MacIntosh, Orta-Camilieri / School Board Members: Wright, Matthews, Stulbarg, Tashjian, and Parker

IN THE NEWS

ACHIEVEMENTS

Our union continued to negotiate a fair salary that would be comparable to the other high-performing districts in San Mateo County. When the district only offered 1%, leadership held strong until a Community Rally in 2006 achieved a fair increase. BRSFA coordinated a street-sign campaign to support the educators who were, at that time, the lowest paid among the highest-performing districts in San Mateo County. With community support, the 170 professionals became more competitive with their neighboring peers.