President’s Message
June 2015

Greetings to all.  This presidential message will be, in effect, my last one as President of the Mountain View Teachers Association.  My feelings about stepping down as President are understandably mixed.  On the one hand, my tenure as President has been one of the most difficult in memory – with the loss of nearly one third of our membership through lay-off and early retirement, and the constant threat of possible more cuts always a looming possibility.   Yet, on the other hand, it is said that what doesn’t kill us makes us inevitably stronger, and it is my hope that we have begun to emerge from this very trying period effectively stronger and much more united in purpose.  To each of you, I say in utmost truthfulness, it has been one of my greatest honors to serve as your President.  And, perhaps most importantly, as I leave the Presidency, the future of the Association and our members is much brighter than at any other time in recent memory.

    Yet, even amid the chaos, much was accomplished.  As an Association, we led the way  in literally changing the face of the School Board – and played a major role in the election of Board President Ana Gonzales and Veronica Sifuentes as brand new board members- who, as new members, listen to our concerns, while representing the best interest of the community.  We also played, again as an Association, a significant role in the passage of Proposition 30, outperforming other chapters with far larger memberships, while serving in numerous phone-banks and engaging in countless door-to-door walks.  Prop 30, after all, is what literally put the State of California back on a sound financial footing – and made our current and positive financial status as a District possible.  And in addition to the above, we also stood up for the rights of our members, challenging the District to pay our members for last year’s Professional Development Days at the current per diem rate – as opposed to the rate for the previous year.  We also effectively ended, at a time when so many of us are grappling with the implementation of Common Core, the practice of mandatory membership on school-site committees- making them completely voluntary.  Indeed, now on many District committees and some school-site committees, our members are now being paid for their participation on time-sheets - rather than on a point system. 

    And, after months of negotiation (thirteen bargaining sessions in total), we are pleased to announce that we have reached a Tentative Agreement with the District.  Now, there are several MOU’s and related Calendar items associated with this agreement, and for any member who may be interested, please see the District email announcing the Agreement or see the copies of the Agreement displayed at the school sites. For our purpose here, I wish to discuss the issue of most importance to our members: the increase in compensation.   The Tentative Agreement stipulates a 4% increase in salary for 2014-15, retroactive to 7-1-14.  And for 2015 16, it calls for an increase of 4% in salary effective 7-1-15.  In addition, it increases the annual District contribution for Health and Welfare Benefits by .5%, effective 7-1-15.   By the time of the publication of this article, we will have already, as an Association, voted on the ratification of the Tentative Agreement.  It will then be submitted to LACOE, and ultimately to the School Board for final approval- possibly by the end of this month.   Upon approval, it will be sent to LACOE for processing- a process that may take several weeks to complete at best.  And so, to all members, although a retro-check is assured, it is impossible at this time to give a tentative date for its arrival – and to do so now would be mere conjecture at this point.

    But the significance of this Agreement is timely and important.  The Mountain View School District has been unable to give an increase in salary since 2007- a span of eight years – and the fact that it could do so now indicates that the financial situation has notably changed for the better.  In addition, it is my sincere hope that this Agreement will signify an overall greater sense of mutual collaboration and cooperation between the District and the Association in the months and years to come.

     So, as I write these closing thoughts, I believe that I will be leaving the Association in good hands, with Laura Gaber as incoming President.  I have known her for many years, and I know that she is dedicated, committed, and believes in our members.  Laura has my complete support.

    Again, thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve as your President.  To all, I wish the very best.     

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