School District and Teachers Association Reach Agreement on Working Conditions
Source: Santa Barbara Unified School District
Santa Barbara Teachers’ Association (SBTA) and Santa Barbara Unified School District have reached an agreement on working conditions related to the 2020/21 school year.
The ability to reach agreement so quickly is a testament to the strong relationship between union leaders and the district. Key to the negotiations was a mutual commitment to ensure health and safety for all, while also putting the needs of students first.
“I’m proud of our work, and I can attest to the fact that we kept students at the center of our negotiations, while ensuring the health and safety of our employees,” said Santa Barbara Unified lead negotiator, Dr. John Becchio, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources. “It is also important to note that at no time did either party bring forward any proposal for schools to remain closed in a distance learning model for the entire 20/21 school year, nor would Santa Barbara Unified ever agree to such terms."
We will continue to follow guidance from Santa Barbara County Public Health as we begin the school year with distance learning, and keep our commitment to returning to in-person instruction as soon as health & safety conditions permit.
The following items were agreed to:
- Teachers will have the option of teaching from their classrooms as they implement rigorous distance learning.
- Teachers agreed to repurpose a previously agreed upon March 1, 2021 non-student day and apply those hours for required professional learning prior to their August 13 return to work date. This is critically important to providing teachers time to prepare for distance learning instruction.
- Staff may be involved in some in-person services on campus, such as individualized assessments, family meetings and other one-on-one interactions as needed. All Health and safety guidelines will apply.
- All teacher evaluation protocols remain in place as normal for the 20/21 school year.
“I am pleased with how quickly we were able to reach agreement with SBTA,” said Santa Barbara Unified Superintendent Hilda Maldonado. “The Governor announced his order for distance learning on July 17, and less than two weeks later, we wrapped up negotiations with the teacher’s union. That is rare, especially under these extraordinary circumstances. Teachers agreeing to do required professional learning prior to their return date reaffirms to our community how incredibly dedicated they are and how important it is for us return to school as soon as it is safe to do so."
Santa Barbara Teachers Association President Karen McBride said she was also pleased with the outcome of negotiations.
“Myriad certificated staff have voluntarily engaged in professional learning during the summer to enhance their skills around remote teaching and participated in meetings with principals and colleagues,” McBride said. “We are pleased that our bargaining unit members will have further opportunities provided by the District to continue this professional development in the weeks leading up to the opening of the school year. We all want our students to thrive academically and personally, whatever the learning conditions. We are thankful for the cooperative process we've had with District leaders in creating agreements that are focused on the delivery of quality education while keeping our community safe. That has been our focus all along. We miss seeing our students and truly look forward to when we can all be back on campuses safely.”
Santa Barbara Unified Board President Laura Capps added: “We are all united in the strong belief that kids belong in the classroom. I hear daily from teachers who can't wait to be back at school with their students -- it's why they chose their profession. It is my wish that this shared motivation will prove to be the powerful incentive our community needs to reverse our Covid-19 infection rates. Until then, I share in the gratitude that a distance learning agreement was made so quickly, demonstrating the strong commitment from our teachers and district leadership to make this incredibly tough challenge the best it can be for students. We are all in this together.”