If Fresno Unified teachers go on strike, substitutes will get paid $500 daily, the district said Tuesday in a news release.
An emergency resolution approved by the School Board last month in preparation for a potential strike had said that subs would be paid “up to” $500 if they worked during a strike.
The district currently pays $205 a day for regular subs and $215.75 a day for long-term subs and those working at designated schools, which have longer school days, said Annarita Howell, assistant superintendent of human resources/labor relations.
The $500 rate would only be in effect on days when there is a strike,district spokeswoman A.J. Kato said.
Superintendent Bob Nelson said in the news release that the district intends to keep schools open if there is a teacher strike.
“While we continue to work toward an agreement with our teachers, our students can’t afford to lose any more learning time and we’re committed to ensuring that doesn’t happen. If a strike does become a reality, we are prepared. Our schools will remain open and safe and students will be learning,” he said.
The news release says the district is seeking “high-quality” candidates locally and statewide in advance of a potential teacher walkout and is increasing sub pay to $500 a day.
Fresno Teachers Association President Manuel Bonilla did not respond last week or this week to queries from GV Wire about the union’s next step, now that its self-imposed deadline of having a ratified contract by last Friday has passed.
At a rally in May, the union members had given consensus approval to move forward with a strike authorization vote in October if there was no ratified contract by Sept. 29. The vote has tentatively been scheduled for Oct. 18.
A union official said Tuesday that the Fresno Teachers Association does not want to strike “but will if we must.”
Fact-Finders Report Could Come This Week
District spokeswoman Nikki Henry said Tuesday that the district might receive the final report from the Public Employment Relations Board fact-finding panel on Thursday. After talks broke down, PERB assigned a three-person panel to hear from both sides and issue a report with recommendations for settling the contract.
“We’re looking forward to meeting with FTA leadership … to use the fact-finder’s report to try and come to a mutually beneficial settlement and agreement. If we’re unable to reach an agreement and the teachers’ union does decide to strike, we are well prepared to ensure our schools stay open, safe and full of learning,” Henry said in an email.
Teachers have been working without a contract since the old one expired on June 30.
Pay Increases Over 3 Years
District sources told GV Wire last month that the PERB fact-finding sessions culminated in a proposal by the state-appointed mediator to boost teacher pay by more than 20% over the contract’s three years through a combination of annual pay hikes and one-time payments. The one-time payments in the second and third year of the contract would be tied to a reduction in the district’s contribution to the healthcare fund reserves.
The sources said the district supported the mediator’s recommended proposal.
While teachers are not fully in support of some of the social justice proposals made by the teachers union, including allowing homeless families to park their cars overnight in school parking lots, many teachers apparently are prepared to go on strike over the district’s proposal to more fully tie teacher evaluations to student assessments, a veteran teacher told GV Wire on Tuesday.