After a lot of recent attention, it seems to have grown awfully quiet this month in the Adams 12 school district. Two of four scheduled negotiation sessions with teachers union officials already have taken place, but beyond that it’s left to the open-ended curiosity of a perpetually precocious 5-year-old to try to guess what’s taking place. If the Colorado Education Association (CEA) mother ship had let the District Twelve Educators Association (DTEA) accept the board’s offer of open negotiations, we might have more than a clue.
Still, we could take a stab at what the respective sides might be fighting hard for behind closed doors. An April 19 DTEA memo set forth the topics proposed for discussion. Kept out of the (properly hygienic, smoke-free) back rooms, I can only wonder what sort of progress might have been made in the direction of cutting back or ending tax-funded union release time, or the board’s general push toward greater fiscal responsibility.
On the other hand, union leaders want to undo the 1.5% shift in teacher pay to cover their guaranteed retirement benefits (aka PERA), even if they can’t explain how that will be accomplished without asking more of parents and/or having to lay off some teachers. Interestingly, though, the DTEA memo listed as the last point under their proposals: “Extending the contract to 2018.” In an email soliciting their members to provide bargaining input on an online survey, DTEA leaders also noted:
As you take the survey, know that our team already has the contract extension as our top priority. That’s why it’s not on the survey and why we didn’t ask you about it.