Many CVHS teachers may not work at graduation this year because of a contract dispute between the teachers union and the school district. Castro Valley Teachers Association (CVTA) is filing a grievance with the Castro Valley School District over this alleged contract violation.
Each year the teachers and staff agree on and sign off on a contract that specifies what is required of them. This year, CVTA claims that the district did not include working at graduation, so teachers should not have to be required to work this event.
“The issue is they never asked teachers about it. We feel as if we are being taken advantage of,” said Ian Rodriquez, history teacher and head of the bargaining team for the CVTA.
CVTA claims that if it isn’t specifically stated in their contract, then teachers cannot be required to work at graduation, but that isn’t stopping teachers from attending or volunteering at the event on their own.
The teachers’ perspective is that they are required to do so much extra work throughout the school year that it isn’t right to make them do even more work.
After the end of class, teachers still have to do hours of lesson planning, write letters of recommendation, contact parents, and supervise school events.
CVTA believes that so much is already asked of teachers and requiring them to work graduation without the proper procedures is unfair.
“We did not want to impact students at all. Requiring teachers to do hours and hours of extra duties beyond that work day without adequate compensation is unfair to teachers and unfair to students,” said Roger Kim, president of the CVTA.
Principal Blaine Torpey emailed all staff in response to the situation a message clearly stating that it is mandatory to attend and work at graduation.
“Every adult on campus is dedicated to student achievement and a positive student experience. I am confident that the two parties can resolve this issue and come back together to support and celebrate our graduating class of 2018,” said Torpey, when asked.
After a bargaining session on April 27, the CVTA and CVUSD bargaining teams have decided to compromise by updating the contract to have teachers work graduation without having to do some of the “security guard” jobs as Rodriquez described it. However, the CVTA still needs to get the decision approved by the members of the union before they can make a concrete decision.
The issue of graduation has brought a larger issue to attention about the supposed negligence on the part of the district about multiple issues.
“We are no longer the District on a Hill that others look to,” said Kim.
The issue of the district’s annual budget decisions was brought up by Kim in his recent remarks to the school board. He claimed that the district consistently creates a budget that saves an unnecessary amount of money that could be used to improve our schools and increase teachers’ salaries.
Kim pointed out that teachers salaries have gone up fractionally compared to the amount of funding the district has received. He also pointed out that these stagnant wages have allowed all potential quality teachers to leave to work at higher paying districts.
“It’s about our students,” said Kim in his more recent remarks to the school board pointing out that this lack of ability to retain and hire good teachers is ultimately hurting the students.