BUSD Labor Negotiations Need Resolution

[AN OPEN LETTER TO THE BERKELEY SCHOOL BOARD]
8 May 2013
School Board Directors
Berkeley Unified School District
2020 Bonar St.
Berkeley, CA 94702

Dear Board Members:

BUSD Labor Negotiations Need Resolution.

As an active leader in the Berkeley PTA, the largest association representing families in the BUSD community, I am troubled by the slow progress of negotiations between BUSD and the unions representing our teachers, support staff who keep things working, school administrators, and all the others who contribute to the development of our children. I believe that both sides are working toward a fair contract which addresses the teachers and other employees concerns, keeping BUSD sustainable. However, long-running negotiations cause an uncertainty and make planning for the future difficult at a time when the District is taking on new leadership.

For the first time in over five years the finances for BUSD are moving up rather than down. During this period, the unions, led by BFT, have done their part to help get the district through the worst periods, something I know the board has recognized. Until the labor issues are settled, the Board cannot really address other issues, including Cooking and Gardening, achievement gap issues, and other programs that need funding. Negotiations need to be completed so that BUSD will be ready for a future. Serious planning cannot be carried out until you settle what is the biggest, and most important, expense for the district.

I encourage the board to make the successful settlement of these negotiations the highest priority. This is a time when BUSD is ready for a promising future - return to relatively healthy finances and a new superintendent. Resolution of these contracts are needed soon to provide more certainty to this future.

Thank you for all you do for our children and our community.

Sincerely,

Tom Killilea / President, Berkeley PTA Council