Fresno has the third lowest minimum salary offered to teachers in the State and the Fresno Teachers Association (FTA) is trying to change that. The FTA’s mission is to protect and promote the wellbeing of its members and to improve the conditions of teaching and learning in the city of Fresno. Currently, they are involved in negotiations with Fresno Unified School District (FUSD) that may lead to Fresno’s first teacher strike in 40 years.
The FTA is proposing: smaller class sizes with a cap size for every grade, elimination of combo classes, elimination of 54 hours of AC’s, wage increases that are at least equal to the percentage before the recession, a better healthcare plan, teacher autonomy, social and emotional support that address the needs of all students, an improved special education programs, more tutoring/field trips/CTE for students, opening schools as community park space and extended library hours
So far FUSD has what the FTA are calling unsatisfactory counter proposals such as: a 3.5% ongoing salary increase, some health benefit enhancements and class size reductions.
According the the FTA, FUSD has been vague in their proposals. They have not stated specific class size caps, meaning they could simply reduce classes by one student. They also have not acknowledged safety and discipline, meeting hours, teacher autonomy, special education, or anything of the FTA’s other demands.
At the moment, FUSD v FTA is in the fact-finding stage of the conflict. A panel will issue a report with recommended terms of settlement, but the parties do not have to agree to it. If a compromise is not met, FUSD can impose its best and final proposal and the FTA can legally hold a strike.
The FTA has already voted for a strike and FUSD has stated that they are willing to pay subs $500 a day to cover the classes.