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MHFT Newsletter -- November 2, 2016

School Board Election

If you have been to a school board meeting recently, you know that the board meetings have focused more on conflict than on community input and productive discourse about public education. The board often spends more time approving the agenda and minutes than on discussion and questions regarding action items that affect our students and our members. We need to have a board that will work together for our students and our members.

It is our responsibility to make sure that voters know that our candidates, Angelica Diaz (Area 5) and Albert Beltran (Area 6), understand education and will help focus the board back to our primary goal, providing a high quality public education to all students.  

We need your help to make sure that our candidates are elected. The good news is that you have two more opportunities to provide it!

Phone Banking
Thursday, November 3
4pm - 7:30pm

Precinct Walking
Saturday, November 5
10am - 1pm

It is not hard to do these things. When phone banking, you are provided with a script. Phone bankers have had positive feedback from voters,   who do want to know what we think about the board elections.  This community supports public school teachers.
Precinct walkers go out in pairs, and can talk to likely voters. You can get your steps in, AND help improve our school board, AND have a good time walking with a friend and colleague!

Please contact the Federation office or your Building Rep to RSVP.

Labor Endorsements

Please see the end of this newsletter for a full list of labor endorsements for this election.

Sub Shortage

It is important that you call in for a sub as soon as you know one will be needed.  Secondary teachers should make sure that they log every time they sub for a colleague.  Elementary teachers should speak to their principals about completing a timesheet. There is some compensation for covering for a colleague when there is no substitute, even if you are taking their students into your class.

If you are going to a training and find by 3pm the day prior that you do not have a sub, you can elect to cancel the sub and go into the classroom.  The District asks that you notify your principal and the trainers if you are not going to a training due to the lack of a sub.

ELA/ELD Adoption

Elementary and Secondary teachers have been listening to presentations from vendors.  Their meeting on November 10 will determine the next steps in the process.  

Negotiations Update

A letter from MHFT President Gemma Abels

Dear MHFT Members:

Before we began Negotiations, I informed the Superintendent that MHFT was willing to continue bargaining through the summer if we did not feel we had fairly and completely discussed all of the articles we opened (Federation Rights, Compensation, Hours of Employment, Leaves, Class Size, Pre-School Teachers, Teacher Support, TK-K Side Letter and the 6th Grade Configuration Side Letter). The Superintendent expressed concerns about not settling before the end of the school year and the number of articles that were opened. However, we felt that we could better represent you if we did not have a June deadline.

It took most of the summer to settle on a TK-K Side Letter that maintains the one hour of support needed for small group instruction in these classes.  The TK-K Class Size remains 32 in the contract, although this year no classroom has more than 27 students. The 6th Grade Configuration Side Letter and the Teacher Support article were easier to agree upon.

The goal in Class Size was to make sure that all members see themselves (and their positions) in this article. We have generated several options regarding TK-3, SPED, and Speech Pathologist Case Load. If we can settle on Class Size now, the District will have ample time to plan for staffing for the 2017-2018 school year.

Hours of Employment encompasses many aspects of our working conditions which we are interested in improving. Elementary teacher leadership and Athletic Director are particular issues we would like to improve. We also  have two 2019-2020 calendars to consider.

We will address a new law that increases the amount of sick leave new parents can use to 12 weeks. We would also like to improve the language around Military Leave and Personal Necessity. In addition, we would like to add language about partial leaves (those who teach less than 1.0 FTE) and add some language about the TOSA position.


The District has improved their offer from 8% over two years to 9% over two years.  However, considering the information below and the fact that LCFF is a fairly stable funding source, we do not agree with the Superintendent’s recent statement that this offer “demonstrates a commitment to enhancing employee compensation as a top priority.”

The spreadsheet below looks at the district’s budget over the past 5 years.

The District’s first offer (8% over two years) was based on their Estimated Actuals and the  assumption that they would be deficit spending in 2015-2016.  Because we continued negotiations into October, we were able to see the Unaudited Actuals which showed that the District increased the reserve instead of spending it down last school year.  

The MHFT Negotiations Team has put several options forward.  These options all include at least a 10% on-the-salary-schedule raise over two years, with additional money off the salary schedule (not continuing past a year).  At our last meeting, we informed the District that any off-the-salary-schedule compensation could be given as a lump sum with no STRS attached to it.  We also presented the District Team with language that could be added to the LCAP to legitimize the use of Supplemental Funds for teacher salaries (without adding minutes to the school day).

The MHFT Team has suspended Negotiations until the District finds a way to move forward from their present offer.  We believe that our actions have pressured the District to be more transparent with their budget, to make a concerted effort to reduce the reserve, and to improve their offer.  
We must continue our efforts and STAND TOGETHER.  

We understand your growing frustration at the length of this process.  However, we believe that continued pressure from MHFT, and additional pressure from families and community members, will push the District to a better offer.  We will hold an Open House at the MHFT Office on November 10 from 4:00pm to 7:00pm for you to come together and discuss your feelings and thoughts. The Negotiations Team will be there to answer your questions and hear your concerns.
We sincerely hope to bring you a fair and reasonable compensation increase before the end of 2016.  If that is not possible, we are prepared to escalate our actions in 2017.

Respectfully, Gemma

  2011-2012 2012-2013 2013-2014 2014-2015 2015-2016
MHFT Salary Increase 0% 0% 2% (1% off) 5% + 1% for PD 5%
District Total Revenues $66,302,740 $68,459,432 $69,867,526 $75,813,965 $87,197,258
% increase   3.25% 2.06% 8.51% 15.01%
Total Expendatures $63,513,602 $62,854,643 $65,708,638 $74,346,051 $80,395,301
% increase   -1.04% 4.54% 13.15% 8.14%
Ending Fund Balance $16,746,216 $22,120,817 $24,047,126 $23,116,701 $29,265,339
% increase   32.09% 43.60% -3.87% 26.60%
Unassigned/Unappropriated $6,766,773 $10,131,443 $14,003,738 $14,030,561 15,750,799
% increase   49.72% 38.22% 0.19% 12.26%
% of expenses 10.65% 16.12% 21.31% 18.87% 19.59%
Certificated Teacher's Salary $24,536,892 $24,796,860 $25,119,949 $27,421,407 $28,812,359
% increase   1.06% 1.3% 9.16% 5.07%
% of expenses 38.63% 39.45% 38.23% 36.88% 35.84%


Don’t Forget to Vote!

There are so many important races on the ballot. A  full list of labor endorsements follows below, including local races throughout the region.
These endorsements are arrived at through an extensive process that begins with candidates being invited to complete an online survey about issues that are important to working families. Candidates who choose to seek labor’s endorsement (some don’t care to) are then invited to interviews with the Labor Council, which is composed of delegates from all the locals in the region. After the interviews, delegates in attendance discuss the candidates and vote on the endorsements.

In this election, we see the impact of California’s new Top Two primary system; in many races, there are two Democrats on the ballot. Even though they are of the same party, there are often substantive differences between these candidates. We encourage you to consider labor endorsements when making your selections, as this is an important way that we can support our brothers and sisters in labor.

Perhaps most pertinent to us in public education, some candidates on the ballot are being funded by the Charter Schools Association, and are running against candidates who are on record as defenders of public schools, and opposed to corporate charter schools. Kamala Harris (for U.S. Senate) is being challenged by charter-backed Loretta Sanchez, and Karina Cervantez-Alejo (for State Assembly) is being challenged by charter-backed Anna Caballero.

Please scroll to the end of this newsletter to see the list of labor endorsements.


As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, we would like to take a moment to say that we are very thankful to work with such dedicated and talented colleagues, and we are grateful for the opportunity to represent you through our union. We hope that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving among family and friends.

Labor Endorsements
AFT, CFT, MHFT, South Bay Labor Council

President - Hillary Clinton
Vice President - Tim Kaine
U.S. Senate - Kamala Harris
U.S. Congress, Dist. 17 - Mike Honda
U.S. Congress, Dist. 18 - Anna Eshoo
U.S. Congress, Dist. 19 - Zoe Lofgren
U.S. Congress, Dist. 20 - Jimmy Panetta

CA Senate, Dist. 13 - Jerry Hill
CA Senate, Dist. 15 - Jim Beall
CA Senate, Dist. 17 - Bill Monning

CA Assembly, Dist. 20 - Karina Cervantez Alejo
CA Assembly, Dist. 25 - Kansen Chu
CA Assembly, Dist. 27 - Ash Kalra
CA Assembly, Dist. 28 - Evan Low
CA Assembly, Dist. 29 - Mark Stone

San Jose City Council, Dist. 2 - Sergio Jimenez
San Jose City Council, Dist. 6 - Helen Chapman
San Jose City Council, Dist. 8 - Sylvia Arenas

San Jose Measure E - YES
San Jose Measure F - YES
San Jose Measure G - YES

Santa Clara City Council, Seat 3 - Debbie Davis
Santa Clara City Council, Seat 6 - Kathy Watanabe
Santa Clara City Council, Seat 7 - Theresa O’Neill
Santa Clara City Clerk - Rob Diridon
Santa Clara Chief of Police - Pat Nikolai

Santa Clara Unified SD, Area 2 - Albert Gonzalez
Santa Clara Unified SD, Area 3 - Anna Walsh

S.J. Unified SD, Area 3 - Pam Foley
S.J. Unified Measure Y - YES

Campbell City Council (2) -
Donald Christopher Young
Richard Waterman

Campbell Union HSD Measure AA - YES

East Side Union H.S. Dist. (2) -
Patti Cortese
Lan Nguyen

East Side Union Measure Z - YES

Alum Rock Union SD - Bruce Huyhn

Evergreen SD (2) -
John Lindner
George Sanchez

Oak Grove SD - John Mackey

MHUSD Board, Area 5 - Angelica Diaz
MHUSD Board, Area 6 - Albert Beltran

Santa Clara County School Board, Area 3 -
Rosemary Kamei

Morgan Hill City Council (2) -
Larry Carr
Rene Spring

Santa Clara Valley Water District, Seat 1 -
John L. Varela

Santa Clara County Measure A - YES

Gavilan Joint Comm. College, Area 3 -
Rachel Perez

S.J. Evergreen Comm. College, Area 3 -
Craig Mann

Foothill-DeAnza Comm. College (3) -
Patrick Ahrens
Laura Casas
Gilbert Wong

S.J. Evergreen Comm. College, Area 7 -
Mayra Cruz

West Valley-Mission Comm. College, Area 2 -
Bob Owens