Fresno Teachers Association submits counter-proposal

Fresno, CALIF. - Power in numbers.

Wednesday night, the Fresno Teachers Association had the numbers, as teachers from across the district rallied outside the Fresno Unified District Office, placing their vote on a possible contract.

"We want to work with them, but a conversation only happens when both people are talking," FTA bargaining team member Manuel Bonilla said.

Bonilla is a teacher at McLane High School, involved in contract bargaining.

Bonilla says the district left out several articles, in their proposal submitted last Thursday.

"Classroom sizes, safety and discipline, classroom deployment, special education, career technical education," Bonilla said. "All those things, they have just chosen not to respond."

One of the biggest issues on the table: healthcare.

Bonilla says the intent was there, the contract language, was not.

"If healthcare prices go up, the burden of those increases will actually be put on us," Bonilla said. "And there's a possibility that we are actually out of pocket, and this contract is a detriment to us."

Fresno Unified School Board President Brooke Ashjian says, the district's been generous.

"We went from an 80/20 plan to a 90/10 plan, nobody, Megan, nobody in the nation is going that way," Ashjian said.

When asked about those missing articles, Ashjian says, work in areas like special education is in motion.

"I personally have called for a 100 percent audit of the special education department," Ashjian said. "How can we possibly put that in a contract when we don't know what the audit looks like yet?"

Assuring us, the board wants to make it work as much as these teachers in blue.

"There's certain things, we certainly need to agree upon," Ashjian said. "But there's other things, they just need to cool their jets a little bit, and we're going to get there. 

This back and forth can continue until the district submits its last, best, final proposal. If that doesn't happen by next fall, there could be a strike, which neither side tells us they want. 

Reporting in Fresno, Megan Rupe. 


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