JESPA leaders from the bargaining team and from the school closure committee went to the bargaining table last week to negotiate a Memorandum of Understanding on how Article 11 should be applied to ESPs at closing schools.
The district side was quite upset that we came prepared with a proposal and attempted to shame your team, made up of people from schools that are closing like Emory and Molholm.
At the conclusion of the session, Juan Contreras, a dual-language Tutor from Emory had this to say “I feel great about our proposal that we brought tonight. Protecting the integrity of our contract was our main concern.” ESPs should never be ashamed for giving thoughtful ideas over their own professional careers, especially when none of you had a voice in your school closing.
The district should be ashamed of their conduct and lack of thoughtfulness towards your careers as ESPs in Jeffco. Last night made it clear they don’t have any idea about ESPs and focused much of their discussion on what teachers are doing. Let’s compare what JESPA leaders brought with what we’ve heard from administrators.
- Access to full time jobs with benefits with a hiring freeze to prioritize placement of all facing closure.
- No pay cuts or demotions
- No cuts to hours or benefits
- Multiple-wave bidding process, based on seniority, not arbitrary factors based on whether a principal thinks you fit in (or cost too much)
- Full transparency with review of the bidding and placement from both JESPA and District officials
- If a job category has no openings, the next available opening will be open to those ESPs before other internal and external candidate
- “Job Event” where you are interviewed
- No guarantee of placement, just “offers” made after principals meet with staff so that principals and ESPs have “choice”
- Resumé Classes
- No inclusion of custodial or food services in placement discussions (they can transfer people where ever they want according to district)
- All ESPs “should have a job, we’re so short staffed”
- No transparency in the process
As we know, ESPs are staffed and scheduled based based on budgets that do not have any requirements for ESP. The process the district proposes pushes the door wide open to discrimination based on the hourly “cost” an ESP may have, meaning they would rather dismiss a step 21 longtime employee and wait to make an offer to a step 1, inexperienced employee for budgetary reasons.
Why does the district’s hesitation to bargain matter?
The district is claiming they have no intention of bargaining with your team and instead wants to have a closed door “collaborative discussion”. Over the past few years, you and your JESPA collogues have become stronger than ever, winning protective language and historic wage increases at the bargaining table. You have had discussions. You have been collaborative, but only through bargaining were you able to hold the district accountable and win your deserved raises. Now that the district has seen JESPA’s power, they want to put up barriers and make it difficult for all of us to stay informed and make sure our voices are heard.
Take action and make sure that this doesn’t happen – make sure you are a member of JESPA!