The Tuesday, April 25, 2023 meeting of the Culver City Unified School District Board saw a lot of red; the Culver City Federation of Teachers protesting the administration’s addition of professional development days, and the lack of pay being offered for that required time.
Dozens of CCUSD teachers filled the City Hall plaza prior to the school board meeting, wearing red shirts, and carrying signs. The ongoing stalemate of negotiations brought out teachers to speak to “Items not on the agenda” to draw attention to the challenges they are facing. The district has yet to finalize the school calendar for the 2023-2024 year, and teachers are balking at being asked to work additional days for required professional development for a rate of pay that is less that they receive for a regularly scheduled day of work.
Dave Milke, a former CCFT leader, offered his remarks to the meeting, citing the increase in upper management as part of the aggravated financial challenge. “There are a lot of Assistant Superintendents. Those positions used to be Directors.” The idea that the district is ‘top-heavy’ and spends too much on consultants rather than hiring employees was narrated by multiple speakers.
Board member Triston Ezidore offered his thoughts on social media prior to the protest. “No one should have to live in poverty or feel disrespected while working for CCUSD. We have the opportunity to make that a reality. As a product of transformative public education, I see the hard work of CCFT and ACE each and every day, to feed, educate, and care for our students. They are invaluable and deserve respect, quality professional development, and significantly increased compensation.”
Superintendent Quoc Tran responded to a request for comment, offering “Negotiations have been ongoing between the school district and the union leadership teams regarding benefits, compensation and the school calendar… I want to re-emphasize that both the school district and the union are committed to reaching a fair and equitable settlement that illustrates our shared goals of providing an exemplary education for all our students in safe, well-run and well-maintained schools.Negotiations can be a complex process, and it’s important to remember that we are by no means at an impasse. We appreciate having the opportunities for further discussion, negotiation, and agreement.”
Board member Kelly Kent noted that the negotiation process was not under the authority of the board. She gave her take on the situation the day following the meeting, saying “It is deliberate and intentional that the board does not have detailed knowledge of what goes on in the negotiation room so that they can remain neutral upon hearing from the interested parties and voting on the agreement.”
Both the district and the unions will need to continue their dialogue until an agreement is reached. Once that agreement is finalized, the school board will vote.
Photo – CCFT protest at City Hall before CCUSD School Board meeting.