Rainier and Bargaining update

Update on bargaining meeting regarding Rainier On Monday 12/16, teachers from the Rainier and Tahoma communities met with Diane Tavenner at Home Office in Redwood City as official union representatives to bargain over the impact of closing Rainier.  From Rainier, Isela Mosqueira, Shaila Ramachandran, and Sunli Kim were present. From Tahoma, Andrea Hernandez was present. Ona Keller, our union organizer with the CTA was also present.

Here is the list of proposals that we brought to the table to bargain.  From the beginning of the meeting, Diane said she would not bargain over any of our core community demands, including transportation for Rainier students. She told us that the “bargaining table is not the place to talk about what’s best for students.” We believe the bargaining table is exactly where we should be talking about what’s best for students, which is why Rainier’s community demands were a part of our proposal. Diane made clear that she would only bargain over subjects that she is legally mandated to bargain over and so would only respond to our proposal on transfer, layoff, and reemployment rights for Rainier teachers.  Diane informed us she would discuss our proposal with her lawyer and schedule a follow up bargaining meeting by the end of this week.   

Another of our community demands was for Summit to take the steps necessary to make sure there is space for all Rainier students at Tahoma (Tahoma’s charter states that full enrollment for the school is 405 students).  Diane informed us that all Rainier students will have a spot at Tahoma who want it and that there is no enrollment cap. We have now been able to independently confirm with both East Side and Santa Clara County that there is no enrollment cap and that there will be space for any Rainier student who wishes to attend Tahoma next year. 

Unite Summit is awaiting Diane’s follow up email to schedule a second bargaining meeting over these issues.  The Rainier and Tahoma communities are very eager to resolve these issues ASAP as they affect the immediate futures of our students and staff.

Board meeting updates
Parents, students, and teachers attended the Santa Clara County Board of Education meeting on Dec. 11, the Summit Board meeting on Dec. 12, and the East Side Union High School board meeting on Dec. 12. Student journalists present at the Summit Board meeting and the East Side board meeting wrote this article to capture the community’s concerns. We are continuing to follow up with board members from Santa Clara County and East Side to ensure that they are fully informed and to advocate that they take action to help meet the needs of the Rainier and Tahoma communities. We also remain concerned at the inaccessibility of the Summit Board of Directors meetings and will continue to push for scheduling that would allow easier access for parents, students, and teachers who want to attend future meetings.

Rainier parents, students, teachers, and supporters at the SPS Board meeting (in the video conference room at Summit Prep; only six members of the public were let into the Board meeting at Summit’s Home Office next door.

Moving forward into next year
Now that we have been certified by PERB, we can begin negotiating our contract. We have sent Summit a request to schedule bargaining dates with their team. Our Bargaining Team will be meeting in January to continue preparing for bargaining our first contract. Our top goals remain to improve support services for students, increase teacher retention through improved job sustainability, and provide teacher voice in the decision-making processes. We hope that SPS will work with us to ensure that we reach a contract that fully meets the needs of our students and our teachers.

Wishing you a restive winter break!
We are so thankful for the amazing amount of work all our teachers have put in this semester. Thank you for loving our students so well. We wish you lots of rest, restoration, and self-care over the break, and we look forward to seeing you back in the New Year!

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