RANCHO SANTA FE — During the public comment portion of the Rancho Santa Fe School District board’s monthly meeting, Amanda Valentine, who serves as the president of the Rancho Santa Fe Faculty Association, spoke on behalf of the association. At the Sept. 7 meeting, she shared the organization’s opinions about contract negotiations and district goals.
The next scheduled meeting for negotiations was Sept. 20.
Valentine shared how she began teaching at the school district in 2005. Early on, she said she was unfamiliar with some of the contract details as well as salary schedules and how those were determined.
Over time, she said became more adept at learning about contract negotiations between the faculty association and district.
“I have seen years with steady increases, said to be given to offset the climbing cost of living,” Valentine said. “During the recession, I saw many years of stagnant negotiations.”
Valentine said she believed currently there is a more positive financial situation regarding annual salaries and benefit negotiations.
While there were changes over the years, Valentine told the board what always stayed the same was the high level of education the teachers brought to R. Roger Rowe students.
Valentine went on to say how the Rancho Santa Fe Faculty Association wants to bridge a gap.
“Even after the lengthy contract negotiations of 2015-2016, Rancho Santa Fe continues to fall drastically behind neighboring districts like Del Mar and Solana Beach in terms of district contribution to cover health benefits,” she said. “San Dieguito, the district that includes the high schools that our school feeds into, made the promise to their teachers that they will maintain the highest salaries in the county. Their goal is to attain and maintain the highest level of educators, and compensate them respectfully.”
She then wanted to know the goals of the district. Valentine said that while negotiations are about coming to a compromise, they also should be punctuated with mutual respect and collaboration.
“These are the values that we, as teachers, model for and instill in our students every day,” she said. “However, the district continues to use an attorney who negotiates in a manner and style that in no way reflects any attempt to cooperate or compromise.”
Valentine said the faculty association’s proposals to contract terms and conditions were, “met with resistance to any discussion of their merit.”
Another item the Rancho Santa Fe Faculty Association wanted to discuss is renewing R. Roger enrollment of the children of teachers.
“Many of the terms and conditions we have proposed cost little or nothing in monetary terms,” Valentine said. “The lack of even simple dialogue about these items does not speak to a desire on the district’s part to find any common ground. We (Rancho Santa Fe Faculty Association) think it’s time to know what this district really values.”
After Valentine’s comment, many teachers in the audience erupted into applause.