FTA, FUSD find middle ground on salary negotiations

Close session at the FTA Strike Authorization Vote in Farmersville on April 16, 2024.(Rigo Moran)

Farmersville Unified School District, Farmersville Teachers Association reach a three-year agreement after months of failed negotiations

FARMERSVILLE – After months of negotiation, Farmersville Unified School District and the Farmersville Teachers Association have shaken hands on a tentative three-year agreement.

The school district and the Farmersville Teachers Association (FTA) finally came to an agreement after months of negotiation on Monday, April 22. This time the teachers and the district came to a three-year agreement as opposed to a one-year term. Assuming that the FTA and the school board both vote to approve the tentative agreement, negotiations will officially be over with.

“The district appreciates the partnership with the FTA in coming to a mutually beneficial resolution to negotiations. The district looks forward to a productive and collaborative remainder of the school year,” Superintendent Dr. Sergio Chavez stated via press release.

According to a press release from the superintendent, the agreement gives teachers a 5% pay increase for 2023-2024. Since the pay increase is effective as of July 1, 2023, the increase will be retroactive to that date. Then teachers’ pay will increase another 2% effective Jan. 1, 2025.

The release also states the district and FTA can renegotiate salary and benefits as well as three items each for the 2025-2026 school year. The agreement also recognizes that both the district and union might need to make additional changes to the agreement in the future to sustain the promised salary increase.

Pay isn’t the only thing the entities came to an agreement on. They also chose to change the language in the collective bargaining agreement to include “developing as an educator” in the teachers evaluation. This language allows teachers to be evaluated based on the California Standards for the Teaching Profession.

On top of that, the FTA and the district agreed to form a group whose sole purpose is to brainstorm solutions for teacher retention, which will help address the main concerns that the FTA has expressed throughout the whole negotiation process.

This agreement comes one week after 99% of the FTA voted to strike if the fact-finding phase did not result in a better offer. This impasse came to be because negotiations had continued for nine months with no agreement.

The teacher’s association initially planned on striking, picketing and protesting the night of April 23 if the results of fact-finding did not fall in their favor.

“If the district does not act in good faith and with the same urgency as Farmersville Teachers Association, we will be forced to strike,” FTA president Richard Dybas said at the FTA meeting on April 16. “We will do whatever it takes to attract and retain highly qualified teachers for our students.”

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