Contract negotiations continue in RSF School District

Contract negotiations continue between the Rancho Santa Fe Faculty Association and the Rancho Santa Fe School District, with another negotiating session set for Sept. 20.

“I am, as always, hopeful that the faculty association and the district can come to a compromise,” said Mandy Valentine, fourth grade teacher and president of the Rancho Santa Fe Faculty Association.

At the Sept. 7 RSF School board meeting, Valentine addressed the board during public comment, speaking on behalf of many R. Roger Rowe School teachers that sat in the audience.

Superintendent David Jaffe is not allowed to comment on the ongoing negotiations.

Valentine said since she joined the district in 2005 she has experienced years with steady increases in salaries and benefits and more stagnant years during the recession. She said today the district is in a more positive financial situation as they are involved in their yearly salary and benefit negotiations.

“What has remained the same throughout all of these years is the high level of education each and every one of the teachers provides to the children of Rancho Santa Fe,” Valentine said. “It is what is expected of us and we will continually give due to our upmost professionalism.”

Valentine said after the “lengthy” contract discussions of 2015-16, Rancho Santa Fe still falls “drastically” behind neighboring districts such as Del Mar Union School District, Solana Beach School District and San Dieguito Union High School District in terms of the district’s contribution to cover health benefits.

“San Dieguito has made the promise to their teachers that they will maintain the highest salaries in the county,” Valentine said. “Their goal is to attain and retain the highest level of educators and compensate them respectively. What is the goal of our district?”

Valentine said that she understands that negotiations are a process of give and take but she would like to see more of an environment of collaboration and respect in the district’s process. Superintendent David Jaffe cannot comment on negotiations.

“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. “In addition, our proposals to the terms and conditions of the contract are continually met with resistance or any discussion of their merit. The most significant of these is renewing the enrollment of the children of teachers.”

As part of ongoing negotiations with the district, the faculty association has proposed adding language to their contracts allowing teachers’ children to be enrolled. Previously teachers’ children were allowed to be enrolled per Board Policy 4111. That policy was amended at the end of the school year in 2016, limiting the enrollment to only teachers’ children previously enrolled and their siblings.

Teachers have expressed being disappointed and “heartbroken” by that decision and would like the opportunity for their children to attend R. Roger Rowe School.