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Family Partnership Teachers Prepare for Contract Mediation

After months of difficult, unproductive negotiations, Family Partnership Charter Teachers are hoping that a state mediator will help them get a reasonable contract settlement from the Family Partnership Charter School.

The teachers and their employer are scheduled to work with a representative of the Public Employment Relations Board’s mediation service Oct. 6, 2015, in Santa Maria to try to make progress in the dispute.

“I am sorry to say that Family Partnership teachers are among the worst paid teachers in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties,” said Michael Brajkovich, president of the Teachers Association. “And now the Charter wants to add an uncompensated 30 minutes to every work day.”

FPCTA members have seen other area teachers recover from the recession with pay and benefit increases, while theirs have remained stagnant. At the same time, Charter Executive Director, Todd Mitchell, has increased his own pay and has hired two additional administrators at the small charter operation.

Mitchell’s total compensation increased by 10 percent from 2013–14 to 2014–15. That included a 15 percent increase in his benefits, bringing them up to $20,990 in 2014–15.

During that time, full-time teachers for Family Partnership received $8,400 for benefits per year, the same amount they have received for years.

Brajkovich said the charter teachers are fighting not only for themselves and their families, but for the future of the school.

“The market for teachers is becoming more competitive,” he said. “If the charter continues to treat teachers like this, they will not be able to continue to operate, and that would be a loss of a great option for families on the Central Coast.”

Family Partnership is a relatively small charter school, with sites from Morro Bay to Carpinteria. Most of the teachers provide independent study courses for secondary students, while some sites provide elementary Montessori instruction.

In its short history, the charter and its teachers have yet to complete negotiations without going to impasse.

— Michael Brajkovich represents the Family Partnership Charter Teachers Association.


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