Members on our SEIU Local 99 Special Education Labor Management Committee met with LAUSD on March 21, 2019 to discuss key issues impacting staffing and the quality of student services.
Behavior Intervention Implementation Services
We addressed the issue of Behavior Intervention Implementation Services or BIIs. You may remember that we filed unfair labor practice charges last year against LAUSD for bargaining in bad faith after they cut hours of Special Education Assistants and Trainees even as we were negotiating over BIIs and Special Ed staffing. The district wants to address concerns regarding staffing that we raised in those charges. LAUSD agreed that many SEIU Local 99 members are already performing BII work and they are committed to working with us to end the subcontracting of this work and bring those jobs back to SEIU Local 99 members.
We discussed the different levels of BII work depending on the needs of students. It is important note that BII work is already part of the job description for Special Education Assistants working with students with mild to moderate behavioral issues. We discussed setting-up a permanent training program so members working with students with severe behavioral issues can receive the necessary training to provide this service and receive a pay differential. As part of our contract bargaining last year, we negotiated the creation of a pilot BII training program that included a 5.5% pay differential when members are assigned BII services. The pilot program was implemented in 2018 and had great results and our plan is to work with the district to make sure it is expanded to more members.
Lack of assistants riding the bus with special needs students
During our meeting, we also raised concerns about transportation issues faced by our special needs students. Due to insufficient staffing and cuts, many students do not have a Special Education Assistant riding the bus with them. We let the district know that this is a big safety concern for employees, students, parents, and the community and we can’t delay in addressing it.
LAUSD re-organization of Special Ed services won’t mean job cuts
The district agreed with us that there are problems and they want to work with us to fix them. They shared that there is currently a re-organization process going on to make sure that all Special Education staff is being assigned to meet the needs of students. The district was clear that this re-organization will not mean the loss of jobs or hours. In fact, they said they want to hire more staff and provide additional training to promote current staff.
District needs to comply with education code in making staffing assignments
One way to make sure there is greater safety and consistency in staffing for students is for the district to follow the education code. The code says that staffing assignments must be made based on district seniority. The district has not always done this, leading to random cuts and job transfers and disruption to students. By enforcing the education code, we can ensure a fair and consistent process for all employees and quality services for our students.
We’re on a path to finding solutions.
Addressing these issues has been a long and hard process. We will continue to hold the district accountable but, ultimately, are on the same page about providing students with the best services and putting our schools and communities first. Our next Special Education Labor Management Committee meeting with the district is on March 27. Stay tuned for more information. Let’s keep standing union strong!