SANTA BARBARA — The Santa Barbara Teachers’ Association and Santa Barbara Unified School District have reached an agreement on working conditions related to the 2020-21 school year.
The following items were agreed to: teachers will have the option of teaching from their classrooms as they implement distance learning; teachers agreed to repurpose a previously agreed upon March 1, 2021 non-student day and apply those hours for required professional learning prior to the Aug. 13 return to work date; staff may be involved in some in-person services on campus, such as individualized assessments, family meetings and other one-on-one interactions as needed under health and safety guidelines; and all teacher evaluation protocols will remain in place as normal for the school year, according to officials.
Both parties will follow guidance from the county Public Health Department as the school year begins, with a commitment to returning to in-person instruction and conditions permit.
“I’m proud of our work, and I can attest to the fact that we kept students at the center of our negotiations, while ensuring the health and safety of our employees,” Santa Barbara Unified lead negotiator, Dr. John Becchio, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources, said in a statement. “It is also important to note that at no time did either party bring forward any proposal for schools to remain closed in a distance learning model for the entire 20/21 school year, nor would Santa Barbara Unified ever agree to such terms.”
Santa Barbara Unified Superintendent Hilda Maldonado said she was pleased with the quick agreement.
“The Governor announced his order for distance learning on July 17, and less than two weeks later, we wrapped up negotiations with the teacher’s union,” she said in a statement. “That is rare, especially under these extraordinary circumstances. Teachers agreeing to do required professional learning prior to their return date reaffirms to our community how incredibly dedicated they are and how important it is for us (to) return to school as soon as it is safe to do so.”