Fillmore Teachers Vote Down Contract Settlement

Submitted by Fillmore Unified Teachers Association

Fillmore—Members of the Fillmore Unified Teachers Association have voted down a contract settlement that was mediated last week in an effort to resolve negotiations that began last January and ended in impasse on May 23.

At issue in the dispute are lagging salaries and health care cost increases that have more than cancelled out the meager 1.5% pay increase most FUTA members have seen over the past four years. Recent dramatic health plan changes and increases in out-of-pocket health expenses have been tantamount to a 5% pay cut.

Adding insult to injury, Fillmore educators have struggled watching their health plan costs rise while their salaries shrink over the last several years. During the same period, the Fillmore Unified School District Board of Education has given FUSD Superintendent Adrian Palazeulos [sic] a 12% salary increase. He is also receiving an additional 6% raise for this school year and a 7% increase for the 2020-2021 school year. The settlement mediated last week awarded FUTA members only a 2.5% increase. FUTA had been pushing for a 5% raise to at least begin to make up for the losses caused by health plan changes. All this has been happening as FUTA members have been asked to invest more and more of their time and their own resources into implementing district programs. Fillmore teachers currently rank 15th out of 15 in Ventura County percentage of the budget spent on salaries, while FUSD’s administrator salaries rank #1 in the county.

“Fillmore Unified teachers have spoken loudly and clearly,” said FUTA president Tammy Ferguson. “FUSD’s salary proposal is simply not enough given our members’ previous sacrifices. FUSD will be unable to attract and retain high quality educators if they continue to devalue the contributions of professionals who work directly with students.”

With a strike as a last resort, FUTA is hopeful that a return to mediation will result in a more just settlement that reflects the value of Fillmore educators and the many contributions they make to students and the community.

The Fillmore Unified Teachers Association is affiliated with the 310,000-member CTA and the 3-million-member National Education Association.