Labor Negotiations

Labor Negotiations

Two employee unions represent the staff of Cabrillo Unified School District. The Cabrillo Unified Teachers’ Association (CUTA) represents certificated staff, and the Cabrillo Classified School Employees Association Chapter 485 (CSEA) represents classified staff members.

California School Boards Association Collective Bargaining Flow Chart

Negotiations Update – July 11, 2024


Cabrillo Unified School District is committed to providing regular negotiation updates as a part of our efforts to build trust with the community through improved communication and transparency. This ongoing communication aims to keep interested stakeholders informed and engaged.

During CUSD’s prior meeting with CUTA on June 10, 2024, CUSD offered CUTA a 2-year deal amounting to approximately a 6% salary increase, matching the Factfinding Panel’s recommendations:

  • Year 1 (2023-24):  2% increase retroactive to July 1, 2023 + 2% increase retroactive to February 1, 2024;

  • Year 2 (2024-25):  $1,500 one-time payment + 2% increase effective February 1, 2025, contingent upon the passage of the replacement parcel tax in this November’s general election

  • District to cover costs of employee-only health plan for Post-2011 certificated hires through June 30, 2025.

CUTA informed CUSD that it was not interested in a contingency-based salary increase based on the passage of the parcel tax.


July 3, 2024 Bargaining Session (no agreement reached)


On July 3, 2024, after CUSD received direction from the Board of Trustees, the bargaining teams for CUSD and CUTA met again to discuss further whether the Factfinding Panel’s recommendations could form the basis of a settlement. Because CUTA informed CUSD that it would not agree to any contingency-based increase, the District offered a 1-year deal (for 2023-24), consistent with the Factfinding Panel’s recommendations:

  • 4% increase retroactive to July 1, 2023 (an increase from the previous offer of 2% retro to July 1, 2023 + 2% retro to February 1, 2024)

  • District to cover costs of employee-only health plan for Post-2011 certificated hires ongoing (an increase from the previous offer of the same coverage only through June 2025)

Later that day, CUTA countered with the following:

  • 8% increase retroactive to January 1, 2024 (prior proposal was 8.22%)

  • District to cover costs of employee-only health plan for Post-2011 certificated hires ongoing; and

  • District to pay an additional $200 per month to those unit members who purchase health coverage for additional family members. 

How did the District go from offering a 1% increase to a 4% increase for 2023-24?

  1. Throughout the 2023-24 school year, CUSD and CUTA met and negotiated.  Once an impasse was reached, the parties worked with a state-appointed mediator and the neutral Factfinding Panel Chair, during which time efforts were made to resolve the impasse as part of the confidential mediation process.

  2. After the Factfinding hearing, the Factfinding Panel Chair, who examined all of the evidence, recommended a two-year agreement amounting to approximately a 6% increase to the salary schedule (which was partly contingent upon the passage of a parcel tax) and employee-only health coverage to expire in June 2025.

  3. CUTA informed CUSD that it was not interested in any contingency-based salary increase based on parcel tax.

  4. The Governing Board hired Amber Lee-Alva as superintendent and Jennifer Marsh as Chief Business Official.

  5. The CBO projected reductions to the 2024-25 budget, which allowed the District to increase its offer to our employee groups. However, the projected savings come at a cost in projected reductions to staff, programs, and services. 

  6. The District realized a $100,000 savings by restructuring the Fiscal Director position to a Fiscal Coordinator position and selecting Ms. Marsh for the CBO position.

Next Steps:

The district and CUTA have additional meetings scheduled for July and August.  Our July meeting will be attended by a small working group focused on examining the budget and clarifying questions raised during the negotiation process.

Under the direction of the Superintendent and with the assistance of the CBO, a robust, collaborative, and transparent budget development process will be implemented for the 2025-26 budget, which will begin in the Fall of 2024. As a part of this process, several meetings will be held with our community, including teachers, staff, and parents, to obtain input and share information. 

The District recognizes the need to continue implementing additional procedures and processes across its departments, and we are committed to doing this work. 

We are looking forward to meeting with our CUTA partners and continuing to negotiate in the hopes of reaching a resolution that allows us to return to serving the needs of our students and families.


CUTA/CUSD Negotiations Update June 11, 2024: 6%

The District and CUTA met yesterday, June 10th, 2024 to discuss the independent Fact Finder’s recommendations and the District’s most recent salary and benefits offer to CUTA, which is in alignment with the Fact Finding Chair’s recommendations, as follows: 

  • 2% increase to the salary schedule retroactive to July 1, 2023

  • 2% increase to the salary schedule retroactive to February 1, 2024

  • One-time off-schedule payment of $1,500 prorated to percentage of full time equivalent employment

  • 2% increase to the salary schedule effective February 1, 2025 contingent upon the passage of the replacement parcel tax in the November 2024 general election

  • The District shall pay the cost of the employee only Kaiser High health benefit plan for all post-2011 certificated teachers through June 30th 2025 prorated to percentage of full time equivalent employment

The parties were able to have fruitful discussions and are scheduled to meet again in the coming weeks. The parties will continue to meet and negotiate in good faith.


CUTA/CUSD Negotiations Update - June 4, 2024

On May 30, 2024, the Chair of the Fact Finding Panel – who was mutually appointed by CUTA and CUSD – completed and submitted his Fact Finding Report to the parties.  In accordance with state law, the Report’s findings of fact and recommended terms are first submitted in writing to CUTA and CUSD privately before they are made public. 

State law requires that the “public school employer shall make such findings and recommendations public within 10 days after their receipt.”

Accordingly, a copy of the Fact Finding Report is available here: FACT FINDING DISCUSSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Summary of Recommendations

The Report issued the following recommendations to resolve the current impasse over salary and benefits for both the 2023-24 and also the 2024-25 school years, as follows:

A two-year deal covering salaries and benefits for CUTA unit members     

  • Salary:

    • A 2% salary schedule increase, retroactive to 7/1/23

    • A 2% salary schedule increase, retroactive to 2/1/24

    • A one-time, off-schedule payment of $1,500 per unit member on 7/1/24

    • A midyear 2% salary schedule increase, effective 2/1/25, contingent upon the renewal of the existing parcel tax in this year’s general election

  • Benefits:

    • Unit members hired before July 1, 2011: Status quo

    • Unit members hired on or after July 1, 2011:District’s maximum contribution towards health benefits to increase to cover the annual cost of employee-only plan through the duration of the agreement.

  • Duration: Extend the term of the current CBA through June 30, 2025         

These recommendations would increase the salary schedule by 6% over two years; and also cover the cost of employee-only health plans for post-July-2011 hires through 2025.  (Report, p. 6-7.)

The Report states:

“It is the Chair’s opinion that, considering the time of year and with a new Superintendent and Chief Financial Officer starting in just a few weeks, a two year agreement would give the District time to plan for the financial impact of any settlement and would give both sides a “breather” from contentious negotiations and the time to form a different relationship. Also, recommending schedule increases that “roll on” at strategic times helps the District with affordability while maximizing long-term schedule increases.” (Report, p. 6.)

CUSD Concurs With The Report’s Recommendation Terms

Upon review of the Report, CUSD concurs with the recommendations. 

On May 31, 2024, CUSD offered CUTA the above-stated recommended terms to reach Tentative Agreement.

Next Steps

Impasse procedures are not complete until CUSD and CUTA have considered the Report in good faith and attempted to use it as the basis for settlement.  If agreement cannot be made, then a “second impasse” is reached, at which point each party has a lawful right to take unilateral action. This means CUSD may unilaterally impose terms and conditions within the scope of its last and best offer and CUTA may engage in a strike.  It is important for students and families to know that a strike cannot occur before the parties have exhausted the impasse process.

The District and CUTA are planning to further discuss whether an agreement can be reached.

The District will continue to work with CUTA in good faith in the hopes of reaching a Tentative Agreement to provide unit members with deserved increases that are fair and sustainable for staff and the community alike.

CUTA/CUSD Negotiations Update - May 17, 2024

On May 17, 2024, the bargaining teams on behalf of CUSD and CUTA met with the fact finding panel and held a hearing on their respective positions over their impasse over salaries and benefits. After the hearing concluded, the teams participated in another confidential mediation session with the state-appointed fact finding panel chairperson. 

The parties were unable to reach a tentative agreement. This means the impasse process is still ongoing. Thus, both CUSD and CUTA are now awaiting the receipt of the fact finding panel's report and recommendations, which is expected to be released on May 30th, 2024.

CUTA/CUSD Negotiations Update - April 25, 2024

As you may know, recently both CUSD and CUTA mutually agreed upon an experienced and qualified labor relations professional to serve as the chairperson of a fact finding panel that is assigned as the next step in impasse bargaining. 

Fact finding is the next step in the bargaining process, and it is hoped that this step will help the parties resolve the current impasse over salaries and benefits.

The three-person fact finding panel (comprised of the chairperson, one individual selected by CUTA, and one individual selected by CUSD) will hold a closed meeting where it will review information supporting each party’s last and best offers. After the meeting, the panelists will meet in private to evaluate the respective positions and data. The panel will then prepare an advisory report containing findings of fact and non-binding recommendations for a settlement. This process may also include back-and-forth discussions or even further mediatory efforts involving the chairperson and both bargaining teams after the meeting. In some cases, districts and unions have agreed to resume mediation.

The advisory report will be submitted to CUSD and CUTA privately, where they have another opportunity to determine whether a tentative agreement can be reached. The report is made public within ten (10) days after receipt. If agreement cannot be reached at this stage, then both CUTA and CUSD are considered to have completed their obligations to negotiate with one another, and the impasse procedure is deemed to be exhausted.

Only at this point may the District unilaterally impose terms of employment that are within the scope of its last, best, and final offer, and only at this point may CUTA engage in concerted activity. It is unlawful for CUTA to engage in a strike, or for the District to unilaterally implement its final offer, at any point prior to the formal completion of the impasse process.

While CUSD and CUTA are still in the midst of the impasse procedure, the District looks forward to continuing work with CUTA in the hopes that their differences can be resolved in a respectful, lawful, and positive manner.

CUTA/CUSD Negotiations Update - April 10, 2024

On April 10, 2024, both CUSD and CUTA have now jointly filed for fact finding. Please see below for additional background context, what has transpired before this, and an explanation of the next steps in the bargaining process. 

CUTA/CUSD Negotiations Update - April 9, 2024

On February 28, and March 20, 2024, the bargaining teams on behalf of the Cabrillo Unified School District and the Cabrillo Unified Teachers Association met with a state-appointed mediator in efforts to resolve an impasse in negotiations.  The District and CUTA were unable to reach an agreement with the mediator’s assistance.  Accordingly, the mediator has released the District and CUTA to fact finding, which is the next stage in the state-mandated procedures for resolving an impasse. 

If either the District or CUTA formally request to proceed to fact finding to the state, then a panel will then be convened.  Each party will choose a representative to sit on the fact finding panel.  These two individuals then complete the panel by selecting an outside neutral party to serve as the chairperson from a list of qualified individuals supplied by the state and/or the parties can mutually agree upon a chairperson.  To date, the panel has not yet been convened, and a chairperson has yet to be selected.

In the event the District and CUTA proceed to fact finding, the panel will assist both parties in finding agreed-upon solutions following a presentation of facts about outstanding issues and proposals by the District and CUTA.  If the parties do not reach an agreement, the panel will issue an advisory report containing recommendations for a potential settlement, which may serve as a basis for agreement and/or continued negotiations.

The District will continue to work with CUTA in good faith and believes strongly that the parties’ differences can be resolved in a positive and mutually respectful manner. 

CUTA/CUSD Negotiations Update - January 17, 2024

Tentative Agreement

On January 17, 2024, CUSD and CUTA reached tentative agreements on the following:

  • Article 4, “Leaves of Absence,” which was updated to reflect recent changes in the law relating to leaves and to add clarity to the parental leave and personal necessity leave provisions.

  • Article 14, “Safety Conditions of Employment,” which reflect changes to safety reporting and student discipline procedures, and to provisions relating to environmental safety and workspaces.


On January 11, 2024, PERB informed CUSD and CUTA that the parties have reached an impasse in negotiations.  Accordingly, a State-appointed mediator will be assigned to assist CUSD and CUTA reach agreement on the following items:

(1) Compensation and Health/Welfare Benefits


Last school year (SY 2022-23), CUSD’s Third Interim Financial Report of May 30, 2023, was certified as “Negative,” meaning that CUSD will be unable to meet its financial obligations for the remainder of the fiscal year and/or the subsequent fiscal year.  In June 2023, SMCOE concurred with the “Negative” certification, designated CUSD as a lack of going concern, assigned a fiscal advisor to the District, and required CUSD to develop a Fiscal Stabilization Plan (FSP).    

At the beginning of the current 2023-24 school year, CUSD’s 2023-24 Budget continued to reflect “Negative” status.  With the assistance of SMCOE’s assigned fiscal advisor, and to address the CUSD’s fiscal challenges, on November 9, 2023, the Board approved an FSP to achieve savings for the current school year (SY 2023-24) and two outyears (SY 2024-25 and 2025-26).  The implementation of the FSP is underway.

This past October 2023, CUSD also learned from its insurance carrier (SMCSIG) that health insurance premiums would increase by approximately 18% beginning January 1, 2024.  Currently, for unit members hired before July 1, 2011, CUSD pays for the premiums of the high plan (including full family and employee +1 plans) of the lowest cost provider.  For unit members hired on or after July 1, 2011, CUSD pays a fixed cap of $11,167.   

On October 19, 2023, CUTA proposed an 8.22% salary schedule increase, and ending salary step at 22 years by reducing the longevity increments from 3 years to 2 years.  On October 25, 2023, CUTA also proposed to raise the current cap of $11,167 to equal the annual cost of covering the employee only of the high plan of the lowest cost provider. 

On November 16, 2023, based on the financial information it had at the time, CUSD proposed a $19,612 cap for pre-2011 unit members.  For post-2011 unit members, CUSD proposed to increase the cap from $11,167 to $11,264, which would cover the 18% increase.  There was no salary proposal at that time.  Taken together, the cost savings achieved by the proposed caps would fund the 18% increase in health benefit costs for all CUSD employees and still allow CUSD to remain cost neutral.

In late November 2023, CUSD received new information from SMCOE of its estimated tax revenues at 2023-24 First Principal Apportionment (P1), which confirmed CUSD’s flip to Basic Aid status and receipt of one-time supplemental taxes.  Thus, on December 14, 2023, CUSD’s 2023-24 First Interim Financial Report was approved by the Board with a “Qualified” certification, which means the District may not be able to meet its financial obligations for the current fiscal year and subsequent two years.

Current Proposals

On December 20, 2023, in light of the modest improvement in CUSD’s financial outlook, CUSD presented a counterproposal to align with its values in providing reasonable compensation increases while ensuring fiscal sustainability and responsibility:

  • Increase salary schedule by 1% retroactive to July 1, 2023; and

  • Keep the District’s health and welfare benefits at status quo.

The proposal would allow CUSD to meet its 3% economic uncertainty reserve requirement for this and the next two school years.  The proposal is based on the following assumptions, which, if changed, would alter the District’s financial outlook. 

  • 2% increase in property tax revenue in 2024-25 and 2025-26

  • 5% increase in health benefit costs in 2025-26

  • A one-time receipt of $3.8 million in supplemental taxes, subject to change depending upon the number of districts in the County that change to Basic Aid status

  • Deficit-spending in 2024-25 and 2025-26 between $470,000-492,000.

  • Achievement of the estimated cost savings per the FSP

CUTA maintained its initial proposal of an 8.22% salary schedule increase, and ending salary step at 22 years by reducing the longevity increments from 3 years to 2 years.

(2) Article 12, “Teaching Hours”

To further its values in supporting family-friendly schedules and mitigating the impacts of minimum days upon families of younger students by standardizing dismissal times, the District’s current proposal is to establish a uniform student dismissal time for Grades K-3 to be 2:15 p.m. daily, and for Grades 4-5 levels to be 2:55 p.m. daily.  The minimum days for parent conference weeks and the six (6) professional development “Super Fridays” will continue to be minimum days.

CUTA’s current proposal is to eliminate the six (6) professional development minimum days beginning in 2024-25 school year.  In lieu of these professional development minimum days, CUTA proposes the District to provide release days for teacher-selected professional development activities. 

Next Steps

CUSD and CUTA will work with the State-appointed mediator to further negotiate in good faith over compensation, health and welfare benefits, and teaching hours.

CUTA/CUSD Negotiations Update - November 27, 2023

On November 16, 2023, the bargaining teams for the District and CUTA met for a half-day session to further discuss their respective proposals on health benefits.  The teams are committed to continuing further negotiating compensation and benefits, in addition to the other articles that were reopened for the 2023-24 school year.  The District and CUTA are next scheduled to meet on Friday, December 1st to continue their discussions. 

CUTA/CUSD Negotiations Update - October 19, 2023

On October 19, 2023, bargaining teams on behalf of the Cabrillo Unified School District and the Cabrillo Unified Teachers Association met for their first session as part of regular contract reopener negotiations for the 2023-24 school year. During the session, proposals were discussed pertaining to safety conditions, teaching hours, compensation, and health benefits.  The District and CUTA also scheduled additional bargaining dates through the remainder of the calendar year. We are scheduled to meet next on November 16, to continue our discussions, and we look forward to continuing a collaborative and productive process to support employees and students.

CUTA/CUSD Negotiations Update - 2022-23

The 2022-23 District/CUTA labor negotiations cycle concluded with the CUTA bargaining unit filing for impasse with the California Public Employment Relations Board in March of 2023. The California Public Employment Relations Board assigned a mediator who released the parties to fact finding.  However, neither CUTA nor the District moved to request for fact finding.  The District and CUTA sunshined their respective reopener articles, (CUSD Reopeners 2023-24 , CUTA Reopeners 2023-24) at the October meeting of the Cabrillo Unified School District Governing Board.  

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