It appears that 67 Burbank Unified teachers will be spared from layoffs after the district and the teachers union agreed to a schedule of unpaid work furlough days. The union membership still must ratify the plan, but the tentative pact looks promising.
School district officials have warned that the save is only temporary, and that without long-term changes to salaries and benefits, both sides will face the same problem this time next year.
Three of the six furlough days will fall on instructional days, which means the concessions will affect students, the one group that has no say at the bargaining table. Nevertheless, the two sides have managed to avoid the big whacking stick for now, allowing at least some breathing room as Sacramento struggles to get its own house in order.
And while there’s no assumption that the economy will come roaring back any time soon — and surely not at a pace quick enough to backfill depleted accounts — there are also strong signs that it probably won’t get worse.
That gives district officials and union representatives some basis for working ahead of time with basic parameters: There will be no more, and probably no less. The trajectory will likely stay steady, albeit down. And so next time, no excuses for off-the-cuff declarations of impasse, or claims of hidden bounties. If structural changes need to happen, let’s start talking now.