Yuba City teachers union files complaint on grading requirement
The Yuba City Teachers Association filed an unfair practice charge against the Yuba City Unified School District on Wednesday for implementing an electronic grading book without first completing negotiations, according to a state document.
A complaint was filed with the Public Employment Relations Board, said union President Dina Luetgens, because the union should have been able to negotiate the impacts and effects of a mandatory grading system before it was implemented.
"It's important because it impacts how we do our jobs," Luetgens said.
The Aeries Browser Interface Gradebook requires teachers to enter student grades online so that parents and youth can monitor their work. Before August 2011, using the grade book was optional. Since then, however, it has become mandatory.
A failure to submit grades within seven days can result in disciplinary action, including suspension.
Teachers and students have expressed frustration over the system, saying it takes too much time to submit grades or that they simply don't like it.
But the system isn't new to teachers, Superintendent Nancy Aaberg said. The grade book has been around since 2008, and several seminars have been provided to teachers to help them learn how to efficiently use the system.
"More teachers are using the system than those who are not," Aaberg said.
On Thursday afternoon, Aaberg said she had not received the unfair practice charge and was unaware that the union had filed one.
"When differences of opinion occur," she said, "there are processes to go through before this."
Aaberg said the ABI Gradebook is an easy, one-stop system for students and parents to follow their educational progress.
During the past few years, several letters have been sent out to faculty to inform them of the direction the district wants to go, Aaberg said.
However, negotiations between the two sides haven't gone smoothly, according to the Public Employment Relations Board document.
About 60 River Valley High School teachers, wearing matching blue shirts, gathered in front of the high school on Thursday to demonstrate their frustration against a district they say doesn't involve them on key decisions.
"The union is interested in bargaining in good faith," Luetgens said, "and this is why we filed an unfair practice charge."
The event was organized after YCUSD canceled a bargaining meeting on the same day, which would have discussed the implementation of ABI Gradebook.