FUSD and Fresno Teachers Association reach new agreement

Teachers accepting requests to substitute or taking extra students will get an additional hour of per diem pay
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno Unified and the Fresno Teachers Association are working together to combat the recent surge of COVID-19 from the omicron wave.

The added measures will help to address staffing shortages, lack of time and needed safety practices. The district and teachers union say its all to keep students and teachers safe and in the classroom.

It was the recent surge in COVID-19 cases that brought Fresno Unified and the Fresno Teachers Association back to the negotiating table.

"The new surge definitely added some urgency to the matter," said Fresno Teacher's Association President Manuel Bonilla.

In order to keep classrooms open, they're making some changes. As the district continues to call on substitutes, they're making sure teachers are properly compensated for their classroom coverage. The district says they utilize roughly 500 substitutes a day.

"If you're in high school and you give up your prep to teach, we're going to pay you per diem and if you're in elementary school and we have to deploy students to you because we don't have enough that day, we're going to pay you," explained FUSD Deputy Superintendent Misty Her.

They'll also have added flexibility. Until daily case numbers decrease, professional learning is optional and teachers will be able to leave campus once they're duties are done.

"They need additional time because they're being asked more and more of them," added Bonilla. "More and more is being put on their plate."

The district will also provide added HEPA air filter purifiers and KN-95 masks to staff.

"We are in the process of buying HEPA air filters," said Her. "We have KN-95 masks we've ordered and we're just going to make it part of the delivery that goes toward every school."

"We understand this agreement alone is not going to solve the challenges of covid during this time in our education system," added Bonilla, "but we know it will bring some relief to our educators."

Teachers will also receive back pay from the beginning of the current school year for any extra substitution shifts they've taken, or for elementary teachers, added students they've had in the classroom.

Copyright © 2022 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.