Let’s face it: Contract negotiations between school districts and the teachers union are a drag. There are theatrics, muscle-flexing, flag-waving and shows of solidarity. And that’s just the first 10 minutes of a San Diego Unified school board meeting.
And because bargaining laws allow school districts and unions to discuss contract details in private, the community is usually the last to understand what’s actually on the table.
The district is required to keep the public up to speed and announce deals – and what they mean – within a day from the time they’re struck. But San Diego Unified can lag in its communication to the public.
Another wrench: The district must draft a budget before it knows exactly what it will receive from Sacramento for the following year. That means its financial decisions are subject to change, based on the final amount it will get from the state.
It’s complicated and often shrouded in secret – so let’s shine some light on the whole process.
How Collective Bargaining Works
A state law passed in 1975 guaranteed unions the right to bargain certain items, like wages and hours. Other things, like teacher tenure, are off the table.
We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?
I see the District had a lot of takers in the early retirement offer.
No surprise really. They would be fools not to take it.
It's been very clear for many years that some people consider teachers to be "entitled". Well, in the last many years we have local politicians and Congressional types that feel anything military is entitled. The issue is money....as always. The other issue is unions. People feel that a bunch a people should not have overwhelming power to push anyone or any particular organization. The problem is, again, money. If the local coffee shop owner is confronted by the employees, it looks like gang warfare. But, if Apple is confronted by its employees is that fair?Apple has the money and the employees do not. The problem is perception and transparency. Perception may be based on fact...or not. But, transparency is based on a tactic. That, is the center of the problem. San Ysidro School District is suffering from both a perception problem and a transparency problem. And the current Board members Barajas and Wells do not want to have anyone know what their cards are in the poker game. Mr. Martinez, another Board member, however, is betting that Barajas and Wells are creating undue stress. The teachers are wondering what is really going on. What is partially going on is that Mr. Wells, while a David Alvarez advocate, is in fact, a radical right wing,anti-union, Chamber of Commerce stalwart. While his children go to San Ysidro Schools, he actually advocates against their teachers. Mr. Barajas is simply a stand-in for corrupt former Superintendent Paul. Mr. Martinez stands firms for the honesty and integrity of the people who work for the children in San Ysidro...the teachers. All of this is about the "intellectual bank" of the teachers vs 3 or 4 intellectually bankrupt individuals at the San Ysidro School District. The Teachers know the kids can achieve. It's time the San Ysidro School District paid for that power.
@Dennis James Isn't your criticism more suited for the school board and/or the people who decide the length of the school year (the state)?&
Nicely said - and conversely, SDUSD should get used to offering college sized salaries and benefits. Students may also get used to being "dropped" with an absence or two - and, parents...no more phone calls home to discuss student progress or lack thereof. : )
Saying students should get used to college-sized lectures should be combined with teachers getting used to T.A.s to grade @voiceofsandiego
Never forget that teachers don't work a full year. For most workers with 2 weeks of vacation a year, there are 250 work days. Teachers work under 200, not sure if it is only 185. Whatever their salary is - add another 25-30% to equate it with full time work. So $69k really represents a lot more.
The average pay for teachers in California for 2012-2013 is $69,300, fourth highest in the nation.(California Teachers Association figure). The figure for 2013-2014 should be much higher. This is for 180 days or $385 per day. Each taxpayer must decide on their own if this is too much, not enough or just about where it should be.
And does not reflect actual cost.
In addition their (CALSTRS) pension fund troubles. Finally going to be dealt with?
@Elmer Walker "Each taxpayer must decide on their own if this is too much...." OK, I decided. Now what? Give me a break. The taxpayers and parents have absolutely no say on the agreement. As the story indicates, it's done in secret and the taxpayers are told after the fact.
Whatever the negotiation result, they should be appropriate for the San Diego Unified community. The median family income for the district is $65,789.
(Source: SANDAG http://profilewarehouse.sandag.org/profiles/est/unif30est.pdf )
@Jim Jones You still seem very confused. Make up your mind! Is it all teachers are losers? Or is just the teachers who teach south of the 8 that are losers?
The fact that you don't acknowledge that socioeconomic factors and parental involvement are, by every rational person's account, extremely important factors speaks volumes about your state of ignorance/confusion.
By the way, do you think you can come up with some new material? For someone of your prodigious intelligence, shouldn't you be able to make more convincing arguments than "teachers are lazy and suck".
Why oh why is a longer school year not on the agenda: fewer (or no) minimum days, full days during P/T conference weeks, fewer days off around holidays (e.g. Thursday and Friday instead of the whole week for Thanksgiving.)
As the article stated, the Governor's proposed budget doesn't direct more $ to schools. A longer school year means more $ spent to operate the schools and pay teachers and staffs; a greater fiscal priority for the State than it is currently.
@Matt Watkins Queery: Many of our schools closed for one or more days during the fires. Are lost days like this made up in any fashion? I can guess the answer, but does anyone know for sure?
@Tim ONeill Then how are wages on the table at all? The pay disparity question should be moot. And how is lower class size an option? Given the choice between lower class sizes and a longer school year, as a parent with kids in SDUSD schools, I choose a longer school year. But parents are never given that choice. Lower class sizes are a perfect hobby-horse for the teacher's union because they do have a measurable impact on student performance, but also make teachers' jobs easier and create more teaching jobs in the district. The question is whether the gain to students from lower class sizes is offset by having a shorter school year. Additionally, you have to consider the economic effect of having 132,000 kids whose parents have to figure out childcare options for all those half-days and extra days off.
In California currently, school districts are provided funding from the state on a formula based on daily student attendance up to a MAXIMUM of 180 days of instruction, regardless of when these days are calendared during the year. (This explains why many districts calendar the entire Thanksgiving week off, so as to maximize student attendance.)
If a school district were to offer more than 180 days of instruction, they would receive NO additional $ from the state by which to do so. If you are suggesting that the district offset this cost by INCREASING class sizes, then you should weigh the negative consequences of that increased class size over the entire school year as a trade off for what would be a relatively minor increase in the school year.
Understand that the amount we taxpayers pay per pupil in California is FAR below the median funding level in the U.S. Unless we are willing to reprioritize spending in our state away from our prisons and towards our schools, our options are few and none. (If you're not familiar with the increase in California's spending on prisons vs. schools ver the past 10 years or so, do a little Internet research. It's very eye opening (and depressing).
@Tim ONeill Problem with that funding formula is that any day with 4 hours of instruction counts as an instructional day. Normal school days are 7 hours long. Sad to see school districts seeking the lowest common denominator wrt state funding.