You’ve probably heard a lot recently about how pay raises for teachers in the San Diego school district are in jeopardy. As the district claims poverty, it is pressuring the teachers union to help it avoid massive layoffs by foregoing raises that are scheduled for the next two years.
Here’s something you may not know: about half of the district’s teachers will still get raises no matter what happens as they get more experience or gain advanced education. These are separate from the 2012-2014 across-the-board raises that the school district would like to avoid.
The automatic raises, known as step-and-column raises, aren’t in danger. It looks like teachers will keep getting the automatic jumps in pay regardless of how the district’s financial crisis is resolved.
Their existence creates a dilemma for teachers, as investigative reporter Will Carless writes: “settle for the guaranteed annual raise, and help hundreds of teachers stay in the classroom; or hold onto the extra raises they’ve been promised and watch class sizes balloon. If they choose the latter option, most of those teachers will see their salaries rise more than 16 percent over the next two years.”
There’s another twist for the district: If it has to lay off hundreds of its lowest-paid teachers, it will be left with plenty who have been around for years and have seniority. They’ll also be more expensive than the young teachers and continue to climb up the pay scale until they reach the top.