San Ramon Valley educators are seeing red! SRVUSD as a district is getting more money for local use than in recent history. And the District is spending it. According to an email sent to over 3000 district employees from the superintendent back in December, the district expects to receive $25.3 million in new, ongoing LCFF (local control funding) and $16.44 million in one-time state revenue. But before settling on teacher salaries (with proposals on the table since June 2015), the district allocated $18.2 million in new expenditures.  The cost of providing a 1% salary increase for SRVEA is $1.33 million so the 6% on-schedule increase the teachers are requesting would cost the district almost $8 million. The district has no hesitation in spending monies on solar panels and technology but balks at spending money on its greatest resource--its teachers!

After teachers took to the streets to rally and speak their voice to the SRVUSD School Board, the district came back with an increase in their original offer of 4% on-schedule. But after going nearly ten years with less than a 1% average annual increase, the teachers just do not feel the love. A record amount of new monies coming into the district and yet the district does not feel it is a priority to restore teacher salaries. During the recession, San Ramon Valley educators accepted the fact that the district was not financially strong. Ironically, during that same time period the district's reserves grew! They actually received enough revenue to pad some of their savings all the while not providing any salary increase to their educators.

In her most recent district wide email about SRVEA negotiations, the superintendent stated that the district was actually offering a compensation increase of 10.44% that included a 5% on-schedule increase and 2% one-time payment. The district has the habit of publicizing statutory benefits such as health and welfare increases, retirement contributions, extra pay salary, and step/column increases. They include these benefits (the cost of doing business) as a way to inflate their "offer" to the teachers. It is a misleading and confusing practice. The truth behind these numbers is not every teacher receives step/column increases every year. For some teachers, the step/column increase is $2.00 while for others it can be $200.00 and yet many more will receive $0.00 in step/column. And until an educator retires, the retirement contribution is invisible. That benefit does not pay mortgages or feed families. 

According to SRVUSD Local Accountability Plan--their top priority is to attract and retain highly qualified educators. Maybe they need to start putting their wallet into action. Neighboring districts have approved 8% increases, 10% increases, and most recently in West Contra Costa County USD, a 12% increase over the next 11 months. Wonder if those teachers had to see red.

Ironically, San Ramon Valley Unified School District was featured in a KRON story about the massive teacher shortages.
 

    Authors

    Laura Finco is a Grade 8 Science educator at Stone Valley Middle School. When she is not in her classroom, Laura is either in Sacramento advocating for teachers' rights in order to protect our students or more casually, working with her golden retrievers in the agility ring

    The SRVEA blog is written by teachers for teachers. Anyone is invited to share their thoughts. If you would like to submit a blog post, please send it to SRVEA Communications.

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