After one of the most challenging and disruptive years in public education, the Palo Alto Unified School District and its teachers union are at the labor negotiations table to discuss annual salary increases, with the union asking for a higher raise than the district has proposed.
Leaders from Palo Alto Unified and the Palo Alto Educators Association met to negotiate compensation and benefits on Tuesday. The district offered the union a 1% raise, retroactive to July 1, 2020, and a one-time 2% bonus, according to an update posted on the district website.
The union quickly came back with a counterproposal: a 6% salary increase and a 4% bonus. In addition, the union asked that if property tax revenue exceeds 6.95% in July 2021, 60% of the increase will be added to the salary schedule, retroactive to July 1, 2020.
The teachers union also proposed cutting language the district had included that states the district's increased contribution to health and welfare benefits is equivalent to an additional 0.26% salary increase, bringing the increase in "total compensation" for 2020-21 to 3.26%.
In a statement, Superintendent Don Austin noted that the district did not issue any layoff notices for teachers or classified staff "even in times of enormous turmoil throughout a pandemic."
"Everyone understands the demands placed on employees over the last year. Now that both sides have shared initial proposals, we can begin the serious work of resolving negotiations in a way that keeps our school district competitive and protects student programs and support services," he said.
Teri Baldwin, president of the teachers union, declined to comment until the association reached a tentative agreement with the district.
Negotiations are ongoing, with the next meeting scheduled for April 12. The district will post updates, including proposals and counterproposals, here.