Palo Alto teachers and other school staff will get a 7% raise under tentative deals that the district has reached with its unions. The proposed agreements head to the school board for a vote on Tuesday night.
The agreements would give employees a 7% raise, retroactive to the start of the current school year, with the raise applying to all staff, except the district's top six administrators. The superintendent, deputy superintendent, chief business officer, assistant superintendent of equity and student affairs, assistant superintendent of secondary education and assistant superintendent of elementary education would each get a 5% raise retroactive to the start of the current school year, plus a 2% one-time payment.
The membership of both the Palo Alto Educators Association (PAEA), which represents teachers, and the California School Employees Association (CSEA), which represents other school staff, have ratified the agreements, the leaders of each group confirmed to this news organization.
"We're really pleased with both of our associations for their partnership and we're excited that we have been able to settle," Deputy Superintendent Trent Bahadursingh said. "(We're) looking forward to this moving forward at the meeting on Tuesday."
CSEA President Meb Steiner said that the employees in her organization are grateful for the 7% pay increase and that she is pleased with other things included in their agreement, including an expansion in benefits for bus drivers and the continuation of the district's participation in a state-run program that provides matching contributions for employees who earn less than $62,400 annually and set aside money during the school year to be paid out during the summer.
"I think we were able to get some good agreements for our people and we have a good working relationship with the district," Steiner said. "We're able to sit at the table and hash things out."
PAEA President Teri Baldwin similarly said that while teachers still want to look at issues around working conditions, including class sizes, her membership is pleased with this year's agreement.
"Everyone feels very good," Baldwin said. "We're happy we were able to reach a good agreement this year."
The 7% raise is higher than it has been in recent years. Employees received a 3% increase in each of the past two school years. Teachers also received a 2% one-time payment each year, while CSEA members got a $1,800 payment in the 2020-2021 school year (prorated for part time employees) and a 2% payment last school year.
Baldwin attributed the larger increase this time around to the increasing cost of living in the area, which she said makes it difficult for teachers to live near their schools.
"Cost of living in the area … has always been increasing and yet our increase in salary hasn't really kept pace. I think it was an attempt to try to help with that," Baldwin said.
From the district's side, Bahadursingh said that while cost of living is part of the conversation, it was Palo Alto Unified's revenue outlook, rather than inflation, that led it to land on the 7% figure. He noted that the district is balancing its financial picture with wanting to remain competitive in attracting and retaining employees.
"This was an amount where our Board of Education felt comfortable in terms of a fair compensation amount for employees," Bahadursingh said.
The agreement with the teachers' union will be an additional $9.55 million cost for the district. CSEA's deal will cost $4.40 million. An agreement with managers and other supervisory staff will cost $1.31 million. For the six top administrators, it's a roughly $81,000 increase.
Teachers currently earn between $71,484 and $144,239, depending on education and years of experience. Additional pay is available for master's and doctoral degrees, as well as certain certifications.
on Jan 17, 2023 at 2:32 pm
on Jan 17, 2023 at 2:32 pm
What about subs?