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School district asks for quick approval of big pay raises

Original post made on May 9, 2016

The Palo Alto school district has reached what it says are its first-ever multi-year contracts with teachers and classified employee unions -- contracts that will provide up to 16 percent pay hikes over three years.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, May 9, 2016, 9:55 AM

Comments (60)

92 people like this
Posted by neighbor
a resident of College Terrace
on May 9, 2016 at 10:30 am

No public hearings? How can you justify that when residents foot the bill through the school parcel tax assessment, and many don't not see anything close to that increase in their own income? Don't get me wrong, teachers deserve good pay, but remember that these raises are in addition to the automatic step increases they also receive. Sorry, but this seems excessive.


75 people like this
Posted by 38 year resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 9, 2016 at 10:41 am

@ neighbor......that's why they want a quick approval. If we knew all the details of this proposal, we might want to take a step back and really evaluate the necessity of yet another pay hike.


85 people like this
Posted by Go Ken Go
a resident of Midtown
on May 9, 2016 at 10:45 am

Thank you for having a spine and being willing to use it. After the scare tactics of Measure A, this will be very poorly received once voters, who don't watch these issues as closely, hear about it. This should not be a rubber stamp.

Class size cannot be swept under the rug and "talking about educational issues that are really of more importance to student and teachers" should not be held hostage to big pay raises as Igler pretty much says.

PAEA - Please show evidence of good teachers leaving PAUSD for greener pastures. I've never heard of it.


58 people like this
Posted by time for private school
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 9, 2016 at 10:47 am

We need to elect more board members like Ken Dauber and pronto or we will see people leaving the district to private middle and high schools in even higher numbers. Why live in Palo Alto and pay our ridiculous real estate prices if you can't even get class sizes of 28:1 in high school. How is that even a thing?


33 people like this
Posted by SUPPORT TEACHERS
a resident of Midtown
on May 9, 2016 at 11:04 am

Go ahead and support Dauber and watch the mass exit of experienced teachers to other higher paying districts like Mtn View / Los Altos. How far do you want the best teachers to commute to work in Palo Alto where the pressure is immense? Salaries even at 5% increase this year are not keeping up with the cost of living in and around Palo Alto. Waiving the 2 meeting requirement is not a conspiracy but rather a logical move to get Teachers the money they have earned by JUNE and NOT in next school years pay. Taxpayers always talking about footing the bill yet never a mention that their standard 3/2 bath house in now worth $2million+. You benefit from the excellent schools here and that is the MAIN reason for the cost of housing which translates to much higher real estate taxes. The increases should be passed on to the teachers. Also no mention in the article about the significant increase in health care passed onto the teachers which essentially eats a good amount of the raise! You all better wake up and support teacher pay increases before its too late and you'll find a huge shortage in qualified teachers! PAUSD is at a tipping point!!!!

As for Dauber, he should be removed from the board as quickly as possible, before it is too late!


102 people like this
Posted by Stop it
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on May 9, 2016 at 11:18 am

Ken proposed giving the teachers 2/3 of the surplus (9%) rather than the whole thing and devoting the other third to. Class size reduction. That's sensible. PAEA is greedy.


29 people like this
Posted by satisfied parent
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 9, 2016 at 11:28 am

I support the teacher pay increases, and agree with previous comments that we homeowners benefit in so many way$ from the quality work done by our teachers.

My children have had there share of less dynamic teachers, sure. But I've been so impressed by several of them, hardworking, caring multitaskers: I'd hire them into my company on the spot -- and they'd be making double what they make at PAUSD, along with not having to deal with entitled parents who have no idea what it's like to marshall the learning of every student that walks through the door no matter what baggage they bring.

I'm no union fan, either. But I support this pay increase. In the absence of an agreed upon merit-based system, this makes sense for taxpayers, parents, homeowners, teachers, children... basically anybody who has a stake in keeping this city near the top of the rankings that most interest us.


25 people like this
Posted by Susie
a resident of Midtown
on May 9, 2016 at 11:32 am

Many teachers are leaving PAUSD for other area school districts, just look at the numbers of people leaving Jordan MS. Palo Alto is an incredibly stressful place to live and work and when parents are not supportive of their neighborhood teachers, it just adds to their hardship. These raises are necessary to keep good teachers. I support it 100%!


13 people like this
Posted by another teacher
a resident of another community
on May 9, 2016 at 11:36 am

It's my understanding that next year its 4% on the salary schedule with a 1% bonus with the potential of earning an additional 1% depending upon property projections.

Also, it appears that MVLA's superintendent really likes and respects teachers there and understands the value of a stable workforce.

Web Link


14 people like this
Posted by JA3+
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 9, 2016 at 11:41 am

MVLA's salaries significantly exceed those currently on offer at PAUSD. The market for teachers is quite competitive.


34 people like this
Posted by A Parent
a resident of College Terrace
on May 9, 2016 at 11:47 am

@another teacher/@JA3+ - yes, MVLA is the top paying district in the state. Good for them. As a result, no one leaves there and few even retire. So the concern that we will lose a lot of PAUSD teachers to them is misplaced - they don't need them. The number of PAUSD teachers leaving the last 5 years for other positions is tiny - less than 5 a year.

Teachers absolutely should be paid fairly and appropriately. It is central to PAUSD's success. But this looks like it goes to far, and should be reeled back, to make room for other important things - like getting class sizes right.


76 people like this
Posted by No Sense
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on May 9, 2016 at 12:01 pm

Wow!!
A year ago it was: "Vote for Measure A or it's Pink Slips for Teachers"
So I voted for measure A.

Today its: "16 percent pay hikes over three years" and "hurry up and pass this raise before anyone (the property tax payers) notice".

I feel so lied to by the school district, the Teachers Union and particularly McGee. I will never trust them again.


19 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Greenmeadow
on May 9, 2016 at 12:09 pm

for once I agree with dauber -


6 people like this
Posted by truth
a resident of Barron Park
on May 9, 2016 at 12:12 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


18 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 9, 2016 at 12:33 pm

Teachers definitely deserve our appreciation and support. What's at stake here is whether they should get a 3% raise or a 5% raise. This feels more like a decision about balancing priorities than some sort of ideological divide.


37 people like this
Posted by Dean
a resident of another community
on May 9, 2016 at 12:36 pm

Actually, I look forward to pointing out how those of us on fixed incomes take it in the pocket book every time a minimum wage is increased, or tax supported Govt. employees, school administrators, and teachers get these large percentage income increases.

We get nothing, no 1% Social Security increase, it was 0% this year. No CalPers increase 0%, and many retirement plans simply ignore the increase factor with a fixed 0%. Still we have to pay increased taxes to support these large increases.

Doesn't anyone out there have even the slightest bit of sympathy for us? We have no way to make up the difference.

I know, my complaints go out into lala land!

.


63 people like this
Posted by Samuel L.
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 9, 2016 at 12:42 pm

Samuel L. is a registered user.

I'm tired of people trying to convince us that the teachers in PAUSD are, somehow, a cut above teachers in other districts. We've had teachers in PAUSD that came from other districts. They were nothing special. We've had good and bad teachers leave PAUSD. You could take half of the teachers from PAUSD and exchange them for teachers in San Jose or San Francisco, and wouldn't notice the difference.

Classes with 30+ students in them, middle and high schools that are way too big. Those are things that need to be addressed. I have no problem paying teachers, but let's take care of the bigger issues. The last time we had this many high school students, there were 3 high schools. Now, it's ok to cram them all into 2 schools. Passing periods is like trying to go through the terminals at O'Hare.

Every email I get from PAUSD is asking for more money to support something. PAUSD has money. It's just easier to get us to pony up more of our money so they can waste theirs.


43 people like this
Posted by full year
a resident of Midtown
on May 9, 2016 at 12:50 pm

Truth misses an important issue. The teachers get an annual salary based on 8.6 months work. That gives time for a good vacation and a summer position running a camp or other activity. Thus $120k is more like a $160k annual salary for a full year's work.


49 people like this
Posted by And more truth
a resident of Gunn High School
on May 9, 2016 at 12:54 pm

To the above posters who think the teachers are making chump change -

Most teachers we know are better off financially and live in nicer places than we do. Let's recall that their pay is for only 9.5 months and they can make even more by working during the time off. Also, this proposal gives administrators the same huge pay raise, money that won't go to reducing class sizes or student mental health as we were promised. Most of the administrators already make more than the California governor, some by six figures more. They are not working for starvation wages, the salaries and benefits are good. It's hardly fair to compare to google. The difference between the hefty 9% Dauber is proposing and this proposal, is the difference between class size reductions and money for mental health support. Our teachers will still be among the highest paid in the state.

Honestly, if we lose teachers, we could lose a lot of teachers and move to a voluntary innovative independent study model, given current resources out there. Students who need it would get the education they need and the district solves any teacher shortage issues while saving money. In fact, if we did that now, we could afford to pay the teachers more without the increases working against class size reductions. Then I might support their higher raises.

On the other hand, I think many of the administrators deserve to have their performance rated, weighted by parents who have had to deal with them the most over problems. Anyone who doesn't get an A should be fired and anyone who doesn't get an A plus should get a pay cut. We pay so much money for district admin with absolutely no accountability for bad performance, dushonesty, petty and damaging retaliation against families that even ends up in the classroom relationship, We should retain only the ones whose performance rates the hefty pay, i.e., it would be a way to let almost all of them go and good riddance to the lot of them.

Regardless of whether people think the teachers deserve 9% increase or over 20%, there should be a public comment period. [Portion removed.] Poll the special ed parents and see if more of them think they deserve an A+ or anything more than a pink slip and a "don't work with children where you go". But that will never happen. Because there is no mechanism for reducing administrator pay and holding them accountable for poor performance. Nothing.

Seniors could act by pulling together and threatening to all take their exemptions, but usually they are blithely ignorant of what is going on in the schools and subject to all the [portion removed] scaremongering, like if you don't vote for Measure A we will have to lay off 80 teachers. (Shame on the Weekly, too, for endorsing that and then not holding them accountable for the message they took from that of complete insularity from accountability.)












34 people like this
Posted by Oranges
a resident of another community
on May 9, 2016 at 12:55 pm

Just wanted to point out that comparing MVLA to PAUSD salary is not strictly true apples to apples comparison. MVLA is a high school district. High school teachers are generally paid more due to more of them having advanced degrees. PAUSD is a unified district. If comparing average high school teacher salaries alone you may not have the same results.


19 people like this
Posted by And more truth
a resident of Gunn High School
on May 9, 2016 at 12:57 pm

Oops, sorry - teacher and administrator pay is for 8.5 months, not 9.5 months. How about we get a prorated salary schedule just so that people can compare apples to apples?


62 people like this
Posted by Exodus
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 9, 2016 at 1:02 pm

Jordan MS has had a high rate of students leaving for the last 20 years, just because most of the teachers ( not all) and most of the office staff have been just awful.

Now we are seeing likewise in the high schools.

Measure A was a fat lie, and now THIS load of baloney?

There are many people in Palo Alto who have had 0-1 raise since 2008, no bonuses since 2007; yet the cost of everything keeps increases.

Sometimes it looks as if the only people getting regular raises, apart from corporate CEOs, are teachers!


56 people like this
Posted by Its not the teachers
a resident of Midtown
on May 9, 2016 at 1:02 pm

@Samuel L I couldn't agree more.

Saying that the teachers in PAUSD are the district's most precious/valuable resource is not accurate. We've had 2 kids go through the district and have seen that while there are several great teachers there are also bad ones who are mostly sitting on their tenure. There are also many mediocre teachers.

The most valuable resource for our schools (and what produces our high test scores and real estate values) is the collective intelligence/education of the Palo Alto community, not the PAUSD teachers. There are so many highly educated parents here that their kids are naturally/genetically smart, and the parents care about education and help/supplement to insure kids do well. Please tell me if the teachers are so great, why do we have the ongoing discussion about achievement gap in PAUSD for underprivileged kids?

Having said that I do support reasonable raises for the teachers. But to blow the majority of the budget surplus and use extremely high projections for property tax revenue seems irresponsible. No one should expect their raise to keep up with the cost of living increase in Palo Alto or similar Peninsula communities. This expectation is unrealistic.


57 people like this
Posted by Exodus
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 9, 2016 at 1:13 pm

We have lived in three different school districts, and I have to say that our kids had the highest number of bad ( I mean ROTTEN) teachers at Jordan and Paly.

If I had to do it over, I would have placed them in Catholic or other private schools, where teachers have far more oversight.

I agree 100% with Samuel-- the neighborhood and community made more difference than the schools.

PAUSD is highly over-rated and disappointing.


24 people like this
Posted by Dean
a resident of another community
on May 9, 2016 at 1:16 pm

I used to fall for the "we need smaller classes" sucker punch. When I was in school, we had classes of 28 - 36 students. I noticed that in almost every election since the 1940s, one of the claims in favor of getting taxes is the teachers need to have smaller classes. Well, it is now 2016, the class sizes are still 28 - 36 students! I always voted for the increased taxes, in part to reduce class sizes! What has happened to the tax monies?

Most of it has gone to increase the population of administrators, and the salaries of the top administrators. We still hear the same ploy, "we need the money to reduce class sizes".

The reality is the classes will remain the same sizes, in the same classrooms, with the same underpaid teachers, the classrooms needing paint, and the top administrators getting the top salaries increased, breathing a sigh of relief, that they can take their spouses and families in their much needed vacations to Hawaii, Europe, . . , because they got their "much needed" raises the voters gave them.

.


18 people like this
Posted by Dean
a resident of another community
on May 9, 2016 at 1:22 pm

I forgot to add, and those of us who are on fixed incomes get those fixed incomes reduced more because of the increased taxes!

THANKS to the politicians!


15 people like this
Posted by SUPPORT TEACHERS
a resident of Midtown
on May 9, 2016 at 1:44 pm

Using the comparison of 8.5 or 9.5 months is ridiculous. Teachers work 186 days (6 sick days not included which you can't really take anyways) compared to 220 for standard corp job (vacation not included 10-20 days I'll bet). Teachers pursue, on their own time often at their own dime, continuing education outside of the their workdays. Also to insinuate that they can work a 2nd job is ridiculous, yet more than SOME have to do that to make ends meet. Do you really want your students teachers moonlighting?

Further, Truth is comparing a 30 year veteran to a 1st year college grad. The starting salary for a starting grad will now be $60,000 WITH the 5% increase. C'mon people be reasonable. Also higher paying districts do attract better teachers. Be careful what you wish for saying the difference is negligible. Just don't believe that opinion. Also measure A is only part of the equation. District funding is tied to real estate taxes not just the parcel tax. AND REAL ESTATE IS BOOMING!!! Many Palo Altans are cashing in on that now!!!! Thank the great public schools not roast 'em...


Like this comment
Posted by SUPPORT TEACHERS
a resident of Midtown
on May 9, 2016 at 2:08 pm

[Post removed.]


47 people like this
Posted by Balance
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on May 9, 2016 at 2:16 pm

Giving teachers a 3% yearly raise (plus what they get for seniority and credentials, which is on top of that) seems perfectly generous. That probably ends up near 5%, which is higher than inflation. That's more than most private sector employees can expect every year. A 5% raise, plus seniority, is around 6 or 7%. That seems unnecessary, given that teachers have gotten raises of 4% the last several years.
Why put every dollar into teacher raises, and 0 dollars into anything else? Makes no sense.


12 people like this
Posted by outsider
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 9, 2016 at 2:28 pm

I think giving an ap chem teacher a raise for instance, when she stops teaching after she gives her ap final 5 weeks before the end of school makes it difficult . She actually called a 5 week prep and kids in her class do not even have to check in. They are free to go and do as they please and so is she. No one knows where any of these chem PALY students are or what they are doing. This is unsafe and very unfair that this teacher gets a raise when she is cheating the district by about an 1/8 of her total year of work. Also, the teachers that work twice and hard deserve more of a pay raise or maybe hers.


3 people like this
Posted by JA3+
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 9, 2016 at 2:31 pm

"So the concern that we will lose a lot of PAUSD teachers to them is misplaced - they don't need them"

Not based on data over the last several years; MVLA has hired a fair number of teachers of late. Top teachers up for potential hire at PAUSD are recently, at times, also under consideration by MVLA. At present, the salary spread is material.


35 people like this
Posted by Stop It
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 9, 2016 at 2:35 pm

Giving teachers a 3% annual raise as Ken Dauber sensibly suggests would yield a 9% raise over the next 2 years, plus the 4.5% they got last year. That is totally a nice as he says "healthy" sized raise. Unlike the gluttony of he 16.5% that this board (other than Dauber) voted them in closed session.

What really burns me is that the whole time Max and the board were putting on the dog and pony show for the public with their "innovative" Wayfinder school and the "millions" Melissa Caswell said she wanted to spend on innovation in our current high schools, and the achievement gap and counseling and all the other good things -- the WHOLE TIME they were secretly running around giving all the money for those things to PAEA and now they want to ram it through on one meeting. Well sure they do.

So the whole thing was just an act. Look at all this stuff we are going to do. NOT. Look at the fun things you can have. NOT. We will reduce class sizes. NOT. Math tutors. NOT. Counseling. NOT.

What were they thinking? Are they that dumb that they don't know that once you give the money in salary increases it is no longer there to do other things?

Speaking of which, am I the only one that is worried about the voodoo economics here, with the 9.4% property tax assumption and the spending of reserves? If I read this correctly, we are actually in a 2.4 million dollar deficit. After the greatest surplus in history. We are in a deficit. Wow. Wow. Wow.

[Portion removed.]


9 people like this
Posted by Alphonso
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on May 9, 2016 at 2:39 pm

With the typical monthly rate for a one bedroom apartment rising $200 each year, this increase (after taxes) just covers the higher cost of housing and nothing more.


30 people like this
Posted by Stop It
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 9, 2016 at 2:47 pm

If the goal is to pay teachers enough through their compensation to cover the cost of housing in Palo Alto then we should just give up now and turn off the lights.

There is no way that any district can afford to pay through salary sufficient wages to enable teachers to afford a house or rental in Palo Alto. That is an insane idea that will bankrupt the district. The problems causing the housing crisis are too big to solve through teacher salaries. Unless you plan to pay teachers 500K the housing issues cannot be a consideration that drives you to push the school into a deficit.

The job of the board is to take care of students first. Taking care of teachers with respectable increases is part of that. But beyond a certain point it's a fool's errand.


19 people like this
Posted by Balance
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on May 9, 2016 at 2:49 pm

The repeated use of MVLA as an example is really a red herring. They pay $20k more than everybody else, and they probably get whoever they want. But they are high school only, and have fewer students than Paly and Gunn. They don't have many teachers leaving and so don't have a large number of openings. They just don't have a big effect on us. We don't need to dump millions of dollars a year into matching them (which we can't do anyways).


Like this comment
Posted by A Parent
a resident of College Terrace
on May 9, 2016 at 3:12 pm

@JA3+, looking at MVLA's open certificated positions on their web site, I counted 7 open full-time teacher positions. Some hiring has already been done already. Do you have a data source you can share?


38 people like this
Posted by Cecilia
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on May 9, 2016 at 3:49 pm

Just realize teachers are leaving NOT because of the salary. They are likely leaving since the large class sizes make it overwhelming to keep up. The money needs to first be put to reduce class size so that the teachers stay and are paid a good salary. The pay in PAUSD is quite good, especially when you compare it almost any other school district.

The ideal world would be small class sizes to make teaching manageable and enjoyable and provide a good salary.

As a teacher outside of PAUSD, think about the workload of 30-33 students per class. Sorry, life is way to short to be doing this kind of crazy work. Address the class size issue and you will see teachers wanting to come to PAUSD and remain.

Please know that when there are large class sizes, the teacher is overwhelmed, class room management is challenging and THEN parents start complaining about the teacher. Who would want that?

Let's peel back the onion and deal with the underlying challenge for our teachers.


34 people like this
Posted by Terman parent
a resident of Barron Park
on May 9, 2016 at 4:14 pm

@Cecilia: Exactly my experience based on my students at Terman and Gunn. If Dauber's right that a smaller but still good raise would produce 34 new teachers, that is the right way to go. Why not put the money towards something that will help both students AND teachers?


33 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 9, 2016 at 4:32 pm

We have some great teachers here and I think we want to keep them. It is difficult to afford to be able to live not just in Palo Alto but in this region. I have to say that we should be able to attract and keep our good teachers.

But we have some terrible teachers. We have some teachers who were great but are losing it. We have some teachers who have their own agenda which has nothing to do with teaching our kids the subject they are being paid to teach. We have some teachers who are marking time while they are climbing the ladder to who knows where. We have some teachers who take pride in only giving a couple of As, being rigorous and think that this is a sign of how good they are.

Unless we can get rid of some of the awful, terrible teachers, then I am fully against this pay raise. Some of these teachers are just taking the glory while their students are being tutored to actually learn anything. If we are going to pay teachers to be excellent then we must give them annual evaluations and if they don't make the grade they should get the boot. Tenure is a terrible hindrance to having great teachers here.


28 people like this
Posted by Strategic
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 9, 2016 at 7:00 pm

The community is being played for saps.

The teachers know we value smaller class sizes, and they know that it is harder to justify a raise if that happens first.

So they negotiate the raise based on current conditions, knowing we will 'find' the money for smaller class sizes later. Then ta-da!

They get more pay for less work!

This should be avoided at all cost.

FIRST meet community goals, then pay salaries commensurate with those conditions. [Portion removed.]


3 people like this
Posted by Legal Expenses to $515,000
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on May 9, 2016 at 7:08 pm

District is requesting Board of Education approval to increase legal fees to $515,000, change Special Education Law firm and continue with Lazano Smith law firm.
Web Link


43 people like this
Posted by Strategic
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 9, 2016 at 7:23 pm

...and you can see why the Admin is pushing large raises ahead of class size reductions: the admin get the same raise!!!


Whereas if we did class size reduction first, then smaller raises, then admin get less money. And they have no different workload, as they don't benefit from reduced class size.

It is this conflict of interest which is why we never get smaller classes.

Sad. Corrupt.


4 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of College Terrace
on May 9, 2016 at 8:06 pm

Dear teachers
Just know max [portion removed] could give you better raises and pay but they would rather pay for attorney fees with special Ed moms and dads.....over what oh simple things like extra speech, ot, different aide, etc. These people are not telling you bec they would rather do this than collaborate. I assure you. Sad but true.....yes they will actually fight for little items than to pay you extra 1 percent.
Shame shame and shame....yes even Maxx...I have heard his words BUT also seen his actions. Actions speak louder.

A mom with plenty of money and advocacy skills


26 people like this
Posted by common sense
a resident of Midtown
on May 9, 2016 at 9:04 pm

The public needs to be briefed on

1) How much underfunded today are pension funds? and what will these raises do in terms creating greater liability for the pensions - this is a complex analysis that requires analyzing the employee population, etc.

2) What are bench marks for administrators that say they should get the same pay increase as teachers?

3) Property tax revenues increase though sales and construction; sales are predictable, but what is the construction permit pipeline that supports such a large growth in property tax revenues. The city passed a growth cap on office development, for example, which would affect the amount of office construction.

4) The board and Max need to explain how all the Measure A parcel tax promises are going to be funded.

These salary increases represent a structural change in operating expenses, and should not be rushed into.


10 people like this
Posted by Observer
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 10, 2016 at 10:08 am

The weekly will not let the truth come about regarding Prop A money, and will probably censor my comment. Yeah for free speech and honest discourse!


10 people like this
Posted by Non-Teacher
a resident of another community
on May 10, 2016 at 12:08 pm

The cost of living in this area is increasing by more than this raise(cost of living adjustment) that the teachers are getting. We all pay taxes and those taxes are used for stuff we like and stuff we don't like our tax money going to. That's just the way it is. Get over it. We need good teachers and the teachers need to get a reasonable living wage.


4 people like this
Posted by MVLA Data
a resident of Los Altos
on May 10, 2016 at 1:22 pm

MVLA is always looking for teachers. Los Altos High hired at least 15 teachers this year, including five math teachers. The previous year, they hired 21: Web Link


23 people like this
Posted by 3-3-3 is better for teachers
a resident of Southgate
on May 10, 2016 at 1:53 pm

Ken Dauber just sent out a new blog post that explains why this contract is a bad deal for teachers AND for students. He analyzes all the salary data and concludes that giving 3% per year over the next three years instead of 5% then 4% then 3% as this contract does would save 4.2 million per year forever, allowing the district to hire 35 new teachers starting next year.

That is 6 fewer students in every single high school class.

That is 30 fewer students in every high school teaching load.

According to Ken this would mean less stressed teachers and less stressed kids. I think we all know why connectedness is important by now in Palo Alto.

3-3-3 has my vote. Why didn't the rest of the board support it? Why did they give away the entire surplus? Is it because they were all except for Ken endorsed by the union?


16 people like this
Posted by 3-3-3 is better for teachers
a resident of Southgate
on May 10, 2016 at 1:54 pm

Here's Ken's post: Web Link

I'm glad we have at least one truly independent board member.


19 people like this
Posted by Less is more
a resident of Downtown North
on May 10, 2016 at 2:24 pm

To the Board: One of your members is making great sense. PLEASE listen to him. Less IS more - and plenty. Teachers benefit by smaller class sizes and the funding of other important campus and cultural needs (as well as being assured of guaranteed increases over the next few years - more than other industries are offering).

Board, this is a very big vote. Ken's 3+3+3 plan makes sense for where we are and what is needed. Everybody really CAN win with this plan.

PLEASE.................come to his senses.


5 people like this
Posted by Wow
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 10, 2016 at 2:33 pm

Wow is a registered user.

@MVLA data - that's a helpful post. Of those 21 hires in 2014, it looks like none of them came from PAUSD. Seems there is a large pool to applicants for them to choose from, not surprising since they pay way more than anyone else. Usually best not to chase salary practices like that.


12 people like this
Posted by Alphonso
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on May 10, 2016 at 2:59 pm

Seems like a climate survey of the teachers is in order - looking at both positive and negative factors. As I help people prepare for the first Gunn graduation and reflecting back over the past 60 years of PAUSD (the years I know) I would guess one of the largest "negatives" teachers face today are the growing number of Overly Entitled Parents. So as people consider getting rid of bad teachers you might also want to get rid of the bad parents also. I suppose it is always easier to blame the SCHOOL or the TEACHERS for anything "wrong" around you but you might consider accepting some personal responsibility for what goes on. The benefit of the three year contract is that it lasts three years so people can focus on other things - Dauber's approach will only succeed in a continuation of one year contracts - in the end the teachers will likely get just as much but they will have another reason to be annoyed with the District. As for the headline of this story - how is this a "big pay raise" if the raises have been the same in the past two years.


9 people like this
Posted by And more truth
a resident of Gunn High School
on May 10, 2016 at 4:01 pm

@Alphonso,
I think you missed that these are PUBLIC schools. You don't get to choose who the parents are, whether they are part of gangs, smoke and drink, can only speak through an interpreter, have no respect at all for teachers, never show up, never volunteer, never give millions of dollars in donations so that teachers have to buy supplies with their own money, and maybe use frequent four letter words in conferences. Oh wait, Palo Alto nerdy parents are about the most easy parents in the entire effing planet. Any teacher with such a bad attitude is more likely creating the stereotype by treating parents badly. Treat the parents badly enough, fail to communicate, bully their children, etc, and any parent worth their salt is going to seem "overly entitled". Having raised and given plenty of money to our schools, and worked with parent volunteers, I would say probably the best thing about this district are the thoughtful, generous, smart parents and families - any teacher who knows so little about working with people that they think like you do about such easy, compliant, educated parents should get out of education.

Secondly, will you please stop treating thie attempts to solve problems in the district like it's a "blame" game? Only shallow administrators who don't really care about improving things keep harping on whether finding and solving problems is about blame. [Portion removed.] When kids spend all day in school, and take home work that controls the rest of their waking hours, parents have an interest in ensuring the proper functioning of the district. They have an interest when administrators might be less than honest or competent, or that teachers are getting A plus salaries for C minus performance.

[Portion removed.]


12 people like this
Posted by Hold on
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on May 10, 2016 at 5:37 pm

Ok, I support teachers, but hold on it...I need to check with my company to see if I can get 16% salary increase in the next 3 years no matter I will do a good job or not. LOL, I think this increase is TOO high! PAUSD should put the priority to reduce class size, at least a balance way to spend money. I bet there will be another Parcel TAX soon because of "without it, pick slip to teachers"....


6 people like this
Posted by Quick fix?
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 10, 2016 at 5:47 pm

Alphonso , teachers were formally surveyed this year - parents too. Would be good to know if the district office's suggestion to raise 'em high and raise 'em quick comes from something that emerged from teacher responses. Or not. Maybe they're just feeling generous.

In the meantime, some teachers have been extremely vocal about their high level of dstress this year - specifically, they have said, related to PAUSD's move to full inclusion classrooms without providing teachers with the training or resources to do so effectively. They are STRESSED!

Is the promise of guaranteed and sizable increases a way to placate frustrated, sad and overwhelmed teachers? And quickly? Will that keep them quiet - or keep them from leaving? A short cut instead of doing the heavy lifting of what is required and what SHOULD be done to support teachers, teaching, and students of all abilities? Paying teachers with our tax $$ is definitely faster. And guess what? Admin gets a raise too! Yes, even after all of last year's promotions!! And there's still more money to spend! Disgusting. Suggesting a waive of the two meeting rule to do so just adds to the insult.


7 people like this
Posted by Mom
a resident of Midtown
on May 10, 2016 at 6:19 pm


I fully support raises for teachers. But can we save at least some of the extra $ for the underfunded pension system for our teachers? Or is this a collective CA problem that we can't solve for our city?

Compensation should also show pension contributions (actually funded but also unfunded).

In addition, we really need to reduce class size, as the other folks mention. Agreed there are great teachers, but we have had very bad luck after elementary school (and some bad luck in elementary school).


5 people like this
Posted by A parent
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on May 19, 2016 at 6:05 pm

I cannot think of many jobs that are better than being a teacher here. Don't be fooled by the common misperceptions that teachers are "low paid". They are not! Remember they only work 8.6 months and they go home before 5pm. Many teachers here don't even look at students' homework. Which Silicon Valley company can pay you that much for that little work hours, AND, NO performance review! You can work whatever you want, however you want, with no consequences! Never need to worry about a pay cut. Never need to worry about being fired, even if you don't perform.

Every time when they want to raise tax, they tell us that this is for our kids. Every time after the tax is raised, they use most of the extra money to raise teacher's pay, especially the fat pay for administrators! And they lie. For measure A, they said it's ONLY $200 a year. In reality, it's >$860. Just most people rarely look at details.

I support to pay anyone by the quality of work they deliver, including teachers. I don't know how much we can attribute the high quality of Palo Alto education to teachers. I think parents and students themselves should take most of the credit, not the teachers. If we pay teachers by their performance, I am all for it. We should pay high bonus for good teachers, and issue pay cuts or pink slips to bad teachers. But now, simply everyone gets huge pay raise. During my entire Silicon Valley career years, working in extremely intensive and high pressure high tech field, I have never gotten a raise more than 3 or 5% a year, while I work more than 12 or even 16 hours a day for a whole year, with only 20 days vacation. If it's so easy to get the good pay being a teacher especially with no pressure of performance review, I am thinking to become a teacher. I swear I am much more qualified than most of the teachers here. So don't always threat us that teaches will leave if we don't do this or that.


6 people like this
Posted by sighing
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 20, 2016 at 9:27 am

sighing is a registered user.

If teachers are given a raise, completely, COMPLETELY DENY a raise to any and all administrators!

The amount of work they do does not justify their current pay rate, which is far too high already!


4 people like this
Posted by A veteran teacher asks: How hard can it be?
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 20, 2016 at 10:40 am

@A Parent:

I urge you to step up and put some skin in the game if you think teaching is such a cushy gig and you would surely be better at it than most of the teachers here. If you're so qualified, we can all assume you have a CA teaching credential (usually a multi-year endeavor) as well as a Masters on top of your BA, since a lot of our teachers have that. By the way, those credentials and degrees all have to be in a subject area of your choice and expertise. Personally I have two additional single subject credentials, which meant more credit hours and a series of pretty demanding professional certification exams early in my career.

We could debate the merits and wisdom of pay raises for teachers (and admins!) until the cows come home. Personally I never complain about my compensation and I love my job. But it is without question THE most demanding job I have ever had, and I've had a lot of different jobs (teaching was not my first career). The rewards are richer than any man's purse, but the demands are high as well. I have contact with 140+ kids a week and am expected to deliver an ongoing challenging education to each one of them fairly, efficiently, personally, compassionately, wisely, judiciously, and rigorously.

Just don't for one moment think that this is an easy job. A lot of people around here seem to think that, but could not be farther from the truth. Walk the walk if you're going to talk the talk. Otherwise it's just another contribution to global warming.


3 people like this
Posted by Gunn High Parent
a resident of Gunn High School
on May 21, 2016 at 4:47 pm

It makes sense that teachers get salary increase year by year, but 16% increase at a time makes no sense at all. In addition, some high school teachers such as a few Gunn High School teachers and counselors do not help students grow, instead, their exist is to show their authority and to assess students instead of teaching. They require students self study, so they do not teach in class. Those teachers should get fired, let alone salary increase. Please link salary increase to teachers' performance and students' evaluation.


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