News

Teachers again turn out to call for pay raise

SRVEA members wear red, hold signs, speak to school board in support of union negotiators

More than 100 San Ramon Valley teachers packed into the district boardroom Tuesday night to implore the school board to agree to their union's proposal for a 6% raise.

It marked the second straight board meeting with dozens of teachers wearing red in support of their union negotiators. But this time, the turnout was higher and seven teachers addressed the board, sharing their personal stories and insights about why the salary increase is needed.

"This is just the beginning. More will come if things don't change," Allison Sass, French teacher at Danville's Monte Vista High, told the school board Tuesday night during public comment on non-agenda items.

Board president Greg Marvel responded to the teachers by saying the board could not dialogue about the salaries with the attendees that night because the issue was not listed on the meeting agenda and salary negotiations must be done in private.

"What we can tell you is that this board has heard you. Teachers and the rest of the staff in this district are what have made us one of the best districts in this state. We know that," Marvel said in roughly two minutes of remarks after the teachers spoke.

"What you're asking for isn't enough. You deserve more," he added. "But, if we gave you what you deserve, the county and state would take us over, frankly. So it's a reality of the budget situation in this state and the reality of what we get per-student compared to other states."

The school board discussed the employee bargaining talks during a scheduled conference with district labor negotiators in closed session Tuesday evening before the open-session meeting began, according to district spokeswoman Elizabeth Graswich.

The two sides' offers remain the same as before the board's mid-December meeting, when the San Ramon Valley Education Association (SRVEA) had its previous room-filling turnout at which only the union president spoke.

The teachers union has asked for a 6% salary increase, plus a one-time payment of 4% of members' annual salary this year.

The district bargaining team countered with an offer of a 4% salary raise and 2% one-time payment, plus other incentives.

District negotiators think the SRVEA-proposed percentages -- when applied across the board to all employees, as is district practice -- would leave the district fiscally vulnerable in the coming years, according to superintendent Mary Shelton.

The teachers who crowded into the board meeting room Tuesday night disagreed.

They filled chairs, lined walls and a handful sat cross-legged on the floor while others watched through doors from the hallway. The teachers wore red clothing or accents, including "SRVEA Strong!" pins, in a show of unison, and a couple dozen held signs with phrases such as "We will not accept less," "SRVEA strong for kids" and "invest in teachers and earning."

Seven spoke to the board over the course of 30 minutes, some saying they thought the district has the money available to afford the 6% raise and is using budget estimates that are too conservative. Others said they felt bullied or undervalued because of the negotiations.

"We deserve to get a better pay raise. And when you value the teachers, you value the kids. It shows up," said Wayne Gishi, fourth-grade teacher at Alamo's Rancho Romero Elementary. "And when you devalue us ... you're going to end up (not only) losing the experience, the knowledge base, but your future and the future of these kids. And you don't want to sacrifice that."

Danielle Alm, math teacher and department chair at Monte Vista, challenged the notion that local teachers are paid a livable wage to begin with.

"We're relying on teachers like me: You can pay me peanuts and I'm not going anywhere. I love my job and I'll do it as long as I can and I'll never leave this district. Except, I'm getting pushed out," Alm said, citing the struggle of she and her husband to rent an apartment in the Valley and save money despite both working full-time.

"So we get to make a choice: Either I stay here and work for these students, for these families, for the next 10 years and I have nothing to show for it, or I can go to a district that I can afford to live in," she added.

The district's currently salary ranges resulted in troubles finding new full-time teachers at the start of this school year, forcing schools to fill classrooms with rotating substitutes or regular teachers giving up their prep periods, according to several speakers.

"Some people feel like being a teacher is kind of a 'wife job' that you can do if somebody else in your house has a 'good job' -- and it's not," Sass said, employing air quotes. "We are equal breadwinners (or) only breadwinners in our family, so please ... show that you respect us and please accept what we're asking for, the 6% more."

Ann Katzburg, head of SRVEA, addressed the school board later in the meeting during the association presidents' comments period.

"During our lean times, our members did not receive a raise nor did our bargaining team propose an increase because we understood that our district budget could not afford to pay our teachers more," Katzburg said. "But now, the tide has turned ... We know there is money coming in."

"SRVEA's offer is very fair. It's affordable. It is what will attract teachers to our district," she told the board. "We would really appreciate you investing in your human capital."

Tami Castelluccio, president of the California School Employees Association's local chapter, told the board her union of classified workers stands behind SRVEA in its negotiations but noted that her members are upset and think they're "treated differently" than SRVEA and the other classified union.

"The reason we feel frustrated is because although we want to continue to move forward on resolving these issues, it seems that sometimes when we make agreements with the district, we seem to take a step back. We are continually reviewing issues that were already discussed and addressed," said Castelluccio, office manager at Danville's Los Cerros Middle School.

The teachers trickled out of the boardroom as the 2-1/2-hour meeting progressed, but two board members addressed the negotiations toward the end of the meeting during the "board members' reports" part of the agenda -- when two people remained in the audience.

"I appreciate the large turnout tonight," Denise Jennison said. "I believe that we want what our teachers want, and I've never sat on a board that wants more for their teachers than we do."

She added, "I would encourage all teachers to make sure that they are working from factual information when they're making presentations and discussions either at their sites or with other teachers, that we're sure we're working with the right numbers when we are having those discussions. I think it's absolutely crucial."

Marvel also spoke, saying, "We as a board are absolutely committed to doing everything that we can for teachers, but this board cannot -- and I don't believe ever will -- give that which it does not have the resources to give because there is a consequence to that. And that is the county and the state takes you over."

"There is absolutely an enemy in public education," he said. "It's a state that is unwilling to provide a financial and tax structure that gives the students of this state an adequate level of funding for a proper education in the 21st century," he added. "And that's the fundamental issue that everybody in this room should be dealing with, frankly, rather than fighting over the crumbs the state decides to give us."

Marvel wore a red sweater vest during the meeting, a color choice he said he made to show support for teachers and a fiscally responsible raise for them and all district employees. He was the only board member donning red.

The district and SRVEA have two more bargaining sessions scheduled "in the coming weeks," Graswich said Friday. The district and its unions are in salary negotiations for the current school year, as has been their practice, with new salaries to be applied retroactive to July 1.

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Comments

13 people like this
Posted by Jaime
a resident of Danville
on Jan 18, 2016 at 8:02 am

Go south, down to San Jose and in between, like Fremont, and you will find that SRVUSD salaries are among the lowest. Sad.


14 people like this
Posted by PSMacintosh
a resident of Danville
on Jan 18, 2016 at 11:02 am

Then let the teachers teach in San Jose and Fremont, if they want.
Maybe the teaching "conditions" are different there. And the housing costs slightly higher too.

Grass is always greener.....

Maybe it's right that there be a difference in pay between here and elsewhere.
This idea that pay should be "equal" everywhere for everyone is a ploy.

Unions argue to raise the pay for teachers to the highest rate of the surrounding school districts and hopefully higher than their neighbors.
Then that school district becomes the new standard for why all the other school districts need to raise their pay rates.

It's a never-ending argument that just goes up.


10 people like this
Posted by San Ramon Resident
a resident of San Ramon
on Jan 18, 2016 at 11:34 am

The overall pay package should be considered - not just the salary. The SRVUSD teachers receive some of the best benefits package in the state - especially when you consider their medical coverage. How much over actual salary does their benefit package cost the district?


15 people like this
Posted by Peter Kluget
a resident of Danville
on Jan 18, 2016 at 11:36 am

Jeremy, "dialogue" is a noun, not a verb. And it makes a crappy verb, so don't try to convert it into one. Try "engage in a dialogue."

Peggy, no one put a gun to your head and made you move here, so I'd appreciate it if you would stop whining about the key element in the one thing, above all else, which makes our property values higher than they are in other communities: good public schools. You don't do a single thing to improve the quality of life in Danville, while teachers do. Who the heck do you think you are to lecture to them?

I always love reading people post here about how much the people they consider inferior to their own exalted selves "should" be paid. They never complain about the compensation of CEOs or hedge fund managers or how much folks who live off their inheritances make, only about people who show up to non-sexy jobs like teaching kids and driving buses.

Way to represent the smug, clueless "haves."


14 people like this
Posted by Danville Mom
a resident of Danville
on Jan 18, 2016 at 1:45 pm

Oh my goodness, Peter. Are you a teacher? Here's a link to the word "dialogue" and proper use of the word. It is both a noun and a verb.

Web Link

Educate yourself.

Teacher pay is no secret. It's listed on every district website. One should not decide to teach only to then complain about the pay and benefits. It's about choice.

San Ramon Valley teachers are spoiled. Just say NO to teacher whining.


5 people like this
Posted by C. R. Mudgeon
a resident of Danville
on Jan 18, 2016 at 5:07 pm

Just as in any salary/benefits negotiation, the district needs to pay what is necessary to attract and retain qualified teachers - no more, no less. If lots of teachers ARE leaving our district, to move to other districts in the area, that would argue for more of an increase. But I don't get the sense that that is the case.

Perhaps this makes it seem as if teachers are "commodities". I know that is not really the case. But since this is a union negotiation, for one deal that will apply to all teachers (and also non-teachers) in the district, the union members are effectively saying that they WANT to be treated as commodities - one deal fits all.

Personally, if I were a teacher, I would prefer a performance-based salary administration process, that paid the best teachers more, and gave them bigger raises, and the more marginal teachers relatively less, just as is done in any business or private enterprise. Because I would be trying to be at the top of the ratings list, and therefore making more money. But, if all of the teachers are happy getting the same deal, so be it....


13 people like this
Posted by Teacher
a resident of Diablo
on Jan 18, 2016 at 6:49 pm

The next step for the union is "work to rule". Parents will flip out. Teachers just working the minimum contract hours. No grading, no preparing lesson plans, no answering snotty, rude parent emails, no extra help for kids, etc. Oh wow, it's 2:45, bye Felicia! See you at 8am tomorrow.


15 people like this
Posted by Danville Mom
a resident of Danville
on Jan 18, 2016 at 8:17 pm

Since when do teachers respond to parents anyway? Since when do they give kids extra help? Parking lots are cleared out after the bell rings.

If teachers did their job there wouldn't be so many tutoring centers on every corner.

Do the job or find a new one.


10 people like this
Posted by Marm
a resident of San Ramon
on Jan 18, 2016 at 10:21 pm

DVM: are you a straight-razor-totin' woman? You seem to have the 'nasty' and 'spiteful' parts down pretty well.


9 people like this
Posted by PamelaK
a resident of San Ramon
on Jan 19, 2016 at 6:45 am

I feel sorry for her kids. And the kids who have to sit by her kids. We all know the type.


14 people like this
Posted by Danville Mom
a resident of Danville
on Jan 19, 2016 at 8:04 am

Rather than believing the mythology spouted by the teachers union, try engaging in some critical thinking.

After 18 years of sending kids through this district, it is the rare teacher that does anything outside of their contracted hours and requirements.

Earning 47K with completely free healthcare and wonderful benefits straight out of college is not chump change. The district has posted this on their website for many years. If you don't want to make that as a teacher, then choose another profession.

But don't go through all that school, training, and effort only to whine about your pay. I hope you aren't training your own children to behave that way.

A new generation of whiners who feel entitled.


3 people like this
Posted by P. Dant
a resident of Blackhawk
on Jan 19, 2016 at 8:12 am

Actually, Marm, it's "wretched" rather than "nasty." Web Link

Still works, though. Thanks for leading me back to that song.


9 people like this
Posted by Danville Mom
a resident of Danville
on Jan 19, 2016 at 8:16 am

When the only argument includes name-calling and not critical thinking.

I've met your type and your type of kids.


5 people like this
Posted by Marm
a resident of San Ramon
on Jan 19, 2016 at 8:41 am

Terms like 'wretched' and 'spiteful' -- even 'straight razor-totin'' are adjectives modifying the noun 'woman,' as which you have self-identified, DVM. Names-called are nouns.

My complaint with you is your condescending, angry rhetoric in this thread -- ordering PK to educate himself, disparaging teachers generally and commanding them to do their jobs, and chastising parents as raising whiners. If you annoy people before even trying to get to your points, you will convince exactly nobody of your very debatable propositions.

Now, if I called you a latter-day Leona Helmsley, well THAT would be name-calling, so I will refrain from it. But please at least be aware that most Type-A's die bitter and alone.


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Kluget
a resident of Danville
on Jan 19, 2016 at 9:17 am

Danville Mom wants to incent me to verb nouns.

Web Link

I decline. As do most people who view the English language language as a tool for communication instead of a means of generating mindless, ugly biz-speak.

Web Link


9 people like this
Posted by Danville Mom
a resident of Danville
on Jan 19, 2016 at 9:24 am

Right. If you can't argue the issue, you decide to divert attention to a personal attack.

Rather than complain about my perspective, try to offer a different one.

I've met your kind and your kids.

Try thinking for once.

DM


5 people like this
Posted by Danville
a resident of Danville
on Jan 19, 2016 at 9:36 am

"Teacher" list her residence as Diablo...Undercompensated?


9 people like this
Posted by Confuzzled
a resident of San Ramon
on Jan 19, 2016 at 10:24 am

To Danville Mom:

Wow! You sent your kids to SRVUSD schools for 18 years? What a poor parent you are. Why didn't you move? It was your choice to live here. Just as it is a teachers choice to teach here. Bad mom for allowing your kids a poor education.


16 people like this
Posted by Skooter
a resident of Alamo
on Jan 19, 2016 at 11:55 am

To Danville Mom:

1. Parking lots are cleared because over-privileged students have driven their vehicles off campus.

2. Tutoring centers are a result of slacker parenting and kids who "just want to get by".

3. Teachers respond to students and parents who are polite.

So become a teacher and enjoy all the perks of dealing with spoiled children and snarky parents, with no additional hazardous duty compensation.


2 people like this
Posted by Mom of four
a resident of Danville
on Jan 19, 2016 at 8:31 pm

Wow! I'm glad my kids will be out of school soon! You are all an embarrassment to this community!


10 people like this
Posted by District Teacher
a resident of San Ramon
on Jan 19, 2016 at 9:00 pm

It's so disheartening to read the articles on this site related to our school district and see the comments. I don't know why I keep doing it.

A few facts to point out: Last year was the first year in 8 years that SRVUSD teachers received a raise from the district. The 6% being asked for is in recognition of that.

I have worked in the district for 13 years. I can afford a one bedroom apartment in San Ramon. Let that sink in a bit. I love my school and my community. But it is so very hard for many teachers in this district to truly be a part of this community and live here. Salary increases aren't the total solution, but they help a bit. What we truly need in this area is affordable housing for teachers. Why should we play such an integral part of this community and yet not afford to be able to live here?


46 people like this
Posted by Andy Williams
a resident of San Ramon Valley High School
on Jan 19, 2016 at 11:04 pm

My name is Andy Williams and I teach at SRVHS. This is my tenth year.

I like my job. I'd like to be able to live in Danville someday. It's a great town. Unfortunately we all know teachers will never be able to live in Danville based on their pay. Some of us are lucky and have spouses or partners who have jobs that pay substantially more than us.

There's always going to be this Darwinian argument about "hey you made your choice" and "not everyone deserves to live in a nice area" and that's all well and good.

But please, "Danville Mom", don't ever tell me I clear out when the bell rings. Don't ever insult me or my profession by saying we don't give kids extra help. You weren't there all last week when I was working all through lunch with my students. You weren't there when I delivered all their art work to the gallery after hours or picked it up over vacation. You didn't see my colleague give make up tests after school. You don't spend and extra 90 hours a month working for a student club. Don't pretend you have the slightest idea what it's like to show up an hour early to prep for the day, to see those eyes roll at at you when they walk in late, to not make it to the bathroom all day, skip a meal, go to multiple meetings, respond to 30 emails, coach a dozen students on a concept they're struggling with, manage the inventory of your supplies, stress about the money that doesn't exist to buy the supplies for the program that isn't funded by anyone but generous parents, and stick around until 5 to prep for the next day and then bring all your grading home so that you can pick up your baby from daycare with enough time to feed her, bathe her, and put her to bed before you get a chance to eat yourself.

But then again you don't see them smile. You don't see the look of satisfaction when they succeed. You don't get funny nicknames because they care enough about you to make them. You've never had a group of teenage girls come up to you and say "Thank you, no one has ever stood up for us like you just did". You've never had an entire class laugh at your jokes. You've never had 38 pairs of eyes stair at you in awe because they see how much you care about their well being. And you've never had those 38 kids file out your door and all say "thank you."

Maybe if you did, you wouldn't make such outlandish comments while hiding behind anonymity. Feeling like those who serve your community are so far beneath you that they don't deserve competitive wages is exactly what creates the stereotype of "Danville Mom." Thankfully I've met enough moms in Danville to know that it isn't always the case but you're certainly not helping it.

Just remember, you need us because you wouldn't last a day in our shoes.


25 people like this
Posted by Terri Lee
a resident of Danville
on Jan 20, 2016 at 4:23 am

I am floored and embarrassed with the disrespect shown to our teachers in our community!
Borh my daughters have attended K-12 in our district. One is a college graduate the other a Junior in college
Behind every great student you will find dedicated teachers and dedicated parents
Teachers should be given more than 6%. They should be paid as if they could throw a football, hit a home run,dribble a basketball or pretend they are a character in a movie or TV show. In Connecticut some teachers even took a bullet for their students Costing them their lives
We leave our children in their hands 5 days a week, 6-7 hours a day. Where are the parents? Work,home,yoga,coffee and a few helping out at our kids school. One thought is if you can not see what our teachers do for our children and us as parents maybe you should home school your children !


10 people like this
Posted by Get Real
a resident of San Ramon
on Jan 20, 2016 at 7:35 am

I've seen the good teachers and the bad teachers. Yes, there are both. When it comes to salary, please remember that you only work nine months a year. Not a bad salary for nine months...with basically free health care. Stop complaining. Most people haven't seen their wages go up either.


9 people like this
Posted by Tom Cushing
a resident of Alamo
on Jan 20, 2016 at 8:20 am

Some guy wrote something for Get Real, a few years back:

"As the story goes, a unionized public employee, a middle manager, and a Wall Street CEO are seated at a table, with a dozen cookies on it. The CEO takes 11 cookies, looks at the manager and says, "Watch-out for that union guy -- he wants a piece of your cookie."
...
Remarkably, however, instead of bargaining for more cookies, or advocating that the wealthiest few acknowledge their good fortune in fairer taxes -- the middle class has turned instead on public employee unions -- groups who have struck better deals and thus stayed closer-to-even. All motion is relative; the sinking middle class blames its nearest neighbors, who seem to be floating slightly higher. The wealthy are, apparently, above the fray. It's a dismal quarrel over the last cookie. Web Link

If your wages have not kept pace, Your quarrel is Not with the teachers.


5 people like this
Posted by Louie
a resident of Danville
on Jan 20, 2016 at 8:41 am

Parents who complain incessantly frequently come from two camps. (1) They have poorly behaved children who receive some form of disciplinary action, even a verbal reprimand, that the entitled child and parent feel is "unfair." (2) They have solid "B"/"C" students and the parents want the child to receive an inflated grade.

Parental voluntarism drops off in the middle and higher grades. I sincerely recommend that parents spend a bit of time offering their support in hallways or classrooms. What an eye opener that would be!

I taught your children and I coached them in youth soccer. Where were you?


8 people like this
Posted by Frank
a resident of San Ramon
on Jan 20, 2016 at 8:47 am

To Get Real:

Yes, teachers only work 9 months. But, they do not get paid for the 3 they are off. In fact, they get "NO PAID VACATION" at all. What job does not give at least a week paid vacation? Teachers are paid based on the number of days they work. They have to set aside extra money from those days to cover the days when they are not paid. Just wanted to clarify.


21 people like this
Posted by District Teacher
a resident of San Ramon
on Jan 20, 2016 at 9:23 am

Thank you Andy Williams for everything you said. I could not have said it better myself.

As for the notion that we work 9 months out of the year, the only month I am not at my school site is in July. Teachers do not get paid for that month either. It is definitely something we have to take into account when it comes to our budgeting for the year. That is why many teachers teach summer school or do other work during the summer time. Furthermore, many teachers use summer as an opportunity to catch up on professional development opportunities.


6 people like this
Posted by Get Real
a resident of San Ramon
on Jan 20, 2016 at 9:24 am

Frank...you made my point... The teachers get a very decent salary for NINE MONTHS of work....


13 people like this
Posted by thinking about moving
a resident of Danville
on Jan 20, 2016 at 11:23 am

How sad. It amazes me at the lack of respect we show our fellow humans. Most teachers, coaches, administrators are there for the children. The pay is not what brings them back everyday. It is the core love of teaching, coaching or being a positive role model in a child's life. Asking for a raise should not warrant this awful bashing of another human being. Take a look at yourself and honestly ask if you son or daughter knew you were being so awful would they be proud. I would bet, NO! This town has become an entitled group of parents that feel it is okay to bash and ridicule other to get their own way. Not a good day for the people of Danville. I am embarrassed to be a member of this community today!


15 people like this
Posted by Andy Williams
a resident of Danville
on Jan 20, 2016 at 11:43 am

If teachers have it so good, why aren't there more people enrolling in teacher programs? Why does the news tell us that there are shortages of teachers across the country? If we "only work 9 months" and get paid so handsomely, why aren't people rushing to get this amazing job with all these benefits and so much time off? Why don't these critics switch careers and join our ranks of its such a great gig?
I would love to hear a well thought out response because the common reasons I've heard are:
- "I don't have the patience to do what you do"
- "I thought about teaching but you guys don't get paid enough"
- "I can't imagine grading all those papers"
- "I can't stand kids"
- "I wouldn't be able to deal with parents"

These are all valid perspectives but at the same time, there's a lot of comments about how good it is to be a teacher and we should just be happy with what we have. So again I ask, why aren't you here, shoulder to shoulder, swimming in cash and healthcare and vacations and ignoring the youth of America?


8 people like this
Posted by Freeza
a resident of Danville
on Jan 20, 2016 at 12:13 pm

Freeza is a registered user.

As a SRVUSD alumnus for all of middle and high school I feel I am one of the few partys involved in the comment thread who can actually gauge the effectiveness of a school day. Parents, I love you guys, but to think that your middle or high schooler is coming home after class and accurately telling you what happened at school is farce. We had so much going on (socially, mentally, metaphysically, hormonally) that the curriculum was rarely at the forefront of most kids brains. When you're between the ages of 12 and 18 everything is the end of the world because you have never had said experience, and you want to be inclvisible and look like you're handling everything with grace.

Teachers are biased too, but at least they actually experience the hormonal flood of a single day in high school. (Watch: spring breakers)

We all need to admit to ourselves that we are not providing the best we can for our children at home, and so we move to neighborhoods with schools that test well and have plenty of extracurricular programs so the youth don't fall into opiate usage or worse, voting. These schools are selling points for our housing market, sure. But most importantly, these teachers break up fights during lunch (because one of you parents raised a menace with the coping skills of a small bird), they stop and prevent drug usage in ways that ACTUALLY SINK IN and keeps your family's name off of any permanent record. I've seen teachers put up with unprompted torment and foolishness reserved only for downtown muni drivers who... You guessed it, MAKE MORE MONEY.

Basically, the negative comments on this page fail to reflect the extracurriculars run by faculty, the BS they put up with daily, the fact that you probably pay your babysitter more hourly, and the overwhelming notion that these people who prepare and watch after your children for at least seven hours of your day don't deserve better.

THAT judgement is reserved for the big man upstairs, and him alone.

Ask yourself how well your school football team is doing (see: scoreboard), then create a cost benefit analysis of how many children the program benefits vs the drain of public and booster funding divided by the number of NCS championships won shere we did not go on to beat de la sale (aka 0), and immediately cut funding because all of the high schools in the region need grittier defensive lines. Give that money to leadership, and see if they can't figure out a decent performance based rewards system for the staff.

Let's not forget public school is pretty much FREE because- TAXES, so any budget increase would result in a fractional cost to the user. Get off your high horses and pay up. The youth deserve it, and the teachers have already earned it ten fold.

Mic Drop


11 people like this
Posted by C. R. Mudgeon
a resident of Danville
on Jan 20, 2016 at 3:06 pm

I'm sort of reluctant to jump back into the middle of this ongoing love-fest, but I DID get a good chuckle out of Frank's comment above, bemoaning the fact that teachers don't get any (additional) paid vacation days.

Forget about summer break, that's admittedly a different situation. But beyond that, there's Thanksgiving (is it still a whole week?), the multi-week Christmas break, and Spring Break. (OK, I get that Frank was talking about discretionary vacation days. But still....)

And if we want to talk about how many days are actually worked, that comparison isn't going to turn out too well, either.

I don't doubt that many/most teachers put in a lot of extra hours, and aren't pure "9-5'ers" (or is it 7:30-3:30'ers?). For that matter, I work a lot longer hours than "9-5". But my friendly suggestion to Frank is that complaining about not getting vacation days is not going to win over too many converts! :-) Cheers!


3 people like this
Posted by Frank
a resident of San Ramon
on Jan 20, 2016 at 4:39 pm

To C. R.,

We do not get paid for Thanksgiving or Christmas either, look it up in the contract. You get paid for 186 work days, as per the contract. I'm not complaining, just stating the facts of the contract. I would love to get paid those 5 days during Thanksgiving week, that would be very nice, but I can only wish.


7 people like this
Posted by SHale
a resident of San Ramon
on Jan 20, 2016 at 8:03 pm

So, the union wants a raise and essentially a bonus.

I haven't seen any posts here that suggests where the money will come from? Hiding in the district's cash accounts?

What is a bigger group teachers or tax payers? Should property taxes and state taxes go up to cover 100% of the ask? Wouldn't that upset the bigger group?


29 people like this
Posted by Hank
a resident of Danville
on Jan 21, 2016 at 12:30 am

Teachers do receive pay increases, year after year. It is the expected cost of living, time on the job raises that they are 'entitled' to receive. You can quickly see the salary increases from year to year on the Transparent California website. Web Link
A teacher has 76/77 more days off per year than the average worker. When we had kids in the district, I vaguely recall that teachers were contracted to work roughly 7 hour days. That included a kid free lunch/preparation period and a break. This is considered full-time employment. Oh, and minimum days were considered full days. Now they also have Teacher Days, where they go to work but the students stay home. Let's not forget the Healthcare (do they still get this for life?) and last but not least, the holy grail, the pension. What age is that again? Chuckle. Chuckle. Oh my, all of this plus that extra 15 weeks of time off. Yep, totally makes sense that they organized and stormed the school board meeting. Did someone comment that the kids are spoiled brats? Hmm. OK. Please do hop onto the Transparent California Website and look up the salaries that these individuals are paid. Furthermore, since when is it fair to compare teachers to trust fund babies and CEO's? I never got that analogy. We lived in a townhouse for years and it seemed to be ok for our FOUR kids. Guess what? They had to share rooms too! But they were lazy, spoiled brats. I guess we were too. My wife likes to say "Let the unions continue to behave in such ways and sit back and think about how much closer these behaviors steer California to merit pay and school vouchers.

What a concept; teachers that perform, reach goals, are held accountable and produce results get to earn a salary based on this. Wait a minute, that idea sounds familiar? Oh yea, it's called a job. Just like a Hedgefund Manager, there are those that do very well and then there are those that do not. I'll be waiting for the laundry list of unionized/institutionalized excuses for that last comment. I am going to take a wild guess and assume that the great teachers were not the ones that stormed the board meeting. A suggestion for the teachers union, brainstorm and come up with a new slogan. Enough already with the "I teach because. Because what? I love my job/kids/making a difference?" It just hasn't gone over too well with the taxpayers for about a decade now.


20 people like this
Posted by A Parent
a resident of San Ramon
on Jan 21, 2016 at 7:58 am

Anyone that thinks teachers are overpaid has never spent a day in their child's classroom.


3 people like this
Posted by frankly
a resident of San Ramon
on Jan 21, 2016 at 8:20 am

Pointing to a PE class is never ever the best evidence of anything academic!!!
Measure the success of the total district or school by the success at
State tests which have repeatedly rank SRVUSH as very high quality in student performance on State tests!!!

The SRVUSD schools are used proudly by Realtors to sell million dollar houses because the quality of schools is everywhere.

The Bay Area seeks to move into the SRVUSD because of the very high quality of educational programs which put students into very high academic rankings.

And where does the skill or massive gains from?

Not alone by parents but teachers who do the daily constant academic instruction delivering the top quality for this district!!

And you care not to pay those who provide the best academic quality to the district students?


11 people like this
Posted by American
a resident of Danville
on Jan 21, 2016 at 8:55 am

"Andy Williams": Your first post was very well written, objective, persuasive, and made your point with grace and dignity. Your second post was the usual subjective rambling associated with those who lack critical thinking analysis. You should have stopped after the first post.

Obama was in Detroit yesterday and the Detroit teachers union went on strike knowing they would have national attention with the President in town. As usual, they were complaining about wages, but they also complained of their working conditions, which included rats in the classroom, no ventilation, maggots in the toilets, no air conditioning, roofs that leaked, gangs running the school, violence on campus, and teacher safety.

Andy Williams and those other local teachers, the grass is always greener elsewhere, until you arrive elsewhere. Compare the working conditions you have here in Danville and San Ramon and Alamo, with those in many other areas of the country. You can actually teach here without worrying about rats in the buildings, no air conditioning, gangs running the school, and violence. Yes, it is expensive to live here, but the trade off is much better working conditions. Moreover, in SRUSD, parents are active in the learning process, and yes probably overly active in some cases. In many school districts, no parents show up for scheduled meetings with parents, parents never volunteer at the schools, and they certainly do not donate the large amounts of money that we do at SRUSD. Parents are actively engaged in their children's education, and help support the teachers with volunteer time and money.

So, Andy Williams, and the other teachers, we value your service and efforts in the classroom, and hope the good teachers stay, and realize that the grass is always greener elsewhere, but the working conditions in SRUSD and parent support separates our district from most others. However, you will never make the money an attorney, doctor, engineer makes, and our district and no other district can afford to pay that kind of money. You also get tenure after two years, which no other profession offers, along with more vacation days than any other profession.

Life is a trade off, and like any other profession, you must balance the good with the bad. Compare your job with jobs at other districts, and you are doing very well.


8 people like this
Posted by American
a resident of Danville
on Jan 21, 2016 at 9:09 am

"Andy Williams" and other teachers: I would be willing to pay an extra parcel tax in which the money all went to increasing teacher salaries if the teacher's union agreed to abolish tenure that you achieve after only two years of working here. This would make your job just like any other profession, which you apparently desire. It would require you to perform you job well every single year, and if not, tenure would not protect you from being terminated. This would be a win-win, as teachers that were not terminated would make more money, and we could get rid of bad teachers who cling to tenure from being terminated. This is how every other profession actually works, and America is suppose to work. Those who do well make more money, and if you do not do your job you are not protected by tenure.

So, "Andy Williams" and those other teachers, which one of you will immediately call your union rep and suggest my proposal, so that the good teachers who deserve more money will start making more money?


5 people like this
Posted by Andy
a resident of San Ramon Valley High School
on Jan 21, 2016 at 10:03 am

Dear Anomymous American,

its very simple to criticize my second post when you don't answer the question. Suggesting that I lack critical thinking skills is simply insulting and doesn't win you any points in a debate.

The grass is greener argument is simply avoidance of the issue and stating the obvious. I'd love to teach in Hawaii but that's not going to happen either. The idea has always been that people shouldn't be forced to leave a place they love because "the grass is greener" elsewhere. It not unreasonable to make the current situation better.

Your comments on the overall state of our schools only demonstrate your ignorance to the truth. While we do not have "gangs running the schools", we have rats and dilapidated buildings. Our HVAC system is rarely running efficiently to the point of some teachers having a stash of blankets in their classrooms for students to use during the hottest days. While your argument would make sense to anyone who lives in this area and is aware of the wealth, it is far from accurate. I suggest you visit some of these schools that haven't been updated and talk to the students and workers so you have actual facts to base your analyses on. This has nothing to do with the issue of teacher pay, but I thought you should know.

We're all well aware of how much money attorneys and doctors make and how we'll never attain that level but it's worth pointing out that all those people get there because of people like us. Teachers are the foundation for every profession. Lowering us beneath them like a professional hierarchy is somewhat ridiculous.

The issue of vacation has already been addressed in this thread. We don't get paid vacation.

The concept of tenure is commonly misunderstood. Several years ago Oprah spread the idea on national television that tenure meant you could never get fired. That's simply not true. Tenure secures due process. It means you can't get fired on the spot. Rest assured, if the process is followed, a bad teacher can get fired.
Relating this to "other jobs, I'm betting there's a lot of people out there who would have loved this process so that they could have held onto a job the loved instead of being fired by a new boss who wanted to "go in a different direction."
The issue is of course when a bad teacher stays but if we're going to continue this idea of relating to other jobs, we've all dealt with terrible employees in every industry who somehow seem to keep their position despite being terrible at it.

If you want me to call my union rep and suggest they repeal tenure. Fine. I'll send the email today. I'm sure it will fix everything.

I'm also not sure why you kept putting my name in quotes. It's my real name and I stated which school I teach at. I'm a public employee. You can look me up on a government website somewhere. I'm being open and public about this because under the anonymity of article comments, nothing is going to be done and no one is going to be understood. In these forums we're faceless pseudonyms who have the freedom to be as bold or mean as we want.
Nothing gets accomplished that way. So I implore everyone, if you want to be part of the discussion, pull back the curtain and be heard and be accountable for your words.


1 person likes this
Posted by American
a resident of Danville
on Jan 21, 2016 at 1:53 pm

Andy Williams: Thank you for your posts. I am certainly not anti-teacher, and actually have relatives who are public school teachers in less affluent areas whose primary complaints are working conditions that include gangs, violence, run down facilities, and lack of parent involvement. I also was a regular volunteer at my child's public school every year from K thru senior year of high school, coached little league, and am very aware of how SRUSD facilities and working conditions compare to other school districts. SRUSD facilities may not be perfect, but compared to most other school districts you are teaching in a gold standard district. That is what I meant by grass is always greener, as the trade off in teaching in a higher affluent area is that the facilities and working conditions are generally better, less gangs and violence, but of course the property values are higher and so it is more expensive to live here. Your concern as a teacher in our district may be students having cell phones in class, compared to other districts where the concern is students having knifes and weapons.

Without you being defensive, I would actually be interested in a Yes or No answer to my initial question: Yes or No, would you be willing to abolish teacher tenure in exchange for parents passing a parcel tax in which the funds raised went directly to increasing teacher salaries?

Most of us parents in SRUSD have overly had very positive dealings with our teachers, but there are a few well known teachers at every school that are quite frankly horrible, and administrators have acknowledged that with tenure it is almost impossible to terminate them. I actually think most parents would pay a parcel tax, increase the salaries of teachers, if we were assured that tenure was removed, and the few horrible teachers were terminated.

Yes, or NO?


7 people like this
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Danville
on Jan 21, 2016 at 4:41 pm

In reality this discussion is somewhat meaningless as the Board will give the teachers whatever they demand because they depend on the union to get elected. Despite what might be said publically at least four of the board members are meeting privately with union leaders and cutting deals. This happens every year and as long as board members are in bed with the union this will continue to be the case. Ask each board member whether the union gave money to their campaign and you'll get the picture as to how this will play out.

As for teachers, there are great ones and there are terrible ones, but they all get paid the same and that is something that neither the union nor the board wants to deal with. We need to elect good board members who are independent, who support great teachers, but have the courage to make real changes to the status quo.


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Posted by Teacher3
a resident of San Ramon
on Jan 21, 2016 at 6:14 pm

Sharon,

Your post is highly inaccurate. The board members do not negotiate salary or anything else for that matter. They DO NOT meet with union leaders. Don't make things up.


14 people like this
Posted by Former Teacher
a resident of Danville
on Jan 21, 2016 at 8:47 pm

As a former teacher, I am sick of the teacher unions pretending that they are for the kids. Be honest, unions represent the workers! The pension system is breaking the back of a lot of school districts. (and cities due to the public safety unions) Teachers can retire young and receive a generous pension with healthcare. There needs to be an overhaul of the system. Pay teachers a lot more and make them do what most American workers should do.....save for retirement. This takes it out of the public's hands and makes the teachers responsible.


10 people like this
Posted by Curious Taxpayer
a resident of San Ramon
on Jan 21, 2016 at 11:56 pm

@ Andy, I notice that you wrote your last essay at 11:00am today? Did you get on to this site while you were at your job, educating our kids? I was just curious because I assumed that the schools block access. At my job, our work computers track and store our data and reports go to the IT department. We also can be written up and if we ever commented on a site from our employers computer, we could face termination. We were educated regarding the legal issues that our employer can face by doing such things. Just wondering?


4 people like this
Posted by PSMacintosh
a resident of Danville
on Jan 22, 2016 at 11:59 am

"Sharon,
Your post is highly inaccurate. The board members do not negotiate salary or anything else for that matter. They DO NOT meet with union leaders. Don't make things up."


Teacher3,

The Board has employees (City Attorneys, etc.) who do the negotiations, but they are answerable to the Board. They (and the Board) know that their job is to make town things run as smoothly as possible, not to make waves, try to avoid strikes, etc..
Isn't it also true that the Board has to sign off on the agreement at some point? (Teacher3, why don't you tell us WHO really does the final signoffs.)

In any case, they all have little incentive (other than not running the town into bankruptcy) to push back very hard against the Union/teacher demands. At the end of the day, it's not their money, it doesn't effect their own profitability/pay (unless they fight the Unions too hard), and there is a virtually endless supply of taxpayer money (seemingly).

The taxpayers are not represented directly (and none of them read this press).
So, Sharon, is VERY RIGHT. These negotiations are just a show and, ultimately, the union/teachers will get most of what they are asking for.
And they will be back asking for more in the following years. Year after year.

And whatever salary increase or condition or benefit that one district gets, the other district will use to bootstrap themselves up into.

And the teachers of our kids will become more and more "unionized" in their thinking (and teaching), so that our kids will become more pliant to future union demands.
And, in college, teachers will down-grade any kid that dares to support, or even suggest, any "anti-union" or "individual determinism" ideas.


11 people like this
Posted by Hank
a resident of Danville
on Jan 22, 2016 at 6:29 pm

The teachers asked for a 6% raise, plus a one-time payment of 4% of their salary. The District offered them a 4% raise, a one-time payment of 2% of their salary AND other incentives. Which, by the way, need to be made transparent to the public?
And we get to watch this play out.

The behavior, theatrics, threats, demands and protesting demonstrated over this!? Once again, we have to witness behaviors grown adults will resort to because? Because they didn’t get exactly what they demanded! The teachers are so far up the rabbit hole, they can’t see the damage their actions are creating. The CTA feeds them by the spoon full, all the propaganda, and the biased/skewed reports. They will NEVER admit that the grossly, underfunded, pension system will bring this state to its knees. Instead, they continue to pump out the victims; OUR TEACHERS! And, the teacher falls in line and plays the part. Quick to blame Wall Street, play the poor teacher role and spew that (the teacher), the Moral Public Servant, is under attack!

This is what our future generation gets to see: Entitlement, Bullying, Blame and No Personal Responsibility! Give yourselves a pat on the back teachers. Your club (THE CTA) will take and demand money from all and any other programs; you have secured receiving more tax dollars than any other government program that receives funding in this state! You take 40% of the budget right off the top! YOu club, the CTA flexes its strong hold, bilks a system and has successfully run it dry. Somehow, YOU still want more. You come first and if the system collapses, and the tax payers fall, it doesn’t matter, so long as you get your contract; the raises and your pension. You have been trained and you will resort to all measures to get what YOU deserve. After all, you pay your dues into the club knowing that you now belong to the most powerful force in California. It's no secret that your club is referred to as the fourth branch of government.

The game plays out, time and time again. The citizens have to play; your game, your rules! The one and only game of Monopoly (PUBLIC SCHOOLS) is run by your organization. You know this and you know the game takes away any choices before the dice are even rolled. You have us over the barrel but I will be sure to remember that, " You love your job and you would work for peanuts!"


8 people like this
Posted by Cal Berkeley Student
a resident of Alamo
on Jan 22, 2016 at 9:15 pm

As a student in the two year Masters/Credential program at Cal, this thread convinces me further that SRVUSD is not the place for me. From the moment I enrolled, SRVUSD is the one place NOT to apply. I went to MVHS and I had a great experience, I had some great teachers. As we near graduation, nobody that I know is considering this district.


11 people like this
Posted by Hank
a resident of Danville
on Jan 22, 2016 at 10:12 pm

Excellent to hear that our voices are helping to weed out the self-absorbed individuals wanting to work in public service for all the wrong reasons. Thank you for telling us this. We will keep trying to push those like you as far away from the students in this community as possible. They deserve dedicated educators that are willing to put the student first. You and your friends need not apply.


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Posted by SHale
a resident of another community
on Jan 23, 2016 at 7:54 am

A brand new elementary school (Bella Vista) is opening in 2016. I wager they will have no problems filling all the teacher slots with internal and external candidates (I asked the principal directly). If even 1% of the crud posted here was true that school would have no teachers, aye?

end of the day the union asks for the moon, the teachers are trotted out, the district dances about. The union will NOT get exactly what they want, nor will the district. It's called negotiations. And for the few teachers that upset, they have options.

The stuff posted here is not part of the negotiations, people.


1 person likes this
Posted by KirkD
a resident of Danville
on Jan 23, 2016 at 3:22 pm

KirkD is a registered user.

Here are the actual salaries and benefits. Remember, most of the teachers are on a 9 month schedule.
Web Link

I was surprised by the pay rates. You may be surprised at how low they are. At least you will be informed and not be guessing.


5 people like this
Posted by Union member
a resident of Walnut Creek
on Jan 24, 2016 at 12:09 am

So, the San Ramon Valley has spoken. Clearly, anti-teacher. We are asking, just asking, for a mere 6% raise, just 6%. After 8 years at 1% raise per year, this is not a lot. Maybe we will get it, maybe we won't. Either way, teachers perception of how parents think are validated. I will go back to work on Monday and be happy regardless. I ask one question of parents, If you could trade all the teachers in this district for all the teachers in another district, who would you trade for? Maybe Orinda? Pleasanton? Fremont? Whom? Just curious.


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Posted by SHale
a resident of another community
on Jan 24, 2016 at 8:11 am

Please don't take this thread (either side) as the voice of the DV. A few post here because they can hide and it is safe. They become very vocal behind their keyboards.

It is interesting: I don't hear this crud AT a school from parents or teachers. Only this thread.
the union will not get exactly what they want, nor will the district only give what they offered. And at the end of the day if a teacher is that unhappy with pay or with the parents, they have plenty of options to explore to find their happiness. And if parents aren't happy (the few who post here who DO have kids in school) can also explore many options if they aren't happy with the schools here.


3 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Danville
on Jan 25, 2016 at 9:06 am

It would be nice if parents spent time checking in with their kids about school and the work coming up. If parents would check their students back packs to make sure that they are equipped with pencils, homework, etc. for their day at school. Check their school loops for projects coming up and possibly for homework missing. If parents spent a few minutes a day to do these things they would be entering a partnership with the teacher to help our students become responsible people of the community and of the future generation. Many children today do have that entitled attitude about so many things and personal responsibility is a BIG on. They should be taught at home to be responsible for doing their homework and turning it in a timely manor. Together we will turn out students that will do well in college and in the work place. Learning does not just take place in the classroom.


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Posted by SHale
a resident of another community
on Jan 25, 2016 at 6:32 pm

Resident: Are you referring/complaining about HS kids and their parents?

Just curious. Seems you use a very big paint brush to paint over 30k students. Perhaps you base on a statistical few?

then again this entire thread is full of opinions and sparse on facts.

sheesh


1 person likes this
Posted by frankly
a resident of San Ramon
on Jan 26, 2016 at 8:19 am

You think lowly teachers are overpaid, go to State Licensing Board for read the high number of medial personnel who are sanctioned, fined, licensed removed, or practice suspended for failing to do basic procedures repeatedly.


And it is common knowledge how well medical personnel are paid and yet many fail to do the right thing.


2 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Danville
on Jan 26, 2016 at 2:23 pm

Below info found on CoCo Times March 2014
The school district and its teachers' union, the San Ramon Valley Education Association, announced that they have finalized an agreement retroactive to Jan. 1 for the 2013-14 school year that would include a salary increase of 4 percent for its nearly 1,600 teachers, nurses, psychologists, counselors, librarians and speech pathologists.

The agreement was ratified by the association's membership on March 11 and approved that same evening by the school board. The district will pay $2.3 million more in compensation this year as a result, district officials said.

"We are extremely fortunate to have an incredible teaching staff in our district, and the new agreement will help us to remain competitive in recruiting and retaining great teachers," Superintendent Mary Shelton said in a statement.

"It's been a long drought for our employees who work hard every day on behalf of the children," she said.


5 people like this
Posted by sponge bob roundpants
a resident of Danville
on Jan 26, 2016 at 2:55 pm

to all of the whiners who are saying "I can't even afford to live in Danville": since when is it mandatory or indicative of your salary that one must be able to live near work? There are many of us who commute 1-2 hours each way to our workplace, simply because we have a choice. You teachers all have a choice as well - you are not "entitled" to live in Danville or anywhere else for that matter, and you certainly are not entitled to dictate how far from your workplace your residence will be.
So your argument is specious and self-serving; so please (collectively) get over yourselves. You're not that great at what you do, as evidenced by the "product" you turn out around here. For example, see Freeza's post of the 20th: "As a SRVUSD alumnus for all of middle and high school I feel I am one of the few partys (sic) involved in the comment thread who can actually gauge the effectiveness of a school day". Seriously?


5 people like this
Posted by For the People
a resident of Walnut Creek
on Jan 26, 2016 at 4:24 pm

The citizens can play the union way and file a breach of fiduciary duty lawsuit if the union gets what it initially demanded and the school board signs off. There is enough in this article alone directly suggested and stated by this Marvel character that indicates a direct abuse of power and fiscal responsibility to those he represents.


7 people like this
Posted by frankly
a resident of San Ramon
on Jan 27, 2016 at 10:22 am

Our family had four students who attended schools in the SRVUSD.

Two graduated from Standord, one stayed for a graduate degree.
One graduated from UCSB; one graduated from Uni of Portland.

The quality of education is found and fostered in the home.
We never had TV for many years; wife graduated from Cal with a graduate degree and fostered tons of library use and reading at home.
I also graduated from University.

How you employ the qualities found in the local schools depends on how it is referred to and employed at home. All teachers did a better then average job preparing our 4 kids for major universities.

The dedication of many teachers is to be acknowledged and rewarded for their dedication whether one can see it or not.

It is there!!!

This district is sought after by many who want to live in this district for the excellent quality education found here.

And you want to lessen it with less salary?

Does that make sense?


9 people like this
Posted by Grateful Alamo Parent
a resident of Alamo
on Jan 29, 2016 at 5:31 pm

My kids had wonderful teachers at Monte Vista, and we are grateful that the teachers spent so much time outside of class to help with recommendation letters, clubs, tutoring help, and special projects. Our entire community benefits when our schools are strong. Let's make sure we attract the best teachers to our district by appreciating them and making sure that they are paid a decent wage!


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Posted by Commonsenseparent
a resident of Danville
on Feb 3, 2016 at 11:03 am

I will support teachers getting a raise when teachers have the courage to speak out about the Common Core standards, curriculum, and assessment testing that is all unproven, untested, and an experiment on our children.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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