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SRVUSD, teachers union reach tentative contract agreement

Deal calls for 5.07% salary increase, 4% bonus, plus other provisions

The San Ramon Valley school district and its teachers union have signed a tentative agreement that would seem to signal the end of 2015-16 contract negotiations that at times prompted dozens of local teachers to crowd school board meetings demanding higher wages.

The deal includes a 5.07% salary increase for union members, a one-time payment to the employees worth 4% of their annual salary and an agreement to allow an average class size of 25 students for transitional kindergarten through third grade, among other provisions.

The tentative agreement, which still awaits school board approval and San Ramon Valley Education Association (SRVEA) ratification, was announced to all district staff in a joint email Friday morning by superintendent Mary Shelton and SRVEA president Ann Katzburg.

"We are extremely grateful to the members of the SRVEA bargaining team -- led by Darren Day -- and the District bargaining team -- led by Keith Rogenski -- for their dedication and commitment to negotiating a settlement which ensures that we continue to attract and retain outstanding certificated staff here," the two leaders said in their email.

Union members could cast votes on ratification later this week or early next week, Katzburg said in a follow-up interview. District staff expects to send the agreement to the school board for consideration in early March, district spokeswoman Elizabeth Graswich said Monday morning.

The deal, reached on Thursday, followed a series of school board meetings in December and January during which dozens of teachers packed the boardrooms to show support for union negotiators.

The turnout reached a peak for the Jan. 26 meeting, with almost 300 teachers gathering at a rally before the meeting and about 180 in attendance during the meeting, Katzburg said, adding that she was "pleased that our members were so unified and participatory in this process."

The two sides appeared split on the issue of pay raises the past couple months, with SRVEA asking for a 6% salary increase, plus a 4% bonus, while the district bargaining team countered with an offer of a 4% salary raise and 2% one-time payment, plus other incentives.

But negotiators reached a middle ground last week, agreeing to a 5.07% permanent salary increase retroactive to July 1. The pay bump consists of a 5% raise and 0.07% district contribution to the SRVEA Retirees Benefits Trust.

The tentative agreement also includes a one-time bonus worth 4% of the employee's annual salary as of Nov. 30, 0.59% district-paid health and welfare and cash back increases, 1.61% increase in statutory retirement costs, 1.03% in step-and-column (longevity and expertise) increase and 0.21% ongoing raise for extra services pay for coaches and other similar positions.

The deal also includes a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to permit district transitional kindergarten through third-grade classes to have an average class size of 25 students through the 2017-18 school year.

Katzburg said she was confident the district "would make every concerted effort to reduce the class size" but absent an agreement with the union, the district could lose out on state funding if those class sizes aren't down to 24 students across the board -- a difficult task in light of ongoing growth in the Valley, she added.

The district and union also struck MOUs regarding initial staffing levels for the under-construction Bella Vista Elementary School in the Dougherty Valley and on the 2016-17 instructional calendars for Venture Independent Study School and the district's San Ramon Infant and Toddler Early Start (SITES) program for young special-needs children.

In addition to teachers, SRVEA also represents district counselors, nurses, psychologists, librarians and speech pathologists.

Two other unions represent the district's classified workers, and agreements with those employee groups have not been announced. District officials have acknowledged that it is district practice to offer salary increases to all employees across the board.

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Comments

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Posted by Long term rsesident
a resident of Danville
on Feb 10, 2016 at 7:36 am

This is great as teachers play such an important role in shaping our future through educating our children. What worries me is there is no mention of how these increased salaries and benefits are going to be paid. Are we going to see yet again another school bond on the ballot? I hope not as my property tax statement already includes 3 school bond and 3 community bond payments. Enough is enough. Pay the teachers, but do it through normal channels. If you need to delay refurbishing one of the swimming pools or replacing artificial turf, or whatever, so be it. Private companies need to balance capital project needs with other cost of operations all the time. The Golden Goose is getting tired!


2 people like this
Posted by Robbie
a resident of Danville
on Feb 10, 2016 at 5:36 pm

School bonds do not pay for teacher salaries. And, you always have the right to vote no on a school bond. The district is in need of change , very badly. It started today with our superintendents resignation, woo hoo!


5 people like this
Posted by Tired of the Union
a resident of Danville
on Feb 10, 2016 at 9:42 pm

Once again, the children get the short end of the stick. The teachers fought for this because they said it was promised to them when the last measure passed. Maybe they all need an education on financing. But why would they? They don't have to pay for it, we do. Unfunded pension liabilities in the billions and now this. California has the highest paid teachers in the nation and the most lucrative pensions too. The power of the Teachers union once again prevails. Suspect they ran the Super off too. They will run just about anyone over to take care of themselves. Take a look at the financial costs just for the health/benefits for this district. What a mess Very irresponsible of the board to approve this. Expect to see another measure coming down the pike. Teachers get more - students get less. What a great district!


2 people like this
Posted by Tired of the Union
a resident of Danville
on Feb 10, 2016 at 9:42 pm

Once again, the children get the short end of the stick. The teachers fought for this because they said it was promised to them when the last measure passed. Maybe they all need an education on financing. But why would they? They don't have to pay for it, we do. Unfunded pension liabilities in the billions and now this. California has the highest paid teachers in the nation and the most lucrative pensions too. The power of the Teachers union once again prevails. Suspect they ran the Super off too. They will run just about anyone over to take care of themselves. Take a look at the financial costs just for the health/benefits for this district. What a mess Very irresponsible of the board to approve this. Expect to see another measure coming down the pike. Teachers get more - students get less. What a great district!


4 people like this
Posted by Resident3
a resident of San Ramon
on Feb 11, 2016 at 7:06 am

Too bad. I was really hoping the teachers would have received the entire 6% that they deserve. Keep up the great work teachers, you deserve better.


4 people like this
Posted by Sally
a resident of San Ramon
on Feb 11, 2016 at 7:56 am

This "settlement" really comes as no surprise as the board, superintendent and the union are all very tightly connected. What would be interesting is to see what else went into the agreement. The money always is the lead story, but other changes which protect teachers (both the good and the bad), limit the ability of administrators to lead, or make the evaluation process of teachers more convoluted can actually have more importance than the increase in pay.


1 person likes this
Posted by CTA
a resident of Alamo
on Feb 11, 2016 at 10:58 am

California is already ranked dead last (50th) in student-to-teacher ratios, and would need 100,000 additional teachers right now just to bring that ratio to the national average.

AND

Over the next ten years, California would need to replace 106,000 teachers (one-third of the current workforce) just to maintain current staffing levels - the ones that have us ranked 50th.

AND

Even before the layoffs, California faced significant challenges in recruiting and retaining teachers:

• Nearly 1 in 3 teachers leaves the profession within seven years.

• Thirteen percent of teachers leave the profession by the end of their second year.

• Every year, 1 in 10 teachers working in high-poverty schools transfer away to other schools.

• California’s demand for new Math and Science teachers in the next 10 years is expected to be over 33,000 – and the current rate of teacher production in the state cannot come close to meeting that need.


2 people like this
Posted by SHale
a resident of another community
on Feb 11, 2016 at 12:54 pm

the union did not get what they wanted (demanded?) and the district is paying more than they offered. Seems standard negations.
The whole class size thing is odd; right now my son's 2nd grade has 28. Sure be nice if that number WERE smaller. Otherwise, new contract does nothing for the kids directly.


1 person likes this
Posted by Lee
a resident of Danville
on Feb 11, 2016 at 1:49 pm

Teachers pay taxes too. All the same local, state and federal taxes. Only Social Security is not paid and I sure wish that would change.
Speaking of taxes, did you know that every year at tax time the school district sends out notifications to teachers that tells them that, because of their low salaries, they may be eligible for the earned income tax credit from the feds?
On another note, have any of you ever run the numbers for the amount of money a family living in this area would have to make to have a decent living? I teach my students this every year so that I can get their attention on what a good education may mean to them in the future.
I love my job.


11 people like this
Posted by Hank
a resident of Danville
on Feb 11, 2016 at 3:57 pm

The average salary and benefits package for a F/T teacher in the San Ramon Dist. was roughly 108,000.00 in 2014. Divide that by 185 work days and it comes out to 583.78/day. Add on the extra 77 days that private sector employees work and the average package would be roughly 150,000/year. Curious if Lee, who commented that he teaches his students to run numbers on Cost of Living, also teachs students about debt ratios and the stock market? Does he tell them that the teachers union in California has a $80.4 billion funding shortfall? Does he mention this is for the pensions alone and not the unfunded healthcare? Does he teach them about market value? Does he tell them that currently, this unfunded liability grows $22 million each day. Or does he tell them the average rate of return is 8%?


2 people like this
Posted by Resident 1
a resident of San Ramon
on Feb 13, 2016 at 11:04 am

The first thing those teachers will do with the 5% raise (and that is a lot since they received only 8% over the past 9 years) is buy up property and move into your neighborhood. We must stop educated people from moving in. We do not need teachers here, not in my backyard!


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