This version of the story includes the cost of the raises to the school district.
By the Daily Post staff
The teachers union and Palo Alto school district administrators have reached a two-year agreement on compensation that will raise pay by 5% starting this summer and another 5% for the 2021-22 school year.
The raise consists of a 3% permanent increase and a 2% one-time-only bonus each year. The bonus won’t be used as part of the base for computing raises in future years.
The district’s 800 teachers make between $66,395 and $133,972 annually, according to the union’s contract.
The tentative agreement reached last night requires ratification by the teachers and the school board.
Superintendent Don Austin said in a statement that the bargaining teams participated in multiple negotiating sessions throughout March and April prior to reaching a tentative agreement at 8:20 p.m. on Thursday.
For 2020-21, teachers will receive:
• a 3% increase to the salary schedule effective July 1, 2020;
• a one-time, off-the-schedule payment equal to 2%;
• and an increased employer contribution to the cost of “health and welfare benefits,” equivalent to an additional .26% salary increase.
For 2021-22, teachers will receive:
• a 3% increase to the salary schedule effective July 1, 2021;
• and a one-time, off the schedule payment equal to 2%.
In addition, for the 2022 calendar year (Jan. 1-Dec. 31), the district shall contribute toward health and welfare benefits an additional amount that provides unit members with the same dependent contributions as the 2021 calendar year.
What will this cost?
According to figures from Chief Budget Officer Carolyn Chow, the cost to the district teacher raise of 3% for 2020-21 is estimated at $3,667,123. The cost to the district for the ongoing 3% in 2021-22 is $3,733,160. The total annual cost for the 6% ongoing salary increase is approximately $7,529,824.
Chow said the cost of the 2% bonus or “off schedule payment” for teachers for year beginning July 1 is $2,444,749. For 2021-22, it is estimated at $2,488,773.
|6% over two years||$7,529,824|
|2% bonus starting 7/1/21||$2,444,749|
|2% bonus starting 7/1/22||$2,488,773|
Going back a couple of years, the teachers received a 2% raise and a 2% one-time bonus for the 2018-19 school year.
In 2016, the district and teachers approved a contract that called for a 12% raise over three years. After that contact was approved, district officials realized they overestimated property tax revenue, leading to a financial crisis.
The school board decided to reopen contract negotiations and walk back the 3% raise and 1% to 2% bonus, but the district’s then-HR chief, Scott Bowers, missed the deadline to do so in March 2017.
After the inadvertent raise made the news in the summer of 2017, board members said it would jeopardize the possibility of future raises. In February 2018, the union gave back the 2% bonus, but kept the 3% raise.
The current contract expires at the end of June. The new contract, if approved by the school board and ratified by the teachers, will start July 1 and run through June 30, 2023.
The district still needs to negotiate deals with the non-teaching classified and management employee groups.