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Educators to call for higher wages at rally outside school district

Original post made on Jan 26, 2016

Hundreds of East Bay educators are expected to make calls for higher wages at a protest in Danville this evening, according to a union representing San Ramon Valley Unified School District workers.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, January 26, 2016, 1:24 PM

Comments (17)

Posted by Resident
a resident of Danville
on Jan 26, 2016 at 4:10 pm

And the teacher bashing begins in 3.....2......1.......Ready, go!

Posted by American
a resident of Danville
on Jan 26, 2016 at 4:29 pm

Teachers: Most of you do a good job and we appreciate your partnership with the parents and children. However, it is widely agreed that there are several horrible teachers at every school that administrators acknowledge it is almost impossible to terminate them due to tenure, which teachers get after two years. No other profession has this tenure protection that allows horrible teachers to stay.

If you want these raises and bonus, it could come from a special parcel tax from us homeowners, that would raise money specifically for teacher salary and bonuses. However, I think homeowners would only approve yet another parcel tax for education if the trade off is the teacher's union agrees to remove tenure, and stops protecting the few horrible teachers that should be terminated.

This would be a win-win, as the teachers that want to be treated like any other profession, would receive increased salaries and bonuses, and the school administrators could terminate the few horrible teachers at every school. This would greatly help our children, as parents who have dealt with the few horrible teachers realize how much a bad teacher can negatively influence a child's education.

So, teachers, are you with us, and you are ready to be treated and paid like other professions?

Posted by Sharon
a resident of Danville
on Jan 26, 2016 at 5:08 pm

As community members we should be paying attention to the whole contract the is being bargained. While salary gets all the attention, we should be reading about changes in evaluations and other ways the union takes power away from supervisors. I have a relative who is an administrator in the district so I hear about this often---including the requirement for votes before changes can take place in the schools.

I still believe that the basic problem with all of this is that all teachers get paid the same, which actually harms the best teachers, and having a school board accept funding for their campaigns from the union in order to get elected. It is times like this when the union will expect something in return, and they will get it.

Posted by Chris
a resident of Danville
on Jan 26, 2016 at 9:51 pm

The school district is reneging on their promise/commitment to provide the teachers the previously agreed upon compensation adjustment when the SRVSD Parcel Tax passed. It passed in May of '15:

Web Link

This is NOT a case, whereby a school district is looking out for the tax payers in the community. SRVUSD is being short-sighted and dishonest. They are misrepresenting their previous commitment to the public, as they shamelessly lie to the face of the teachers with whom they made this agreement.. They're playing on the political rhetoric that is marketed to those of us who tend to be fiscally conservative, many of us who generally vote Republican. They are doing so to distract us from what is really taking place: they aren't honoring their previous commitment to their teachers.

Take a look at the compensation packages of the leading administrators, and the consistency and percentages of their raises. If their compensation is aligned, based upon market-rate for their role, then that's good business. However, it's disturbing, when those who are compensated so well, lose sight of the values held by, and needs of, the community who pay them. I'm pretty sure that having top quality schools brings many facets of financial and social benefit to the community. It's really interesting to read of, or hear from, a self-glorifying administrator or school board member, as they take credit for the work of those who, day-in-and-day-out, consistently create the real value that has become the amazing success story of SRVUSD: the teachers and the specialists.

Forget about the standard rhetoric coming from both sides of this issue, because it's a distraction designed to manipulate you from seeing the truth. What's really happening here, is that some short-sighted administrators and board members, motivated by their own political agendas, ambition, greed and/or hubris, have disconnected from reality. They've made the poor choice to mislead the community, and risk destroying the morale of, as well as losing the faith of, SRVUSD's teachers. Their choice to disrespect and lie to the educators of the district, and to the un-informed public, has created tremendous risk.

Keep in mind, that these teachers deferred negotiating higher compensation in the past, when the belt was a little tighter. They voluntarily went seven years without any compensation adjustment to ensure the quality of their student's education would not be compromised. That's called dedication, and that dedication came at a heavy toll for some who are in great need.

Consider the cost of living adjustment that has increased during this time period... Now, do you see why it is virtually impossible to find subs in the region? Some teachers will have to go elsewhere without the compensation adjustment. That's a fact. This slap-in-the-face by the board and administration may expedite that process.

The administrators and school board members of SRVUSD have a responsibility to honor their commitments, and to lead with purpose, integrity and objectivity. These administrators and board members are relied upon by the community they serve, and the teachers, who must entrust them, as they build, grow and maintain the credibility and reputation for which SRVUSD is renowned. Hopefully, they find the honor and common sense, which the people believed resided with-in each of them, as they correct this mistake and leverage it to not only find victory, but greatness.

Posted by American
a resident of Danville
on Jan 27, 2016 at 7:54 am

"Chris": If you want to truly be treated & paid like other professions, you must be willing to stop protecting the few horrible teachers at every school that can not be terminated due to tenure. No other profession has tenure, which teachers at SRUSD get after only two years. Even partners at law firms or CPA firms must perform well every year or they are gone.

I, and many others I have spoken to would agree pay yet another parcel tax for sole purpose increasing teacher salaries, but only if teachers agreed abolish tenure. The majority would get raises, and the few horrible at each school would be gone.

Would you agree to this win-win agreement? If not, the majority of us homeowners will not support teacher raises, as if you truly are a professional and want to be paid as such, you also must be treated as such.

Posted by Scott Hale
a resident of another community
on Jan 27, 2016 at 12:04 pm

How has the district 'mislead' the community? I have a child in 2nd grade and pretty sure I'm not being mislead by anything?

Posted by grandma
a resident of Alamo
on Jan 27, 2016 at 1:01 pm

There are many terrific teachers who are not acknowledged by any district because they are not popular,don't keep quiet about problems, and who work for administrators who walk in and out of classrooms without knowing what they are seeing. Those teachers are usually acknowledged by the parents who see changes and growth in their children. Tenure is protection for those who do not play along, who do not keep quiet about safety or other issues, and who do not want to protect others who are not seen as problems by administrators.
There are ways that administrators can get help for teachers in the classroom. There are peer and other programs for improvement and retraining. Taking tenure away is not the answer to helping teachers who need improvement.
When your child has a terrific teacher write a letter to that teacher and cc it to their principal and HR. If your child has a teacher who needs help write to their administrator. This can be scary, because some teachers threaten the students with repercussions. But it works.

Posted by Lee
a resident of Danville
on Jan 27, 2016 at 2:49 pm

I'm a teacher in the district and, unlike the last time the school board rally took place, I'm hearing some very sound suggestions. I'm protected by tenure and have worked under an administration who would have taken advantage of a lack of tenure to fire teachers just because they didn't like the teacher personally. Tenure looked like a good thing for those teachers. However, I've also witnessed teachers that have worked in our district long past when they should have, because of tenure. I've witnessed teachers who had no right to be a teacher who we were all embarrassed by and stuck with. Tenure frustrated all of us then. The answer is... I really don't know. Possibly, losing tenure would be a good thing for all.
With regard to the pay, SRVUSD is the lowest in the area. Possibly, or probably, offset by working in great schools, in a great area, with great students. However, it is difficult to live in this area with the pay received. I love living in this area. I think SRVUSD loses some good teachers who go elsewhere because of long commutes to work due to not being able to afford to live in this area. Would I like to be payed more. Sure! I don't think the district has played fair with us or the community. But, like everyone else, I can only go by what I'm told. I do know that I went without a raise for many years due to budget constraints. I'd like to see that rectified this year.
To the lady who thinks we picked our profession and should be happy with what we get! I did pick my profession and I love teaching. However, I have a family and dreams of retiring someday. I think I deserve to live a comfortable life.
Thanks all and sorry for being so verbose.

Posted by Sharon
a resident of Danville
on Jan 27, 2016 at 3:21 pm

You will get to retire and unlike most teachers in neighboring districts you will get lifetime benefits. Perhaps some of the funds used to pay these benefits could be used to raise salaries?

Posted by Teacher3
a resident of Danville
on Jan 27, 2016 at 5:13 pm

Sharon, once again you are misinformed. Teachers DO NOT GET LIFETIME BENEFITS. You have to pay out of pocket when you quit or retire, where do you come up with this nonsense?????

Posted by FellowEducator
a resident of Danville
on Jan 27, 2016 at 10:11 pm

Actually Teacher3, Sharon is right. SRVUSD teachers get a contribution towards post-retirement benefits for life. The amount paid by the retiree varies based on the plan the retiree selects. The taxpayers fund hundreds of dollars per month for each of these retirees. This is a benefit that most districts gave up years ago. Also, most districts make employees pay a portion of employees' health benefit coverage. If a teacher with a family selects Kaiser Family coverage, the employee pays no premium, nothing, nada, zero. The taxpayers can shell out over $22,000 per year towards health benefits for each teacher.

While I am on a rant, Lee, your figures are also wrong on salaries. SRVUSD is actually one of the higher paid districts in the Bay Area. You have to compare apples to apples when comparing. For example, Pleasanton teachers make more than SRVUSD, but their higher wages must go to pay ALL of their health benefit premiums. When you factor in the SRVUSD pays over $22,000 per year and a highly competitive salary, then Pleasanton's salaries are not actually higher (of course it depends where on the schedule a teacher is getting paid). Also, Pleasanton gets hundreds of dollars more per student in state funding than SRVUSD. This translates into millions more for salaries. So, when factoring in the available dollars and the huge health premiums paid by SRVUSD that Pleasanton teachers must pay out of their own pockets, and the life-time benefit contribution, SRVUSD actually pays more of its available dollars to teacher salaries than Pleasanton.

No teacher gets what he/she deserves when you look at the positive impact each has on the lives of our children. However, you have to look at all the costs of compensation to understand what a teacher is really getting. You then have to factor in each school district's ability to pay based on its fixed costs and what the state provides in funding per student. No district is paying teachers what they are worth. However, when you factor in each district's available dollars and the total compensation teachers receive, then and only then can you have a real discussion about what is fair and appropriate.

I went to different districts' web sites to quickly gather easily available figures. I urge others to do the same before stating facts not in evidence.

The SRVUSD needs to do the right thing by teachers, but not without understanding the full impact. A number of years ago Oakland Unified gave a 10% raise that the teachers rightly deserved. A year later it was taken over by the state because it was broke and hundreds of teachers lost their jobs. Teachers suffered, and students suffered because the district gave a raise the teachers deserved without fully looking at the consequences.

Posted by Wally
a resident of Danville
on Jan 27, 2016 at 10:17 pm

I am going to start off with saying that I have a lot of respect for our teachers (or most) and what they do. Their jobs are important as they are shaping our future and educating our kids. I had a lot of wonderful teachers from elementary school all the way to college - which made a huge impact on me. We need more teachers like that.

Are the teachers asking for anything else outside of the salary increase? Anything for their students? Any changes or less of changes? I think it would be nice to know that as a parent and a community member.

I don't know how much they get paid and how it compares to cost of living, but I do know that our teachers (not sure if all) in our district have it a little better then some from others in different states.

There are teachers who have longer days, actual working days.

Don't have shorter days like we do once a week.

Don't have as many in-service days as we do, and if they do they are attached to conference days.

They don't have parents helping with homework folders, centers, art, library, parties, lunch, and recess. Some may have help with centers and recess, but not all.

And there are a lot of teacher out there who actually go to lunch and recess with their students. They all may not go everyday of the week, but at least once a week on a rotation schedule. Our teacher don't go to lunch with our young students at all.

So yes, they should get rewarded and specially if they haven't in the past because of tougher times. But they also do have it good in other areas.

They should have attached their raise to the calendar approval like the Dublin school district did. They would have most likely got it. The district really wanted the calendar approval.

Posted by District Teacher
a resident of San Ramon
on Jan 28, 2016 at 3:02 pm


Part of the bargaining requests from the Union's side has also included lower caseloads for special education teachers and the re-establishment of prep times for upper elementary level teachers, to name a few that would affect students directly.

While I understand your argument that SRVUSD teachers have it better than teachers in other locations, that doesn't necessarily mean that we are getting what we deserve. Yes, other teachers in other districts and other states have far worse working conditions than we do. However, that doesn't mean that we should simply accept how we have it here and not fight for better wages and conditions. The cost of living in our district should be a factor taken into account and recognized by the community when considering what we are asking for as well.

I appreciate the fact that you acknowledge there are many fabulous teachers in the district.

Posted by Wally
a resident of Danville
on Jan 28, 2016 at 4:10 pm

District Teacher, thank you for the info and I do agree with you. I don't know how much you get paid and specially how it compares to the cost of living.

I am behind the teachers and hope that you will come into an agreement and get better pay. You do have an important job.

I also believe that as a society we are locking respect for teachers and one another like we did when we were young.

Good luck and keep at it.

Posted by Hank
a resident of Danville
on Jan 28, 2016 at 5:45 pm

Being fiscally responsible and looking out for a future generation is something I have learned through my years. I learned this from owning and operating businesses. I learned this from experiencing the aftermath of the Great Depression. I learned how to survive on little, to sacrifice and to make choices. I experienced this when I was challenged to send four kids to public colleges in California. Did you catch that? I did say PUBLIC (intended to be funded by tax dollars).

Public School Educators make the claim that we don’t value teachers. “We are teacher bashing.” What I see is entirely the opposite. I see someone willing to sacrifice the needs of children for their own personal gain. I see an organization (THE CTA) demand more and more and in return for this, offer less and less. I see underfunded pensions that are now in the billions. Betty Yee just posted the new numbers for the underfunded pensions, which I am certain, will fuel the creation of new bills and taxes. We will ignore the fact that California taxpayers are already paying the highest taxes in the nation because that is what we do.

I see public schools in this area operate like charity organizations. Parents and local businesses denunciated, shamed and expected to empty their pockets. Working parents are expected to put on lavish dinner auctions, and pay for services traditionally once standard.

I see TWO bonds and one property tax measure tacked on to my property tax bills. More will come; the demands to fund the system will not end. I see that with each negotiation, the students suffer with less. The dust will settle, the ransom (pay raises) paid and nothing will improve the level of education. I see an unequal distribution of power. I see parents that fear the very people they employee. On a side note, did you know that if you google search: California Teacher Pension, the next word that comes up is…? CALCULATOR! This is what I see today, in California.

I started to see small victories for the kids in this state. In 2014, 9 students took on the all-powerful and mighty union and they WON! The Vergara vs The. State of California. . In his ruling, Judge Rolf Treu overturned five state statutes currently in place that give California teachers firing protections and rights to tenure and seniority. He stated that it was unconstitutional. Finally! One victory for the students! Ah, but not so fast, why would I even think of celebrating? The CTA in a joint effort with Pamela Harris are appealing the ruling. Once again, the children suffer at the hands of a corrupt organization.

Let’s refresh our memory and look at what the teachers union (CTA) spends its millions on. Millions in fighting bills, and laws intended to protect the very students they serve. Backdoor deals, threats and lobbists put into place to secure their demands.
In 2012 the CTA pumped a whopping 21,136,414 in funding dollars to oppose Prop 32. They won. In 2014 they funneled 1,155,283 to buy the decision makers. Sizable contributions were made to the following: Jerry Brown - Ca. Governor, Kamela Harris - State Attorney Gen., Tom Torlakson - State Superintendent Public Education, Betty Yee - State Controller and John Chiang - State Treasure. Torlakson returned the favor and made a sizable contribution to the CTA. How nice, he doubled down to secure the vote. Torlakson, Yee and Chiang all sit on the board of CalSTRS. Brown publicly denounced Treu’s ruling and Harris is partnering with the CTA in the appeal. This is what I see! So go ahead with the smoke and mirrors and claim that nobody likes the poor teacher but, as I would say to a child: actions speak louder than words.

Bribes, buys and threats. Power, control and lack of choice cannot buy respect. Denouncing the laws that protect children does not gain you the support of those you serve. Teachers need look no further than yourselves to realize why you have lost the trust and respect of so many. Parents would not hide under fictitious names if they did not fear your power; fear the consequences to their children. And, to the Teacher that keeps referring to Fremont. Can you please be forthright in letting the public know that SRV incurs a pension/benefits cost per employee that is double to that of Fremont.

We value kids, we value their futures and, until teachers start showing the same, you will not have the respect you think you are entitled to. This is America and we don’t like self-serving organizations that operate with a heavy hand. Organizations once valued and appreciated but now distrusted and feared.
Why might there be a teaching shortage in California? Perhaps this generation got to witness this play out? Perhaps their morals and consciences wanted more? Perhaps this generation did not experience the gift of inspiration that once came from the public servants that cared for them? Perhaps this generation is leaving this once great state because they can see how corrupt it has become? Perhaps this generation sees public education for what it has become? Teachers will only have themselves to blame if the state experiences a teaching shortage. Good Teachers that want to inspire kids and make a difference learn quickly that they don’t want to be part of your club (The CTA).
The state and the communities can only be dealt a fair hand by paying attention to the elections, ,the bills and propositions. Students Matter is doing a great job. They will have to work hard to restore the balance and return education back to putting the student first. They will need to organize and rally behind candidates that support children and not those that bend over to secure the CTA vote. Im signing off now, but leave you with a statement made by Marshall Tuck, remember him? He lost the election to Torlakson. This is what he said when the Supreme Court decision came out. "Today’s decision is a major victory for California’s students, and a repudiation of the failed Sacramento status quo. I applaud the nine students who took a courageous stand for all of California’s kids. But the truth is, no student should ever have to go to court to get a quality education – and no elected official should ever put bureaucratic laws ahead of students’ interest."

Posted by CurlyQ
a resident of Walnut Creek
on Jan 28, 2016 at 7:41 pm

I work for the district. Im a classified employee in SRVUSD, which makes me a marginal participant during lunch in the staff room. There are good teachers and there are those who are progressively enlightened. I don't know much about the bad ones. They are on campus somewhere. Its sorta like being amongst elitests from Marin County, if you will. Intellectuals who pacify themselves with ideologies of their own kind. What do the rest of us know? not much. After all the planet is melting and planet earth does not know how to function without our interventions. Teachers want more compensation for extra work, activities they are doing on campus, and correcting assignments on the weekend.
The Board wants to play shell games with teachers, and the money. Some leaders tremble at Board meetings. Why? You are paid to walk on fire. They show us money isn't available for pay increases. But wait, an analysis would clearly show the true facts. A modest multi faceted law firm could quickly come up with these results. If teachers want the facts out there, get going and publish them. Stop the whining. The District population is smarter than most of us here at school. They are good critiques, and will likely give the board feedback.This needs to be published for all to access, if you dare. I would like to know. Start with the funds and budgets budgets of 2015.
Our district pays a lot of people to work in offices. Many of these workers, and others need 2,3, or 5 different district employees to fact find and turn in results on various matters, and these are facts that nobody cares about. For example: why is a 50 year roof leaking after 25 years, why are so many SDC classrooms lacking basic necessities? There aren't sinks, toilets, quiet rooms, nor the supplies to properly decontaminate the classroom of bodily fluids. This is a hazard for all students and staff who enter these classrooms. We aren't allowed the knowledge of what pathogens or diseases our population may spread.
The School District was once a charming and manageable system. With the thousands of newly built homes in the Valley, it can't possibly meet the needs of all its students, teachers, nor those of the SDC classrooms.

Posted by Chris
a resident of Danville
on Jan 29, 2016 at 12:31 pm

To "American" : I'm not a teacher. Like you, I believe in meritocracy. But that's not the issue. The issue is simple: SRVUSD made the commitment to adjust the compensation when the parcel tax was passed, and since it has, they have not fulfilled their obligation.

What your talking about is institutional/structural change that has to occur at the state level. If you could abolish tenure at the regional level, the communities with-in the district will have a financial disaster on their hands. The best teachers will leave for other districts (...just some will be forced to, if their compensation is not adjusted.) The quality of education in the area will be severely compromised, and thus the value of all of the residential real estate in the area will drop significantly. The problems will trickle down from there. Abolishing tenure may sound like a logical concept, but it's just not viable.

Frankly, tenure allows teachers to be able to stand-up for the students, and for their quality of education, when they administrators are making poor choices. It doesn't prevent teachers from being held accountable for their actions or behavior as much as you may think. Sure, just as private businesses where a few individuals may abuse tax policy to steal a few dollars, there are some teachers who may buck the system a bit, but, from what I've seen, it's rare.The friends of mine who teach, are dedicated, and they're working far man than 40 hours per week, and using their personal funds to pay for many of the supplies and tools that they use in their classroom.

Back to the point: the agreement was made and SRVUSD is not living up their end of the bargain.

More to the point: the teachers aren't paid enough... definitely not competitive wages and benefits. If the adjustment is not made, then some of the best and brightest will find greener pastures. They need this, earn it every day and they were promised it.

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