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San Ramon Valley teachers authorize strike if contract talks fall apart

Original post made on Mar 5, 2019

In a show of solidarity, 98% of teachers from the San Ramon Valley Education Association have voted to authorize their union leaders to declare a strike should negotiations with San Ramon Valley Unified School District representatives fail.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, March 4, 2019, 4:05 PM

Comments (40)

12 people like this
Posted by Concerned
a resident of San Ramon
on Mar 5, 2019 at 7:12 am

The teachers are bringing this issue into the classroom and telling students to stay home if they strike. They are Pleading their keys to the students, children who is priorities should be learning not getting involved in a labor dispute. This is not right


15 people like this
Posted by Marie
a resident of Danville
on Mar 5, 2019 at 7:16 am

My opinion is, all of these teachers who want to strike are being very selfish. They do not have our children’s best interest at heart. If they do not like their jobs, they should quit and find a different profession. SRVUSD teachers have it made, and elementary school teachers have volunteers doing half of their job. With that said, I do believe teachers should make more, but union should be doing a better job of supporting teachers.


8 people like this
Posted by Not True
a resident of Danville
on Mar 5, 2019 at 7:51 am

@ Concerned, teachers are not telling students to stay home, it is forbidden by the union. Don't make stuff up, educate yourself.


17 people like this
Posted by Herman Glates
a resident of Danville
on Mar 5, 2019 at 8:15 am

Herman Glates is a registered user.

Why are teachers choosing to harm our kids by failing to show up for work?

Teachers say they’re striking to have smaller class sizes, more nurses, librarians, counselors and mental health supports, and for more money.

Instead of striking, why don’t you ask the people in this community for more money? We’ve authorized multiple tax increases before. In addition to taxes, we voluntarily donate millions each year to the school district. If the community says no, then you’re free to go to work for a competing school district or get another job.

Teacher salaries in the district are at or near the top in the region. While the average salary is only $77,000, a pittance, when considering retirement pension, healthcare, and other benefits, the total compensation package is well into the six figures, which should be a manageable amount for a dual income household.


11 people like this
Posted by Concerned
a resident of Danville
on Mar 5, 2019 at 8:17 am

Not not true...my 7th grader has been coming home from school telling me that she is being told to stay home, by the teachers, if they strike.


16 people like this
Posted by ddmom
a resident of San Ramon
on Mar 5, 2019 at 9:00 am

$77,000 for 9 months work and the great retirement and health care benefits, is a fantastic salary! I have many college graduate friends making $60,000 for a 12 month job.


7 people like this
Posted by Maria
a resident of San Ramon
on Mar 5, 2019 at 9:08 am

Let's not blame the teachers, unions, or Districts for this mess. Let's demand action from the State of California to fund education at a higher rate. We are living in a prosperous State yet education is funded below many other states. People at the top needs to wake up. PERS and STRS rate will double for emplyers, cost of living keeps increasing, Health Insurance keeps increasing, and yet we can't get the Silicon Valleys of CA to fund education. Yeh, it's OK we will bring skilled workers from other countries. Wow what a trap. Stop this fight amongst yourselves and demand change from above....


3 people like this
Posted by Art
a resident of San Ramon
on Mar 5, 2019 at 9:34 am

Not True, are you accusing Concerned's child of making up the comment, "telling students to stay home if they strike"? Perhaps that can be collaborated by asking some other students in the class if that comment was make by a teacher???


3 people like this
Posted by Marie
a resident of Danville
on Mar 5, 2019 at 10:44 am

Art: “not true” is most likely a liberal, calling someone a liar because they are not open to their thoughts and ideas.


13 people like this
Posted by Chris
a resident of San Ramon
on Mar 5, 2019 at 12:26 pm

@Herman Glates "Instead of striking, why don’t you ask the people in this community for more money?" That's a good point, why isn't SRVUSD bringing options to the community that the community could choose to fund or not fund? In the non-funding case it is true that teachers can choose to stay or leave, but they can also choose to work only during contracted hours.

@ddmom Sounds like you're assuming teachers work only contracted hours, M-F for 9 months which isn't even close to accurate.

@Marie "SRVUSD teachers have it made, and elementary school teachers have volunteers doing half of their job." I'm not sure what elementary school you've been to because I've never been to a school where every classroom has a volunteer every hour of every day or where parents are staying after school helping teachers write lesson plans. You may be undervaluing the work that the teachers do.


4 people like this
Posted by C. R. Mudgeon
a resident of Danville
on Mar 5, 2019 at 1:43 pm

As soon as the Oakland Teachers strike was settled, the Oakland School Board announced significant cuts to various programs, etc. Some of these were necessary, anyway, due to existing funding constraints. But a portion was directly due to the strike settlement. Every dollar spent on a sweetened salary offer has to come from somewhere else in the budget, as should be obvious. But not to worry, as it’s “for the children”....


13 people like this
Posted by Facts
a resident of San Ramon
on Mar 5, 2019 at 2:06 pm

San Ramon teachers DO have it easy. Only a few actually teach in class. They assign homework assignments and give tests, expecting students to learn on their own. The same assignments are handed out each year; often, they forget to change the date. Many teachers do not respond to school loop emails or address student questions, particularly in middle and high school. The teachers are overpaid for what little they do. The students are learning on their own for the most part.


15 people like this
Posted by Spaghetti-Os
a resident of San Ramon
on Mar 5, 2019 at 2:33 pm

"My opinion is, all of these teachers who want to strike are being very selfish. They do not have our children’s best interest at heart. If they do not like their jobs, they should quit and find a different profession. SRVUSD teachers have it made, and elementary school teachers have volunteers doing half of their job. With that said, I do believe teachers should make more, but union should be doing a better job of supporting teachers."

I just love fundamentally stupid comments like this. You clearly have never paid attention to the work teachers do. The difficulty of their work, how much effort they put into it, the time and money they spend outside of classroom hours to ensure their students succeed. And I challenge you to provide proof of elementary teachers, in this district, farming half their work out to volunteers as you claim. Spoiler alert: you can't. The union fighting for better pay and working conditions for their members is exactly what you're seeing.

You sound like someone who knows no passion in their work or the career you've chosen for yourself. Because if you did, you'd certainly want to be fairly compensated for your work. And you damn sure wouldn't want to be painted as selfish when you ask for better pay and more support staff to back you up in your job. A large swath of the teachers in this district can't even afford to live near the town in which they teach. They ask for for these things because it's what they deserve. And yet, to people like you, they're somehow the bad guys in all this. FOH.


11 people like this
Posted by Cara
a resident of Danville
on Mar 5, 2019 at 3:25 pm

Actually, @Spaghetti-O's, I can vouch for the fact that at my daughter's elementary school each teacher had a "Paraprofessional" who worked 30 hours a week in the classroom, essentially doing the same tasks the teacher did. This position was funded by our donations to the school each year, and the art auction the PTA put on and organized. This does not exist at most other school districts in the bay area.

The teachers apparently think there is an endless pot of gold just sitting there for them if they strike. I would like to live on the 17th mile drive in Pebble Beach, but with my advanced degree I can not afford it. Should I go on strike?

Sorry, teachers union, but the parents in this district have already gone beyond the call of duty for you, in a way no other local district has or will, and you are in for a rude awakening if you think we are going to support your lack of appreciation for what we have provided for you in our district. Don't like it here, move on. Enough is enough, and stop using our kids as pawns in your union negotiations.


10 people like this
Posted by Chloe
a resident of San Ramon
on Mar 5, 2019 at 4:05 pm

We are the 4th least funded district in the state, considering the amount of property taxes we're paying.
The community, teachers, and the District should all work together and go to the State and have this ammended.


19 people like this
Posted by sad teacher
a resident of another community
on Mar 5, 2019 at 4:06 pm

I am a teacher in this district. I live 35 miles away. I commute and hour and 20 minutes to school and one hour home. I leave at 5:45am just in case there is an accident on the highway that might prevent me from being on time to work. I typically get home around 5:30pm. as I write this email I am still at school. I was checking email before I leave for the day, and felt compelled to respond. I return email within minutes or hours to parents and students, unless I am physically doing something that prevents me from doing so. I coach after school sports, and enjoy it because I get to meet kids who will be my future students, and I get to spend time with other students outside the classroom. I do other supportive work within the district and volunteer for multiple committees. I am not a complainer, and am very appreciative for my job. It saddens me DEEPLY to see teachers being talked about in this manner. I am speaking out for my students, that's why we are at impasse. I don't like being told I am greedy and I should look for work elsewhere. I can't afford to live here, so I don't. I don't complain about that. I do however care that I have students who don't receive services they need because we don't have speech and language pathologists. I am concerned that we have such little nursing services when they are needed badly. I am disheartened when our management hides money away and does not spend the money YOU pay in taxes to care for YOUR children. I lose heart when management refuses to negotiate. Negotiation is two ways, not one way or else. That is why we are at impasse. I hope this resolves quickly. The above commentary makes me feel unappreciated in every way possible. My students' parents never talk to me in the manner I am seeing here. It is shocking. Please be thoughtful as you type.


4 people like this
Posted by 4th lowest
a resident of another community
on Mar 5, 2019 at 4:16 pm

We are the 4th lowest funded in LCAP. ALL schools receive the same monies. Districts get funded additional money from LCAP for extra services such as free and reduced lunch, ELD services etcetera. We are the 4th lowest funded for a district of our size because we don't have as many needs as other districts. We have less needs so we receive less money. Look at it from the reverse perspective, we are the fourth highest district of our size that have very little needs for extra services compared to others. Congratulations SRVUSD, we have less problems.


2 people like this
Posted by Teacher
a resident of Danville
on Mar 5, 2019 at 4:24 pm

14% since 2014 is actually 14% since 2008 and none of those raises were easy to get either. Furthermore, the district refuses to negotiate smaller class size and refuses to negotiate a multi-year contract. Teachers have to fight every year for 1-3% percent. Teachers are fighting to give kids the best—smaller classes, more classes, more counselors, teachers who will stick around. What does the District do for you?


12 people like this
Posted by hamilton
a resident of Vista Grande Elementary School
on Mar 5, 2019 at 4:28 pm

hamilton is a registered user.

Marie: Your comment about liberals not being open minded is offensive to me! Keep your politics out of this! One definition of liberal is to be open.

Sad teacher: I am so sorry you are going through this. Several of my friends are teachers. I admire you all. I can't understand the mindset of not wanting to pay you what you are worth!

Have any of you thought to look at the salary of the Superintendent of School? Google it, then tell me the teachers are overpaid!


8 people like this
Posted by Appreciative
a resident of San Ramon
on Mar 5, 2019 at 5:07 pm

Thank you teachers! I know some of you chose this profession because you wanted to make a difference. I know you could have chosen other professions that paid more and you didn’t have to negotiate to show your worth yearly, but you didn’t and you don’t. And because you’ve dedicated your profession to our kids I’m appreciative and don’t want you to leave our district. Many of us moved here for the award winning achievement and you are a huge part of that puzzle. You deserve to be able to afford to live in our community, married or unmarried. I’ve done the research and the data in this article is not presented accurately or fairly.


10 people like this
Posted by Cara
a resident of Danville
on Mar 5, 2019 at 5:33 pm

@Sad Teacher, why do you drive a long distance from your home to work in our school district, instead of working in your own local school district where you live? Let me guess: you like the fact our district is one of the top paying districts in the region; you like the fact there is little to no crime or violence in our schools; you like the fact us parents volunteer our time in the classroom to make your job easier; you like the fact we pay outside tutors to supplement what you teach our kids; You like the fact we donate money to provide "paraprofessionals" in the classroom to help your work load. Sound about right? Otherwise, you would logically work in the school district near your own home, and not waste time commuting a long distance.

I also assume you like having the summers off, so for two months you do not have to commute at all, unlike the rest of the non-teachers in the world who actually work the entire year with no summers off.

Life is full of choices. You go into teaching knowing that your income alone will not be enough to live in the most desirable and affluent neighborhood. But unlike every other job you actually have a pension and a better medical plan than any other workers. For your union to now claim you get two months off every summer, you get more paid holidays than any other occupation, you get a pension that nobody else gets along with a better medical plan, but that is not enough: You also must be able to buy a home in the most affluent neighbors, because you are a teacher, is absurd. Sorry, life is full of choices, and our choice is put our children first, not a union using our kids for their own ridiculous demands.


7 people like this
Posted by Marie
a resident of Danville
on Mar 5, 2019 at 5:42 pm

Chris: not sure if you have an elementary school student, but here are some of the volunteer jobs that parents help with: grading papers, art docent, yard duty, lunch duty, rain duty, helping with projects, helping in science and computer lab, helping in PE, and don’t forget about special events and holidays; obviously the younger grades get more of this than the older ones.

Spaghetti-Os: You are absolutely wrong. I have volunteered for every single job available in all of the schools and I know what the teachers do and do not do. There a good and bad teachers in every school and there are some that truly take advantage of volunteers, and that’s fine with me because I get to spend extra time with my kids, and their friends.

sad teacher: You sound like a very good teacher, I’m sorry that you do not like these comments. I wish you luck. But this does not change my mind. Any teacher that leaves the classroom and chooses money over students is not putting the best interest of students over their own.

Teacher: Teachers are not the only ones that have not been receiving raises. Back in the good all days raises were handed out like candy on Halloween, not anymore.

Hamilton: Sorry you took offense to my words. It’s just my opinion. You are probably a very good person, but it’s just my opinion. Liberals need to be more accepting of other people’s opinions.


15 people like this
Posted by Choices
a resident of San Ramon
on Mar 5, 2019 at 5:58 pm

@ Cara
You’re right about choices. Why don’t you send your children to private school? The teachers aren’t represented by unions there.


14 people like this
Posted by Middle School Teacher
a resident of San Ramon
on Mar 5, 2019 at 6:15 pm

Hi Marie! Middle school teacher here. Perhaps your observations are correct about the support some elementary teachers get from parents, but I can assure you that is not the case at the secondary level in the classroom. Also, I believe it would be wise to educate yourself on what exactly the extent of a teacher's duties are, at the elementary or secondary level. To dismiss it as "half of it is done by parents" is naive.

Hi Cara! My tip to you would be first to educate yourself as to what the job of a paraprofessional is before you use them inappropriately as fodder for your misguided claims. I hope you also realize that teachers don't get paid for the summer months that they don't work during. If you want to simply rely on a teacher workforce that can afford to live in the San Ramon Valley, then be prepared for a teacher shortage but that simply is not feasible given rent and housing prices in this area. I'm surprised you didn't end your post with "let them eat cake!"


4 people like this
Posted by Marie
a resident of Danville
on Mar 5, 2019 at 6:29 pm

Middle School Teacher: You are correct that voluntary help drop significantly at middle school, I was only able to help at lunch, recess, special occasions, and of course PTA events. As far as educating myself about teacher’s duties, I feel I am very well informed giving I used to be a teacher.


28 people like this
Posted by Another Teacher
a resident of San Ramon
on Mar 5, 2019 at 7:30 pm

Hello--another SRVUSD teacher here,

Figured why not throw my hat into the ring here?

I would like to start by saying we hear everything you all are saying. We hear it to our faces, somewhat to our faces through anonymous forums like this, in the media, and in the results of the way we are treated.

I'm sure there is some truth to what you're saying. It's possible a teacher said something in their class out of frustration, however, teachers are allowed to be humans with opinions so long as it's not during active instructional time.

I'm sure there are some teachers out there who reuse assignments from the past. Maybe there's even a couple teachers who "don't teach and just assign stuff." For you to classify every teacher's work as such is reductive and a very poor attempt at an argument.

If you think we get paid a year's salary for 9 months of work, please be aware that we are paid for student hours worked, and it is broken down into a salary. In my example, I work 8-10 hour days M-F and at least 3-5 hours on the weekend every week. I just finished a quick hour at home to make sure that my updated, daily, self-made *note taking guide* for my students is polished for tomorrow--since I teach in class and want my student's notes to be helpful.

If you think we are being greedy, understand that we take care of your children for 1/3 of the day for those "9 months" we work. Be aware that while maybe there are some ineffective teachers out there, for the most part, the work we do matters. It's frustrating for us to have to try defend our value to the community we literally serve.

Those of you saying, "go somewhere else if you don't like renting or commuting, if you have the audacity to think you deserve to have the same quality of life as me"--keep in mind:
a) You're saying that you don't think teachers deserve to live in *your* community.
b) You're saying that you don't value teachers as unique individuals who bring experience and value to a *very* challenging field of work.
c) You're saying that there is always a 1 to 1 replacement for any two teachers, and you don't care who is in the classroom.

Also, know that I have 9 years of SRVUSD math teaching experience, I am a coach, an ASB class advisor, an AP teacher and a well respected teacher on my campus. Know that I am doing just what you're advising. I have put applications into other districts in areas with a more reasonable cost of living--and very similar salary.

I can only hope that the vocal minority of the community there has more empathy for the people who "work 9 months a year, and should stop being so greedy."


6 people like this
Posted by Yes, another teacher! :)
a resident of San Ramon
on Mar 5, 2019 at 8:10 pm

Hi parents and community members!

Just your friendly SRVUSD teacher with a small short lesson to share with you regarding *drum roll please* DIGITAL CITIZENSHIP! Yes, oh yes, it's everyone's favorite topic! I love teaching these lessons every year because what an important life skill to cultivate, right parents?!

Web Link

Parents, please watch the above video. Instead of writing a comment back, I challenge you to "stop, breathe, think, choose, act, and cheer!" (that's the Soul Shoppe lessons we use in our classroom too!)


5 people like this
Posted by @danville
a resident of Danville
on Mar 5, 2019 at 8:52 pm

@Davnille San Ramon article.. please correct your reporting.. your information about the 17% is completely false.. its more like the 14% since 2008..


12 people like this
Posted by Sad teacher
a resident of another community
on Mar 5, 2019 at 9:27 pm

@Cara- SRVUSD is the only district I have ever worked for. I started out only teaching two classes. I teach a class that has never been offered in my local school district. I love middle school and since my local middle schools do not offer my subject I teach, I looked out side my district. That is why I commute. But like I said, I don’t complain about that. I do not take our health benefits our district offers. And I invest heavily into my 403B to secure my retirement. I have never had a parent volunteer in my class. And that is fine with me. I love teaching. I don’t have para professionals in my class either. I never have in 8 years. But I appreciate that our schools have them. My classes have grown in size and sections every year I have taught. I’m grateful. It’s popular and engaging. So what started out as a part time job has turned into a full time job. I do have summers off, but also teach four weeks in the summer. That’s ok too. It’s choices. My true concern is that our district has money and has children with mental, physical and emotional needs in the educational setting that are going without these services for NO REASON. We are not broke. Our district had a task force for special needs education and not one thing has been implemented from that task force. Why are so many people focused on”greed of teachers”. Please open your eyes to see that students are being left behind when we have it in our means to help them.


3 people like this
Posted by Marie
a resident of Danville
on Mar 6, 2019 at 7:30 am

Sad teacher: I don’t think anyone is focusing on “greed of teachers”. Some conservatives just feel that teachers who strike are only doing it for their own benefit. I believe most conservatives agree teachers should be paid more, just don’t sacrifice our children in the process.


6 people like this
Posted by Herman Glates
a resident of Danville
on Mar 6, 2019 at 8:59 am

Herman Glates is a registered user.

Sad Teacher says, “our schools have money…we are not broke.”

She couldn’t be more wrong. We are facing a budget tsunami. It hasn’t hit yet, but it will.

SRVSD, like all public school districts in the state, is facing a pension crisis. California State Teachers’ Retirement System has an unfunded liability of over $100 billion. In the coming decade, SRVSD will be asked to contribute many millions of additional dollars annually. This will eat into SRVSD’s budget and some tough choices will need to be made.

Like all the other districts, SRVSD got a break last year when the state gave it a one-time cash infusion. SRVSD got $9 million. But these temporary funds are meant to help us prepare for the budget doom that awaits. To make matters worse, SRVSD is forecasted to lose 400 pupils per year, which will cost the district over $3.5 million in annual ongoing funding from the state.

And what will happen to school funding when there’s a recession? Right now we are in the good times. This state has enjoyed 10 years of economic prosperity. That will not go on forever.

We need to tighten our belts to save our schools.


3 people like this
Posted by hamilton
a resident of Vista Grande Elementary School
on Mar 6, 2019 at 9:27 am

hamilton is a registered user.

I have a friend who is a high school teacher in the mid-west. Before becoming a teacher, he was an attorney, even arguing a case in the Supreme Court. He became so discouraged doing the attorney work, he decided to become a teacher and help others.
He now works more hours than in his first career for less money. He is happy and fulfilled, though. Teachers deserve much respect.

Marie: I could say the same about conservatives, no offense!


1 person likes this
Posted by hamilton
a resident of Vista Grande Elementary School
on Mar 6, 2019 at 9:28 am

hamilton is a registered user.

I have a friend who is a high school teacher in the mid-west. Before becoming a teacher, he was an attorney, even arguing a case in the Supreme Court. He became so discouraged doing the attorney work, he decided to become a teacher and help others.
He now works more hours than in his first career for less money. He is happy and fulfilled, though. Teachers deserve much respect.

















3 people like this
Posted by Marie
a resident of Danville
on Mar 6, 2019 at 3:48 pm

Hamilton: none taken, thank you.


7 people like this
Posted by parent
a resident of Danville
on Mar 6, 2019 at 8:59 pm

It is funny SRVUSD says that has financial issues, when the main issue is that the superintendent Rick Smitt is taking home $330.000 per year
.. Really..if there is no money how is he making more than the Governorof California.


9 people like this
Posted by LQ
a resident of San Ramon
on Mar 7, 2019 at 7:37 am

Great job commenters! You’ve made our great teachers, the same teachers that have helped our students rank top in the country, feel beaten down and unappreciated! Good work people, that’s really productive! If you have nothing to say that is helpful in reaching a compromise, then do us all a favor and zip it up!


3 people like this
Posted by Agreement
a resident of Walnut Creek
on Mar 7, 2019 at 7:55 am

TENTATIVE AGREEMENT reached last night at 9pm, The teachers did not get all they asked for. No cap on PE and SPED classes among other things. Got 4.18 % salary increase ongoing.


3 people like this
Posted by It’s still on
a resident of San Ramon
on Mar 7, 2019 at 2:26 pm

The process to fact finding and potential strike is still on. But representatives will continue to return to the table to finish this up and do everything we can to avoid a strike. This week has been much more encouraging for negotiations, as management has agreed to negotiate in the true sense of the word.


2 people like this
Posted by bb
a resident of Danville
on Mar 8, 2019 at 7:32 am

bb is a registered user.

Cara-as for your comment regarding paras-teachers do need more help. They are loaded up with kids who have 504's. IEP's, behavior and medical needs that they did not have to manage in the past. I stopped teaching in this district many years ago, but I would have classes with 1/4 of the students having special needs and the rest GATE. Having another adult in the room to meet all the immediate needs is crucial for any effective use of class time.


10 people like this
Posted by Winning
a resident of San Ramon
on Mar 8, 2019 at 5:59 pm

@Cara- “a union using our kids for their own ridiculous demands.” just succeeded in getting their demands. The board of education actually said outright that they agreed that our demands fit their values as well, and could see it was what’s best for students. Interesting. You claimed we were “using” kids, but in fact the kids just got smaller class sizes, lower counselor to student ratios, more nurses, better access to speech and language pathologists because we will now be able to attract and retain professionals and the teachers will get a cost of living increase. Victory for SRVUSD children!


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