Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Salinas Union High administrators at an impasse with teachers

The Salinas Valley Federation of Teachers, which represents teachers at Salinas Union High School District, is at an impasse in negotiations. Both sides are expecting word on notification for fact-finding. Both the union and district administration have drafted updates about the situation, and I'm going to post them both here.


Update on Negotiations with the Salinas Valley Federation of Teachers

July 31, 2016

Dear Families and Community Members,

As you may know, the Salinas Union High School District (District) and the Salinas Valley Federation of Teachers (SVFT) have been involved in a series of good-faith contract negotiations for the 2015-2016 school year.

In each year that the current bargaining agreement is in effect, the District and SVFT are allowed to negotiate over salary and benefits and each party may request negotiations on up to two additional articles of the contract. The District chose to reopen on Article XIV – Reduced Work Load Program and Appendix O – Salary Formula. SVFT chose to reopen Article XVI – In-Lieu / Compensation for Substitute Service. The District and SVFT have reached tentative agreements on the Reduced Work Load Program and In-Lieu Substitute Service. The District and SVFT have not reached agreement on Appendix O – the Salary Formula in the bargaining agreement.

Appendix O – Salary Formula is a compensation formula that is intended to ensure that SVFT members receive a “fair share” of increases from new unrestricted revenue received by the District from the state of California. The formula has been in place since the 2011-2012 fiscal year. The District remains committed to providing competitive salaries to attract and retain quality teachers. Over the course of the past five school years, SVFT members have received cumulative, noncompounded salary increases of 13.61%. This percentage is among the highest such cumulative increase for any teachers in Monterey County or area comparable districts.

The District, in partnership with SVFT, has taken steps to make the District more attractive to prospective as well as current teachers. New teachers receive signing bonuses for up to $5,000, payable over the first two years of employment. Teachers hired by the District now receive up to 15 years of credit for prior teaching experience (an increase over previous maximum allowable service credit of 7 years), thereby making the District attractive to mid-career teachers considering a change in school districts.

The District pays for and provides the New Teacher Induction program which enables teachers with preliminary teaching credentials to clear their credentials, saving them a cost of $3,000. The District has, in agreement with SVFT, increased the pay rates for substitute teachers and added incentives for frequent service. The District has added time for teacher collaboration by adding minutes to the instructional day and paying teachers for the additional time. In partnership with SVFT, the District is implementing an Educator Effectiveness grant which will provide resources for supporting new teachers throughout their first years of teaching in the District.

The District believes that our hardworking teachers deserve a raise. We also know that to ensure fiscal solvency, the District’s budget must be able to sustain any salary increases without deficit spending. SVFT members receive salary increases based upon the Salary Formula. Basically, the Salary Formula is calculated using the total increase in base revenue from the State of California (State), subtracting the cost of step and column (the year-to-year increases SVFT members receive on the certificated salary schedule), and adding in savings from the hiring of lower cost new teachers to replace those teachers who retire or leave the District. The District and SVFT do not agree whether the Salary Formula allows or should allow the District to factor in the cost of hiring teachers to new teaching positions due to an increase in student enrollment.

When the number of students enrolled in the District increases, the District receives additional funds from the state for those new students. A significant percentage of those new funds must be spent on new teachers to serve the additional students. However, the Salary Formula requires that the District apply all of the new revenue to the Salary Formula. As a result, the District is forced to spend the same dollar twice, once when the new teachers are hired and then again when the same funds are applied to the Salary Formula and are paid out in the form of a raise.

The District’s most recent proposal keeps a revised Salary Formula in place and includes the cost of new teachers due to enrollment growth in the calculation. The District’s proposal would result in an increase in salary of at least 6% retroactive to July 1, 2015. This increase would keep the SUHSD teachers’ salary schedule competitive with other area school districts.

Regarding the District’s reserve: The state requires the District to maintain a minimum of a 3% reserve and District Board policy requires that the District maintain an additional 1% in reserve, for a minimum mandated reserve of 4%. While the current reserve exceeds this 4% minimum, the Salary Formula, if left as is, will result in the reserve falling below the required minimum within three years.

At the July 19, 2016 Board of Trustees meeting the Board participated in a budget study session. At the session, School Services of California (SSC) representatives presented their review of the District’s budget as well as an overview of the current state education funding in California. There is a link to the full SSC presentation on the District web page. SSC concluded that the current budget is sound. SSC also presented sample multi-year projection scenarios showing that increases of compensation of 6% and 7.5% for all employees could cause the district to go into deficit funding.

The District acknowledges that our teachers, counselors, nurses, speech pathologists, therapists, and all other unit members are critical partners in achieving our mission of developing educated learners to the highest standards, preparing them to achieve their life’s aspirations and to be productive citizens in a global society. To that end, the District believes that its Salary Formula proposal fairly compensates our teachers for their hard work and dedication to the District.

The interest of the District is to ensure that the terms of the Salary Formula do not cause the District to deficit spend and that the formula truly operates as a “fair share” formula, applying the fair portion of “new money” to the salary schedule. Not including the cost of new teachers to accommodate student enrollment growth in the Salary Formula calculation causes the District to deficit spend. If the Salary Formula is left unchanged, the deficit spending could impact student programs and materials. Through negotiations with SVFT, the District is seeking to reduce this deficit spending while maintaining the assurance that SVFT members receive fair share increases in compensation.

The District opened negotiations seeking to address these cost concerns. Its intent all along has been to revise the formula to address the cost issues. It has never proposed that the Salary Formula be eliminated. The District values its teachers and their hard work on behalf of the District’s students.

As Superintendent, I am committed to a fair and transparent negotiations process, and want parents and community members to have accurate information. The District will provide additional updates during the negotiation process, which can be found by going to the District website at http://www.salinasuhsd.org/pages/SUHSD.

The District looks forward to continued productive negotiations.


Tim Vanoli,



Salinas Union High School District and the Salinas Valley Federation of Teachers are at impasse and await notification to file for fact-finding. The Salinas Valley Federation of Teachers met with the District Administration on Thursday and, again on Friday, to attempt to resolve the calculation of the salary formula, but was unsuccessful. At issue is the agreed upon salary formula that calculates a fair percentage, based on increased revenue.

For 2015-16, the District enjoys a significant reserve in the general fund, in addition to an additional $16 million in a special fund, Fund 17. Their finances are strong!

Classes begin on Wednesday, August 3 rd for the District’s 14,000 students, and at this time they continue to have 24 teacher vacancies, and the number continues to grow. In fact, each week, the District has lost credentialed, well- qualified teachers to other Districts for higher pay. The sad reality is that the youth of the Salinas community will have classes on Wednesday, without qualified teachers.

The Salinas Valley Federation of Teacher demonstrated good faith to address the looming California State Retirement System obligation; however, the District maintained their position that they couldn’t afford the salary formula calculation, even with a substantial reserve.

Our children and our community deserve to have the best educators creating opportunity and inspiring the dreams of our youth. Please support your educators as they return to work without a settled contract, or salary increase since 2014- 15.

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