Blogging Bayport Alameda

April 2, 2012

Agree to disagree

Filed under: Alameda, School — Tags: , — Lauren Do @ 6:02 am

On Friday morning AUSD released the details of the tentative agreement between the District and the teachers union, AEA.  And later that day AEA members rejected the tentative agreement, according to the press release by AEA, by a two to one margin.

Honestly, I have no words for the frustration that I feel.  I imagine that my frustration pales in comparison to everyone involved in the actual process, after all I’m not really an active participant other than having a child in the district.   I thought that given the late night negotiations and the time and effort that had been put into this tentative agreement that it would have been accepted by AEA members, but I guess that is not the case here.

A few notable items from the rejected agreement, 2011-2012 teachers would have received a one-time 1% payment.  Let’s call it a “bonus” to make it easy.   While it is not the size of the initial request, it’s definitely a little something and would have been paid out to teachers on June 30th.

For the 2012-2013 school year, the District had agreed to salary increases contingent on the state budget.  If the Average Daily Attendance compensation was greater or equal to $5226.64 per student then there would have been an on-going 1.5%  salary bump.   If the compensation was less than that number then the salary bump would only have been for the 2012-2013 and would have reverted back to 2011-2012 levels.

In the rejected contract there was a “collaboration pilot” for the 2012-2013 which I’m not sure actually means in concrete terms of how it would have made an impact within the classroom other than saying that the intent was to “improve instruction.”   The collaboration pilot would have necessitated some slight adjustments in the school day for students either once a week or once every two weeks depending on the school.

There was a new “Academic Freedom” portion in the contract which would have allowed teachers to “exercise professional judgment” to fulfill their duties.  Which essentially means that teachers would have been able to bring any supplemental materials that they thought would enhance their curriculum, but they still would have had to use District selected materials unless they found outdated or erroneous information within the text and then they would have needed to report that to the Director of Curriculum and Instruction.

In the rejected agreement there was language about the magnet and innovative programs that said that the provisions of 10.04.042  (p.50) would not apply to teachers who elected to go to magnet programs, which essentially just means no seniority preference for positions in the magnets and innovative programs.

There were also new class size maximums which replaced the old contract which would have reverted the K-3 class sizes back down to 20:1.  So here were the new maximums for the grade levels:

So, if you are like me, you will note that in the Fiscal Emergency some of the maximize class sizes are actually lower than the normal class size maximums which is really odd.  Added into the mix was a provision that if Measure A is repealed or expires, class sizes for K-3 will revert to 32:1.

Also, I don’t know if this was a new provision or not, too lazy to go back and check the old contract, but in this contract there was a clause that stated that if a teacher has more students than the established maximums within a certain time period then they will be compensated additional monies.

So that was sort of a brief summary of what was in the rejected contract.   I honestly don’t know what happens now.   I guess back to the bargaining table, but this uncertainty is so disheartening it feels like there will never be a compromise that works for both sides.



  1. When the board caved to the superintendents demand for a raise, they laid the groundwork for the current state of affairs. Compare her raise,( guaranteed 3% yearly), plus bonuses and health care to what they are now offering teachers and the overwhelming vote should not be surprising.

    Comment by Barbara Kahn — April 2, 2012 @ 6:43 am

  2. That link to the T.A. appears to be broken.

    It’s here instead:

    Comment by Susan Davis — April 2, 2012 @ 7:23 am

  3. Here is an Op-Ed by the Margie Sherratt regarding the vote by Alameda Education Association members:

    Comment by Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonAUSD) — April 2, 2012 @ 8:06 am

  4. The district link to the tentative agreement is now this:

    Comment by Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonAUSD) — April 2, 2012 @ 9:01 am

  5. So what items in the contract were cause for 2/3 of teachers to reject it?

    What were the top things that AUSD management and teachers wanted? Was the agreement a fair compromise or not?

    If the teachers rejected the agreement by such a large margin, then why did the AEA negotiator(s) agree to the language of the tentative agreement?
    Did the AEA negotiator compromise too much?

    I keep keep reading about the superintendent’s raise. How does the AUSD superintendent’s compensation compare to other school districts of same size in California?

    I also keep hearing about the teacher’s salaries are one of the lowest. Does anyone have data on this? Did other bay area school districts give one time bonuses?

    Comment by alamedavoterlurker — April 2, 2012 @ 10:39 am

  6. The Average Total Compensation with salary, benefits and retirement for a Teacher in Alameda is 500.00 plus a Day…..So were worrying about 5.00 -7.50 a day added to their salary, benefits and retirement…Lets pass the hat and run fundraiser,

    Comment by John — April 2, 2012 @ 10:58 am

  7. There isn’t anything we wouldn’t do for our Teachers. We have sacrificed funding a large part of our Sports Programs in the Schools putting a huge burden on the Students Parents and the Community to insure Teachers are fairly Compensated.

    I guess it’s Just all about the Teachers and Screw the Students and Parents who are already in over their heads just trying to keep up.

    Here is another side of story teachers might not see.


    Hi John… hope you’re doing great.. Wanted to check in with you about the organizations being supported and see what we might be able to do about including XXX High… I think you have in the past. We have a golf tournament every year for football to raise money… crab feed for baseball – not sure what basketball does but XXXX played all those as you know… And then there’s Boosters. They fund all the infrastructure needs for all the sports at AHS. Anyway… just wanted to put a bug in your ear about AHS… XXXX is a senior this year but XXXX still coaches football and I plan on still supporting the fundraising efforts even after XXXX graduates… I did forward info to XXXX… he hasn’t been golfing for a few years… bad back stuff but maybe this time we can at least come joing the party. It would be great to see everyone… Take care and let me know your thoughts…

    Talked to the XXXXXXXXX and we would like to offer up a round of golf (for two I think) at the XXXX golf tournament for your prize pool…- Tournament will be XXXXXXXXXX, 2012. Would that work for you? Let me know and I can get some paperwork going- contact info, etc….

    We also plan on having an alumni night at the football games this year where we will do some recognition, etc. More planning to do on that one of course….

    And I sent the email to XXXX… we’ve become such party poopers lately… can hardly keep up with that 18 year old and all his sports activities!! But it’s fun! Let me know John about the donation… best we can do since we have no money ourselves!!



    Please bring XXXX and come down for dinner and drinks….It will be XXXX treat…It’s really in the Spirit of Tournament…I really don’t know how some families are doing it nowdays with Kids….always getting pounded for money for every activitiy from every angle….Have a fabulous weekend …Look forward to seeing you guys…In Highest Regards


    Comment by John — April 2, 2012 @ 11:47 am

  8. I don’t know if this is directly related but I passed the district office on Thursday shortly after 5 pm when a group of people emerged, commenting about Ms. Vital and her failure to reject her new compensation agreement. At least three of the people (teachers?) were actively engaged in discussing their dissatisfaction with the school board and the Superintendent about this. I wondered if they had just come out of a meeting. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that it’s proving to be an even bigger mistake than we first thought. The taxpayers feel betrayed, and so do the teachers. Vital’s credibility is around zero. Great work AUSD board!

    Comment by Denise Shelton — April 2, 2012 @ 2:29 pm

  9. I do not fault the Board so much as Ms. Vital, who was rather “tone deaf” with this one. All she needed to do was say to the Board “Thank you for your confidence in me, but I am unable to accept this increase in pay and benefits as long as the District cannot similarly compensate its teachers and classified personnel.” She could have established herself as a leader by doing that – putting her own needs below the needs of the District and giving some props to the teachers. We all know that the money is not there for what the teachers want, and many, deserve. However, the symbolism of the Superintendent’s raise at such an inopportune moment is huge and is the source of much unhappiness and distrust on the part of the staff. Not the only problem of course, but one that would have been easy to give resolution to. The time is past now; when people who work hard feel disrespected and discouraged they often will act against their own self interest. I am praying that there will be no strike; if we ever want to pass another school bond that would be a disaster.

    Comment by Kate Quick, — April 2, 2012 @ 2:49 pm

  10. 9.I do not fault the Board so much as Ms. Vital, who was rather “tone deaf” with this one……I’d say the Board and Ms. Vital are both to blame. What a mess and I have a few votes I’d like to take back!

    Comment by J.E.A. — April 2, 2012 @ 3:19 pm

  11. What I find stunning is that the agreement that was rejected was just that — an agreement between the District and the AEA’s leadership. The tentative agreement was negotiated, and the AEA’s leadership AGREED to those terms. So the AEA members and their supporters (family members) who have elsewhere described the agreement as “fascist” or “unconstitutional” might want to ask their leadership why they agreed to those “fascist” and “unconstitutional” terms.

    If it was a bad deal from the inception, as AEA’s leadership now contends, the AEA’s leadership was either incompetent in accepting the those terms, or was misleading the District when it agreed to terms that they knew would be unacceptable to the members. And if it was a good deal, then the AEA did a disservice to its members by not adequately explaining the contract. In any event, it’s very apparent that the AEA’s leadership did not do the members any favors by accepting the terms of what they are now portraying as an unacceptable agreement. At best, it makes the AEA look like an unreliable bargaining partner (and possibly even engaged in unfair bargaining practices). At worst, it makes the AEA’s leadership look incompetent.

    Comment by Oh the Irony! — April 2, 2012 @ 3:39 pm

  12. I’m conflicted. On the one hand, I know what a hard job our teachers have, as I’ve seen it up close; my husband is a former high school teacher. He didn’t work for AUSD, but another east bay district. I remember how frustrating it was that his salary looked great on paper ($55 K) but a huge chunk was taken out for medical coverage (around $11K). It’s frustrating to read comments on Patch and elsewhere that repeat the old canards of “three months off” or “not bad money for working 6 hours a day.” He would work 70 hour weeks on a regular basis during the school year, and would go back to work (if not to the classroom) 2 or 3 weeks before the start of school to work on lesson plans. This, in addition to teaching 6 weeks of summer school most summers (which are not 3 months long– most schools get out mid-June and start end of August– grrrr….). People who have never taught have no clue. None whatsoever. But they like to talk like they do.

    So on the other hand, you have the union. Which represents teachers who are feeling rightly burned by the school board’s giving Vital a sweet deal. OK. I thought the school board, by offering this deal, and Vital, by accepting it, absolutely tone-deaf. But in the end, there is one superintendent, hundreds of teachers, and we’re stuck in this crazy economic climate where we don’t know what to expect from the State of CA from year to year. And you have an agreement that was (one assumes) the AEA’s best effort to get at least something from the district. So what does it mean that it was so soundly rejected? It is starting to smell a bit like AEA wanted it to be rejected. What a waste of time and effort.

    Comment by Kristen — April 2, 2012 @ 5:13 pm

  13. No one has identified the real issue. The District claimed they were in dire straits last year and asked the teachers for salary concessions, so the teachers voted to give 41/2 % of their salary to the District last year in the form of 8 furlough days. The District said thank you, Measure A passed, and they didn’t have to spend the money. The District kept the money and still has it. The school board then gave raises to the SIX top AUSD executives.

    The teachers would settle for getting their money back. 2% this year and 2 1/2 % next year. What would be wrong with that?

    When the District offers a “bonus” you tax mavens should,know that it’s taxed at a higher rate than salary. The offer is a joke and most teachers make less than they did 5 years ago due to rising medical costs (over $1000 a month for a family).

    The AEA had to present the offer under the terms of the mediation, and explained it thoroughly.That is why it was voted down. The next offer will determine whether there will be a strike for the first time in Alameda.

    Comment by Really? — April 2, 2012 @ 7:50 pm

  14. Vital getting a raise is not a good reason for rejecting the tentative agreement.
    Vital may be “tone deaf” but that is a red herring. It’s a separate issue from the tentative agreement, no?

    The fact is the mediator, AEA union, and AUSD agreed on the tentative agreement. right?

    This looks like AEA did a poor job representing the union during negotiations. Or did a poor job selling the vote to the membership.
    Not even close, going down with 2/3 defeat. Poor job in negotiation or poor job in convincing the union members.

    If AEA’s bargaining rep(s) felt the agreement was “facist” then why did they sign off on the tentative agreement?

    Who was the mediator? Who are AEA and AUSD reps during the bargaining talks? How about some sunshine and transparency.

    Comment by alamedavoterlurker — April 2, 2012 @ 9:31 pm

  15. It really isn’t a matter of whether the deal offered is good or bad. The problem is that, by offering the new employment package to Vital (and Vital’s failure to do the politically smart thing and reject it), the AUSD Board has created an atmosphere so hostile, that even a deal in the teachers’ best interest will fall on their now-deaf ears. (I can’t believe I voted for some of these people. Margie, in particular, is a shocking disappointment. I guess even good people lose touch with reality.) As for “conflicted” Kristen’s comment above, I agree that something smells when a citizen defends the superintendent’s raise because “there’s only one superintendent, hundreds of teachers, and we’re stuck in this crazy economic climate…” That’s the kind of thinking that awards bonuses to Fortune 500 CEO’s while they sell off assets and lay off thousands of Americans. Hey, if it works on Wall Street…

    Comment by Denise Shelton — April 3, 2012 @ 9:45 am

  16. The district is carrying an absurdly-large surplus of roughly 20% of its annual budget, with no explanation of what its intentions are for that surplus. That money was given to the district *to be spent on education,* not to be hidden away in a bank account for some unrevealed purpose.

    Add to that the very small amounts of the two bonuses, after almost a decade of wage stagnation and a one-time salary give-back of about 4.5% last year.

    On top of that, consider the Superintendent’s extremely comfortable base pay, roughly $200,000, which now will be gaining 3% per year for the next 3 years — *plus* bonuses, *plus* a benefits package that dwarfed teachers’ and just got enriched.

    Add to that the fact that the proposed contract had provisions to remove the school calendar from bargaining — and the fact that the calendar was the only motivation that brought the district to a bargaining table to *begin* with.

    Superintendent, School Board… you should respect your teachers more, and treat us better. Some day, we might be *worth* something.

    Comment by onecrazyirishteacher — April 3, 2012 @ 10:02 am

  17. As far as teacher worth, here’s the New York Times’ view of the matter:

    Comment by onecrazyirishteacher — April 3, 2012 @ 10:35 am

  18. It’s important to remember that the teachers are the professionals here and we are indebted to them to educate our children. They have a right to fight for a decent contract. They are not asking for the moon or anything that will break the district. Yes, the budget needs to be met, but not by undermining our teachers. I hope the District (Ms. Vital, the Board, etc) will realistically negotiate.

    Maybe AEA could hire a lawyer, which would put them on more equal footing (since the District is using one). A lawyer might be less expensive than a strike in the long run. Either way, I support the teachers. People who contribute to the growth of our kids, lead by example everyday deserve to be respected and listened too. They want to do a good job in the classrooms, but that is hard when demoralized.

    Comment by Alapeeps — April 3, 2012 @ 11:24 am

  19. #16. A 20% reserve, especially in light of the possibilities of further cuts by the State is not “absurd”. It is prudent, and may save a bunch of teachers and a bunch of classrooms in the long run. It is similar to the City’s reserve, and that is prudent too. This is not like a discretionary savings account, it is a safety net, and all things considered the likely event the schools all across the state will be forced to need a net is very high. I would like it very much if we had the money to pay what teachers deserve, but it isn’t there now.

    Comment by Kate Quick, — April 3, 2012 @ 11:49 am

  20. 16 — Crazy Irish,

    You haven’t been paying attention if you think there are no plans for the reserve. If you look at the three year projections, even if ALL the reserves are used (which would be an incredibly imprudent thing to do), the District will be facing a deficit by 2013-14. In other words, the surplus will be spent on maintaining current salaries and existing programs. You can view the three year financials here:

    And the calendar issue is a complete red herring. The tentative agreement would actually have given teachers MORE control over the calendar than the existing contract. For the next two years, the tentative agreement gave the teachers three options (which were generated through discussions between the District and the AEA’s calendar committee.) The teachers would get to select which of the three options they want. The District could have imposed a calendar only if the AEA rejected all three options. In contrast, under the current agreement, the district was obligated to try to reach an agreement with the AEA about calendar, but had the right to impose a calendar if no agreement was reached. In any event, there has to be some sort of mechanism for creating a calendar if the parties cannot reach an agreement. Otherwise, we’ll have no school.

    As for the money issue, I think that the school board and district administrators would like to see the teachers get a raise, but it has to be done in a fiscally prudent way. Remember that unless the District gets more funds from Sacramento in the coming years, the District will be running at a deficit in 2013-14 even if ALL the reserves are used. So the AEA has to be realistic about what is feasible in terms of increased compensation. I think that the tentative agreement’s plan to tie compensation to state funding was prudent and realistic. We are at the mercy of state funding, after all.

    Comment by Oh the Irony! — April 3, 2012 @ 12:14 pm

  21. I would like to thank the AEA negotiating team for bring this contract for a vote. From everything I have experienced in the district the couple of years, I do believe it was the Last Best Offer on the table. To me, LBO on the table means that AEA negotiated the best contract they could and it was their duty to bring it before the members for a vote. Just because they brought it to vote does not mean that AEA members have to agree. We have had press releases, misinformation and confusing details from all parties involved. I for one, appreciate that I was able to let my voice be heard with my vote. Everyone should now know that it is not a small negotiating committee, not a district representative or a board member that are upset, it is a vast majority of teachers. At a minimum this vote should have everyone’s attention.

    Comment by Tkoeberl — April 3, 2012 @ 5:09 pm

  22. Question for some of our number crunching community members. AEA was offered a one time 1% bonus. My share will be around $450. What is the percentage for the superintendents bonus? The AEA was offered a 1.5% raise that was tied to state funding? What was the superintendents raise and what amount does she lose if state funding is cut? Please do not equate these questions to my reason for dissatisfaction with the TA that was voted down. Bottom line my concerns are about the subjective language anonymous and significant. I am also greatly concerned about language to increase class sizes. Not the 20 to 1 we have been discussing, but the language to increase over the 25 to 1 for k3 if there are state cuts. The new Hayward superintendent has promised that any cuts from the state in the future will all come from the district office, no classes will be touched. But AUSD would have teachers give back the 1.5% raise and leaves language to increase class sizes? It seems just fine for teachers and students to sacrifice, where is the sacrifice in the district offices?

    Comment by Tkoeberl — April 3, 2012 @ 5:28 pm

  23. Tina, the complaint resolution process under the TA would have given the teachers MORE protection than the current agreement. Under the current agreement, ALL complaints can be investigated even if they are anonymous and insignficant. Under the TA, if a complaint was anonymous and insignficant, it would not have been investigated. So the teachers should have had fewer concerns about the process under the TA than they do now. And the increase in class sizes is more or less the same as what can be done now. It would only happen in the event of financial armageddon. No one wants it and there will be hell to pay if it happens, but it does allow the district some flexibility if it comes to choosing class size vs. program cuts or layoffs or furlough days or other equally unattractive options.

    Comment by Oh the Irony! — April 3, 2012 @ 6:15 pm

  24. Oh the irony!- Thank you for your interpretation. This is an perfect example of how working conditions in the district have deteriorated. Prior to the last three years I would have agreed with your interpretation.. However, your interpretation makes the assumption that all parties have objective and professional ethical standards, as well as motives that begin with assuming the best in people. The language in 20.03.02 “A significant complaint is defined as one likely to lead to discipline against a member, to negatively affect a members evaluation, or lead to legal or criminal investigation.”. The word significant is subject, if a principal or district administrator does not like something about you, could be the color of your hair to the your horrible classroom management. There are already laws and procedures to address “significant”. What I have witnessed, is the “negatively affecting members evaluations” is already being used in the district to intimidate teachers and gives administrators a ticket to “catch em doing wrong”. Teachers have been targeted and their careers unnecessarily turned upside down, by “anonymous” reports. This is not good for students. Administrators determining what is and is not a significant anonymous report, is part of the reason for so many grievances. If I can be written up and things added to my evaluation, I deserve to know who are the accusers and the specifics of the infraction. How can I grow as a professional or give a more complete picture of a situation if I am in the dark. Serious significant concerns, can be anonymous, but they should be serious enough to warrant an investigation beyond the site administrators. Thanks for the civil dialogue and sensitivity, Our views and experience may be different, but our behavior and discourse can be a teaching moment for our students and community as a whole.

    Comment by Tkoeberl — April 3, 2012 @ 7:12 pm

  25. The AEA negotiating team brought the best contract language they could get to the AEA members. They supported the tentative agreement and explained it thoroughly. Just because the AEA members voted it down doesn’t mean they did not do a good job of “selling” it or did not represent their members.
    I voted it down because the complaint resolution process does not give us more protection. Mainly because the district sees every concern or complaint as significant and that teacher must be punished. They will reject the calendars AEA present to them, as they did earlier this year, and then they will make their own calendar. They will continue to compensate the executive cabinet and spend money they don’t have and then they will deem a financial Armageddon and increase class size. The contract language put to us for a vote will permanently replace the current language.
    This district does not even attempt to resolve grievances, or other issues that come up at the lowest level. The full time attorney the district has put on their payroll is involved at the lowest level. The current administration is out to break the teachers’ union. They have already gotten rid of the ACSA, which was the labor organization for principals and other administrators.
    Well, they will not bust the teachers’ union. We have stood together and weathered horrible superintendents and school boards before and we will prevail. This vote of two to one against the tentative agreement is evidence of our unity.

    Comment by inquisitivegargoyle — April 3, 2012 @ 7:30 pm

  26. 24 — Tina, complaints can ALWAYS be made anonymously and there are good reasons for that (retaliation, sexual abuse, etc.) Right now, the District has the unfettered right to investigate ALL complaints even if they are anonymous and insignificant. The TA would have limited that power.

    Although you seem to be concerned about how the District is currently handling complaints, according to the District’s website, the AEA did not reopen the Article 20 which relates to complaints, so the situation will remain the same for the foreseeable future. It won’t be the subject of upcoming negotiations. That means that the position you’re taking is that it’s better for the District to maintain the status quo and continue to have complete and unfettered discretion with respect to complaints as they do now instead of giving you greater rights to contest complaints as the TA would have done.

    That makes absolutely no sense to me.

    Comment by Oh the Irony! — April 3, 2012 @ 7:58 pm

  27. “They” may not bust the teachers union, but they don’t need to. If AEA strikes, it busts itself.

    Comment by Ah, unions..... — April 3, 2012 @ 7:58 pm

  28. Comment sections on blogs are a perfect example of the reason I don’t agree with present and TA contact language around anonymous complaints. Just as, misleading, condescending, or disrespectful posts are easy to quickly write and send, so are anonymous complaints. How many “anonymous” complaints can be made before they are significant? Who makes that judgement? If AEA did not open this section of the contract, are you saying that it was opened by the district as a way to help teachers out? My experience leaves me more skeptical.
    I do not claim to have all the answers but I do wish to be in thoughtful dialogue to educate myself and others, even at the risk of retaliation. Sincerely, Tina Koeberl. AUSD teacher, 10 years, AHS.

    Comment by Tkoeberl — April 3, 2012 @ 9:51 pm

  29. Tina, I don’t believe I’ve been misleading, condescending or disrespectful. I just presented the facts as I understand them. I don’t know why the complaint issue was included in the tentative agreement, but I can make an educated guess that, as part of an effort to reach a global agreement in mediation, the District agreed to address a section of the contract that was not otherwise on the table. During a mediation, you can address whatever you issues want. The rules regarding collective bargaining outside mediation are different.

    If you don’t believe me or don’t like what I have to say, I encourage you to ask your union leadership whether they opened the article having to do with complaints against unit members (which according to documents available on the District’s website is Article 20). If the union did open that article, you can come back and tell me why I’m wrong.

    Comment by Oh the Irony! — April 3, 2012 @ 10:14 pm

  30. Just a small clarification, AEA did open Article 20. Please refer to the AEA openers on the boards agenda for January 10, 2012.

    Comment by cturnover — April 3, 2012 @ 10:29 pm

  31. BTW: For anyone who’s interested, there’s now a letter from the Superintendent about the negotiations posted on Patch.

    Comment by Oh the Irony! — April 3, 2012 @ 10:29 pm

  32. #30 — Thanks. I see that Article 20 was listed as a point for the successor contract. I had been looking at the information related to the reopeners permitted by the MOU.

    But that doesn’t really change my main point. The tentative agreement provided MORE protection for teachers than the current agreement. I don’t think that can be disputed. And given the procedural posture of the negotiations on the successor contract (which is lagging the first, still unresolved, reopener by about a year), the current rules giving the District unrestricted discretion are likely to be in place for a very long time unless the parties can reach an agreement.

    Comment by Oh the Irony! — April 3, 2012 @ 11:09 pm

  33. 29. I think the “condescending, disrespectful” in 28 was in part a reaction to 27 as an example of bad anonymity. so maybe don’t take it personally.

    27. ah, unions! yeah, don’t forget the 40 hour work week, child labor laws etc. I’m surprised that people are so willing to attack organized labor as if nothing good has ever come of it. Not saying there are not problems, but what system would you replace it with?

    I’ve found this thread of comments, especially from 21 down ( excluding 27) , to be very welcome and the caliber of exchange we need to find resolution. A much welcome departure from antagonistic, inflammatory comments by dave on Patch. The little feedback I’ve heard from teachers about no votes relates specifically to this subject of anonymous complaints, not the money.

    Comment by M.I. — April 4, 2012 @ 12:00 am

  34. Speaking of timing and tone-deafness.
    Much has been said in this forum regarding the superintendent’s raise. Some blame the superintendent. Some blame the AUSD board. But definitely not a smart tactical move.

    There is another timing issue to consider. The voters just approved Measure A to support Alameda schools last year. I voted for the parcel tax.

    So now the teacher’s union members just rejected a contract which included a one time 1% bonus.

    Not a big amount, but in this economy, with unemployment rates at current level, it’s something to consider.

    If there is going to be a teacher’s strike. This is very bad timing.

    Comment by WinSomeLoseSome — April 4, 2012 @ 9:56 am

  35. Teachers do not want a strike and I’m sure the district does not either. No one benefits from a strike.

    On another topic, there are many things in the AEA contract the district can agree to, which do not involve money. You can’t write contract language for respect, but you can write contract language that outlines procedures. (i.e. grievances, discipline, calendar) Those procedures can reflect a mutual respect.

    Comment by inquisitivegargoyle — April 4, 2012 @ 11:45 am

  36. Something to Consider for AEA Leadersip and District Teachers when attacking School Board and Ms. Vital

    “Ph.D. in Leadership. Make a list of all the things done to you that you abhorred. Don’t do them to others. Ever. Make another list of things done to you that you loved. Do them to others. Always.”

    Dee Hock

    Tom Peters: Gain Respect by Giving It

    Comment by John — April 4, 2012 @ 5:03 pm

  37. John- thank you for the link. However, chastising teachers about showing up and being present, strikes my funny bone. And I do say this with respect. Emails and blogs can be very dangerous. Authors and readers often completely misunderstand what the other is saying. This is especially true, considering the vast majority of human language is communicated in body language, voice tone and facial expression. People are asking about facts and what do expect next or what do you suggest we do to move forward. I guess the best we can do was answered with the vote. The proper people need to go back to table, the official fact finding needs to continue and for me back to the classroom on Monday. AEA already voted, we trust our negotiating team to follow procedure. That is respectful, factual and focused. Thanks John for the video. We should ALL watch it.

    Comment by Tkoeberl — April 4, 2012 @ 7:28 pm

  38. Tkoeberl

    I witnessed the School Board Meeting on November 7th. In fact it was on a few more times on Educational channel and was truly shocked and awed by the behavior and Ranting by Teachers and AEA leadership. The Jerry Springer Show Actors could not have made you guys look any worse. I hope youlllllllll can work it out…..Unfortunately the Cameras don’t lie.

    Comment by John — April 4, 2012 @ 7:48 pm

  39. I guess that my point is, who do you know better, the teachers or the admin? Who have you known as those who see your children more than you do, and who are often neighbors and friends? Are the people you have known so long that liable to turn suddenly into horrible monsters? There are a number of reasons why the vote was so heavily negative, and it was NOT through misunderstanding. Keep in mind that economic deprivation has been the case for well over a decade, and I don’t believe that the veteran teachers will put up with much more of it. You get what you pay for, as the saying goes, and AUSD teachers perform well while STILL existing at the near- bottom of the county. Once demoralized and economically squeezed, how long can that continue?

    Comment by Sfb — April 12, 2012 @ 3:36 pm

  40. SFB

    Discounting the Actions by the Teachers and AEA at School Board Meeting and getting ready to pay my property tax on Measure A, and speaking of being Sqweeeeezed and saying this was for the Students as Teachers Adminstrators and Staff seem to be 95% beneficarys of Measure A while the Kids Get what a Piece of Chalk and a Run Down pool to swim in or maybe you can subsitute s new Slip and Slide and call it aquatic center.

    Total Compensation on Average for a Teacher in AUSD is over 500.00 a Day. I know it doesn’t seem like much, But is 5 Times as Much as we pay our subs and many of those have the same qualifications as Veteran Teachers but just can’t find other jobs in this economy and work for 100.00 a day

    We would love to pay you more. But you fail to mention that your Retirement Benefits have increased over 2000% in last 15 years. California Teachers are the Highest Paid teachers in Country and students are performing 48th Nationally .

    48 % of your Students in AUSD are failing to grasp the Subject and scoring basic and far below basic like they are in Science and 42% in Math and 41% in History.

    Science CST 70% Grade C –

    Science end of Course 51.7 % Grade F

    Math Grades 2-7 58% Grade F

    History 8-11 59.3% Grade F

    English 2-11 66 % Grade D

    Basic: This level represents a limited performance. Students demonstrate a partial and rudimentary understanding of the knowledge and skills measured by this assessment, at this grade, in this content area.

    Far Below / Below Basic: This level represents a serious lack of performance. Students demonstrate little or a flawed understanding of the knowledge and skills measured by this assessment, at this grade, in this content area.

    Many Parents are working multiple jobs have opted out of sending their Kids to AUSD because of your performance. You might be reading to many of your own News clippings .

    I hope you alllllll are able to work it out.

    Comment by John — April 12, 2012 @ 6:29 pm

  41. SFB Regarding your Statement

    “You get what you pay for, as the saying goes”

    California’s Billion Dollar Club’: Study Finds The Biggest Donors In CA Politics

    They spent over 200 Million in Last 10 Years buying influence

    #1 California Teachers Association”
    California Teacher’s Assocation • 11
    California Teachers As socation
    Total Spending: $211,849,298
    The California Teachers Association (CTA) is California’s largest union representing
    public school teachers. It is the state affiliate of the National Education Association.
    The chart below shows the amount of money spent by the California Teachers Association/
    Association for Better Citizenship, the California Teachers Association Issues PAC
    and the California committee of the National Education Association to influence California
    voters and public officials.
    Ballot Measures $144,116,835
    Candidates $16,716,386
    Political Parties $6,613,834
    Other Campaign Committees $5,885,936
    GRAND TOTAL SPENT $211,849,298
    Highlights of California Teachers Association spending:
    * The biggest expenditure, $26,366,491, was made to oppose Proposition 38 on
    the 2000 ballot. The measure sought to enact a school voucher system in California.
    It was defeated 29.4% to 70.6%.
    California Teachers Association • 12
    * Spent more than $50,000,000 to defeat three ballot measures on the 2005 special election statewide ballot.
    ¾ ¾Spent $8,224,449 opposing Proposition 74, which sought to make changes in the probationary period for California school teachers. The proposal was defeated 44.8% to 55.2%.
    ¾ ¾Spent $12,102,416 opposing Proposition 75, which sought to prohibit the use of public employee union dues for political contributions without individual employees’ prior consent. The measure was defeated 46.5% to 53.5%.
    ¾ ¾Spent $13,681,685 opposing Proposition 76, concerning state spending and minimum school funding requirements. The proposal was defeated 37.6% to 62.4%.
    ¾ ¾In addition to the millions spent directly to defeat Propositions 74, 75 and 76, CTA contributed another $20,194,994 in 2005 to the Alliance for a Better California, which, in turn, used the money to help defeat these same propositions.
    * Spent nearly $12,000,000 supporting Propositions 1A and 1B on the 2009 special statewide election ballot.
    ¾ ¾Those measures dealt with changes in the budget process and extra money for local school districts and community colleges.
    ¾ ¾Proposition 1A was defeated 34.6% to 65.4% and Proposition 1B was defeated 38.1% to 61.9%.
    * The largest contributions to a political party among the identified special interest groups were made by the California Teachers Association to the California Democratic Party — totaling $6,503,499.

    Comment by John — April 12, 2012 @ 7:14 pm

  42. Well, folks, in the school where I work, the scores are MUCH higher, and, in the classes that some of us teach, like me, our success rate with our over-crowded AP classes has had us in the top 2% of high schools in the nation. Check Newsweek, we’ve been there consistently. As for stats, how about California being 48th in teacher spending, and I believe near 50th in class sizes, and how about Alameda being even lower than the state average of per pupil spending?

    As for political contributions, who wouldn’t pay to preserve their livelihood in the midst of the all out attack on teachers, police and firemen? Yup, a real triangle of evil!

    Comment by SFB — April 12, 2012 @ 8:22 pm

  43. By the way, thanks to clever AUSD methods, it takes a teacher a minimum of 5 years to get tenure now. Like it or not, it is not a two year track anymore.

    Comment by SFB — April 12, 2012 @ 8:25 pm

  44. SFB

    Individuals as well as local Cities, Counties, and State Government are having a rough time handling the economy……Most in private sector have been hit very hard and there are many under employed and unemployed and many that just said screw it.Alot have had to change their lifestyles and are making huge sacrifices.

    I know 500.00 a day on average total compensation for a Teacher seems embarrasing and slap in the face while there are thousands of families in the District whose Parents Daily total Compensation is a fraction of that and are being asked to pay for every activity their student participates in.

    Right now I’m a Little more concerned about them. I guess in your eyes I’m Evil.

    Comment by John — April 12, 2012 @ 10:37 pm

  45. John,
    I’ve seen you state previously about the teachers’ $500 per day salary. You may dissect the budget all you want but the bottom line is that teachers gross nowhere near that. Even the teachers at the top of the pay scale.

    The division between teachers and the community is coming from the administration, not because the teachers are greedy. Teachers simply want to work under fair working conditions with an administration that bargains in good faith when contracts expire. The AEA voted down the tentative agreement because of many reasons. I can’t speak for all but some of the issues were the PERMANENT increase in class size (even though Measure A provides money for smaller class sizes), FORCED collaboration that would decrease teaching time at many schools (collaboration is great but we can’t afford to lose valuable time with students!), and the CONDITIONAL pay raise for teachers that is half that of the administrators’ multi-year, guaranteed raise. Yes John, after 13 years as a professional teacher I feel that I deserve to be treated respectfully and professionally. I realize the economy is in turmoil, and like many my family has felt the hit. But if Kirsten and her friends agreed to accept the same pay increases as the teachers, under the same conditions, with teacher bonuses as she gets, then I may have voted yes. If the Board of Education would use Measure A money for it’s purpose to decrease class sizes

    Comment by Viki Koolman — April 17, 2012 @ 8:08 pm

  46. Viki, ever think about negotiating your own worth instead of having others do it for you?

    Comment by jarfree — April 17, 2012 @ 8:40 pm

  47. Yes, when I worked in corporate America. Now I am an AEA member and I trust my bargaining team to negotiate the best contract they can with the administration. If I don’t agree with the terms, I will vote against it. If I think it’s fair and respectful to students and teachers, then I’ll vote for it.

    By the way, my last message was accidetally truncated – I’ll just leave it at “If only the Board would use Measure A money for it’s purpose….” And to all of the parents who helped pass Measure A – thank you very much! I, too, telephoned voters and went door-to-door to gain support and I realize what a time-consuming and thankless job it is. Again, thanks to all of those who support the teachers of Alameda.

    Comment by Viki Koolman — April 17, 2012 @ 9:36 pm

  48. Vicki maybe you might want to look at your Pension Benefits and Health Benefits. I believe I said Total Compensation for a average Teacher at AUSD is about 500.00 + a day…..I know Pension Penefits don’t count and Health Benefits don’t either by the AEA… ..But they are BKing the State County and Citles with these unsustainable Benefits packages. Should you have benefits yes…But to this degree is debateable… Probably 38-40 cents of every dollar a Teachers gets of the 500 a day they recieve is Benefits…..

    You can only slice a pie only so many ways til you run out of Pie.

    Ask around and see how many people make 2500 a week Total compensation. Or about 10K a month. Yes that would include Employers Pension Contribution to employee and The Employers Health Benefits contribution to employee..

    Vicki apparently you missed the School Board Meeting with AEA and the Teachers Rant Session.

    I hold alot of Teachers and Past Teachers and Administrators in this Community in very High Regards.

    But the Act I’m seeing is so out of line and Measure A being for the kids is looking like a sham.

    Kids are getting Hosed and Everyone else on a Money Grab. It’s pretty Ugly from here.

    Comment by John — April 18, 2012 @ 2:58 am

  49. Vicki I know I would love to pay the Teachers More…..But I’m looking at the parents of most of the Students in AUSD and know they are being stretched every way but sideways and having to pony up for every extra curricular activity and parents fund raising 365 days a year just to have sports….That real Money for the Kids has been sucked up by salarys Pensions and Benefits……and kids left with pools in disrepair and sports moneys gone up in smoke and music and art programs always on edge of going the way of dinosaur.

    Interesting Times……But I’m favoring the Parents and Kids at this point……I think most that voted for Measure A would hope the Kids get their fair share……and Administrators and Teachers getting 95% of Money is not the Kids fair share.

    Comment by John — April 18, 2012 @ 3:16 am

  50. As I stated earlier, John, you are wrong about the compensation. There is just no other way to say it. And again, if the administration worked with the teachers during these difficult economic times then AEA members may have accepted the new terms. But the proposal was insulting, pitiful, a deliberate action to try to weaken our union. The teachers of Alameda are standing up for the rights of teachers AND students, and I’m proud to be a part of it.

    Comment by Viki Koolman — April 18, 2012 @ 7:31 am

  51. 50
    John provided figures to backup his wage assertions, your counter assertion,”…you are wrong about compensation.” does nothing to further your argument. A disinterested observer would expect something a little more tangible from your side if you want to counter John’s figures.

    Comment by Jack Richard — April 18, 2012 @ 9:28 am

  52. Vicki being as Kid Friendly as Teachers are and worrying about the Students so much as AEA claims ….I will donate 500.00 to your Classroom if You will Donate 500.00 to a Golf Tournament that Benefits Youth Sports in Alameda if I’m as way off as you Claim.

    It will be a Win Win for you as a Teacher if I’m so wrong and if your wrong the Kids in Alameda will get the Benefit.

    How much are you claiming the Average total compensation is for a Fulltime Teacher in AUSD Including Salary, Health Benefits, and Pension Benefits for a Day in Alameda.

    I’m going with 500.00 a Day or More. Whats your number that you claim . I know you also Claimed the Teachers in the Top Tier Total Total Gross Salary, Health Benefits and Pension Benefits don’t Equal that.

    I will Donate an Extra 500.00 to AEA if that is so way off and Under and I will carry a picket sign for the Teachers at any Rally you choose.

    Comment by John — April 18, 2012 @ 12:54 pm

  53. John, I hope your wrong, and if so you can carry a sign for your tournament and maybe pick up a few more golfers. My check will be in the mail shortly for four.

    Comment by John P. — April 18, 2012 @ 3:18 pm

  54. John P

    I wish I was Wrong also……There are many of Top Tier Teachers with a Total Compensation of 600 + a Day.

    Total Compensation of Top Tier Teachers looks to be 103,000 – 105,000 working 175 days = 600 a day……

    Or 3,000 a week or 12,000 a Month or Equal to 144,000 a Year if worked all year.

    As Vicki points out ” But the proposal was insulting, pitiful, a deliberate action to try to weaken our union. The teachers of Alameda are standing up for the rights of teachers AND students, and I’m proud to be a part of it.”

    As the Kids tossed into a slimmy pool while their parents scramble to pay for every extra curriclar activity and have to raise money 365 days a year to have their kids participate in sports.

    It is kinda insulting and Pitiful.

    Comment by John — April 18, 2012 @ 5:47 pm

  55. That guy in #22 above said as an AUSD teacher he makes 45K a year which calculates at $243.24 per day for 185 contract days. What’s left out, John?

    Comment by Jack Richard — April 18, 2012 @ 5:54 pm

  56. John P on a Brighter Note thanks for playing in the Tournament. It’s always a good time and we end up being able to give some equipment and some much needed support to Alameda’s Youth Sports and Programs.

    Thanks Again for your support. Have a Great Evening.

    Comment by John — April 18, 2012 @ 6:02 pm

  57. Regarding #22 Maybe some of these Jack

    Medical….. Dental …..Vision …..Maybe Life Insurance…. Retirement ….Mandatory Benefits…. Professional Growth…. Cashback Money …Sports Stipend ..and the Famous Other..

    Comment by John — April 18, 2012 @ 6:06 pm

  58. Jack I was using 2010 -2011 Numbers which Teachers only worked 175 days I believe>

    Comment by John — April 18, 2012 @ 6:08 pm

  59. With benefits the total for the 185 days is $475, for 175 days it’s $502 per day.

    Comment by jarfree — April 18, 2012 @ 6:43 pm

  60. 59 Jarfree is me (it was a typo when I filled out the ‘details below’ yesterday on this IPad 3… sorry)

    The problem Vicki alludes to and is reflected in #22 is people see their checks and what is taken out of it as the gross pay amount. The real gross amount is what the employer’s total compensation package is, which apparently is not stated on the check stub. Maybe it should be stated.

    Comment by Jack Richard — April 18, 2012 @ 6:53 pm

  61. Jack being Stated on Check Versus What is Stated on Blogs and To Public is a whole another can of Worms that doesn’t give AEA mouthpieces and the Teachers much Credibilty.

    AEA and the Teachers know to the Exact Penny where all the Money is Going. And it is Not Going to the Kids.

    I wonder why the response from the Teachers and AEA would be a little quiet tonight.

    Comment by John — April 18, 2012 @ 9:19 pm

  62. I’ve been reading this discussion about how much teachers’ daily wages are. There are a couple things that have not been mentioned. First a teacher’s per diem is figured using the annual salary stated on the salary schedule and divided by the number of days worked. We have never included any other compensation when calculating daily pay. This may be different in private industry, but that’s the way it is in the world of education. Maybe teachers should negotiate the per diem rate using John’s formula??
    The other thing that is different in the world of education is teachers spend an extraordinary amount of their own money on their students. That hasn’t been mentioned in this discussion. Having recently done my taxes I’ve spent $2200 on my students. I was only able to claim a couple of hundred of that on myt taxes.
    Most businesses provide their employees with the necessary materials to perform their jobs. School districts don’t. Teachers need to spend their own money and their free time writing grants, applying to donor’s choose and other organizations asking for money to buy books for their classroom libraries, or manipulatives to teach math or science. We are not given money to attend conferences or other trainings. When we do go to trainings we’ve usually paid for we have to use our personal leave days to attend. I don’t know of any other professionals who have the level of schooling that teachers do who have to do these things.
    My point to this is if you’re going to include all of the compensation package when trying to determine what a teacher earns in a day then please subtract what is paid out of pocket by teachers, as well.
    I’d love to hear from other teachers about how much of their own money they spent on their students this year.

    Comment by inquisitivegargoyle — April 18, 2012 @ 11:15 pm

  63. Inquisitive

    You are making my point in Spades.

    If all the Money is Going to Salary’s, Benefits and Pensions there are no Monies for materials and equipment and Sports Programs. The Parents and Students are having to Fund this and the Teachers.

    We can Alleviate that Situation very Easily.

    I think Employers Teachers Pensions contributions have increased over 2000% in last 15 years while private industry has decreased.

    If we pay the Average Teacher 450.00 a Day Total Compensation we could have enough to rebuild our Sports Facilities and Pools and buy materials for Classrooms.

    I know 450.00 a Day is a slap in the face and insulting but it Works out to 117,000.00 a year if you worked all year.

    That Compensation is still 4.5 Times as much as we compensate our Substitute Teachers on a Daily Basis. Most that have an Extensive Education but Economy has them taking any job they can.

    If we would have paid average Teachers Total compensation 450.00 a day we would be able to put in 4,375,000 a year into Funds that would actually help The Parents and Students not have to dig into their personal money which average probably half of what a Teacher makes. Looking at Average Pay in Alameda.

    If we would have done that we would have all new Pools and Fully Funded Sports and plenty of Materials for Classrooms so you wouldn’t have to spend any part of your 16 Personal Leave Days a year Chasing Donors.

    In 5 Years time we would have amassed 21 Million Plus.

    But I know Measure A was all about the Students and how it Benefits them.

    Comment by John — April 19, 2012 @ 1:30 am

  64. My friend teaches at Wood school. When I asking how’s school going, he just shakes his head and tells me, thank god it’s just (so and so) many days till this school year is over. He spends none of his own money on school in fact he has so much spare time he has a second full time job (not because he doesn’t make enough AUSD money, it’s because he’d be bored otherwise and end up drinking himself into oblivion while thinking what a shitty job teaching at Wood is).

    Most of the stories he tells me are about that 10% of kids at Wood that make the job unbearable. The ones who can’t be kicked out but must be coddled like they’re some kind of misguided angels instead of the ‘unprincipled reprobate street-wise miscreants’ they are. Think what this kind of behavior by that 10% has on the 90% who are decent kids. Deep down they must be learning nihilism first hand. Way to go Alameda Schools!

    Comment by Jack Richard — April 19, 2012 @ 9:31 am

  65. Jack

    I don’t know what has been going on at Wood lately….But I know it was out of control a few years ago and it seems like things have not changed .

    I have a friend whose wife taught at Wood and she was getting so much abuse from Students and could not do or say anything to the Students . She was told to live with it….The Adminstration did nothing to support her and refused to kick any out . “The Students have rights and they didn’t want to upset parents.”

    Her Husband went down and sat thru one of her Classes and made her quit on the Spot after so many FU bombs from students. They Sold their house in Alameda and he sold his business and they packed up their Kids and pulled them all out of AUSD moved within a month.

    We lost a great Family.

    Stories like these that make parents work two jobs each and pull them out of AUSD and put their kids in private schools.

    Comment by John — April 19, 2012 @ 1:02 pm

  66. Oh yes, John, FU is the standard reply when my friend asks one of the ten percenters to do something.

    Comment by Jack Richard — April 19, 2012 @ 5:20 pm

  67. John (52) and Jack Richard (51),

    Here are the financial facts you requested:
    A teacher with 10-12 years of experience makes roughly $60,000. That equates to $324 per day for 185 days. Health insurance is $12 per day and retirement is $81 per day. As for dental and vision, teachers pay 100%. Total compensation for a veteran teacher in Alameda is $427. My school has no sports so there is no chance for a sports stipend.

    I would like to reiterate, though, that the money wasn’t even the bottom line for many of us when we rejected the tentative agreement. This is only one of many issues with AUSD administration. Unfortunately, some community members choose to believe what they hear from administrators rather than checking their facts.

    Comment by Viki Koolman — April 19, 2012 @ 5:41 pm

  68. post 64. Jack, sounds to me like your friend isn’t much of a teacher and should probably find another job.

    Comment by John P. — April 19, 2012 @ 6:52 pm

  69. Vicki, once again you are not factoring into the total compensation package, the portion the administration pays into your various benefits. Do that and the total package almost doubles in size.

    Comment by Jack Richard — April 19, 2012 @ 7:20 pm

  70. John P, he did and it doesn’t intrude on the daytime teaching job. That’s the thing about being a standard teacher, you get a LOT of time off.

    Comment by Jack Richard — April 19, 2012 @ 7:24 pm

  71. Yes, Jack, I am. The figures I am showing you are what the administration pays toward my health benefits and retirement. Those are my benefits. That is my package. I pay the rest of my health benefits and my retirement fund. I pay 100% of my dental because it’s mandatory.

    I also agree with post #68; if a teacher doesn’t have any energy or passion for the students, it’s time to go.

    Comment by Viki Koolman — April 19, 2012 @ 8:13 pm

  72. Viki how come the Average Total compensation from 2010-2011 is so High…..Over 500.00 per day. Im pretty sure Teachers only worked 175 and Recieved Only 16 Paid Personal Paid off Days .

    With Top Tier averaging Around 600.00 per day. These were District numbers not mine.

    I guess we have alot of Top Tier Teachers.

    Probably why many don’t toe dip into the private sector. They either love their students so much or the Money and Bennies.

    Being how Cranky they were at school board meetings I’m guessing later. Because if you acted like that in private sector my guess it would be last meeting…Just Wild ASS Guess.

    Comment by John — April 19, 2012 @ 8:21 pm

  73. John – I think you just answered your own question: “These were District numbers.” I actually went through my paystubs and spoke to payroll about my deductions.

    And again, I must state that money was NOT the main reason that many of us are unhappy with our administration. If we cared only about the money, we would teach in one of the numerous districts in the Bay Area that pay more.

    Comment by Viki Koolman — April 20, 2012 @ 4:03 pm

  74. I’m trying to understand your second paragraph. You’re unhappy with the pay but that unhappiness pales in comparison to other unhappiness factors. If it were just ‘pay’ you would leave, yet the things you are really unhappy with makes you stay. What am I missing?

    Comment by Jack Richard — April 20, 2012 @ 7:25 pm

  75. What you are missing, Jack, is that most AUSD teachers actually care about their students and the community. It seems like people like you put all of the emphasis on the paycheck when teachers care about so many other things. And what I meant by “If we cared only about the money” is we could jump around to other districts and make more money but that we love Alameda, we’re part of the community (like it or not!), our kids go to school here, and we feel dedicated to our schools and students. Can you understand now how some factors outweigh compensation for some?

    Comment by Viki Koolman — April 20, 2012 @ 7:46 pm

  76. You said that money is not what makes you unhappy with the administration. Let’s keep it simple, what is it with the administration that makes you ‘unhappy’?

    Comment by Jack Richard — April 20, 2012 @ 8:42 pm

  77. “AUSD teachers actually care about their students and the community. ”

    Viki if the Teachers Real concern was about the Students and Community.

    Why haven’t they stood up in last Ten Years and Fought for the Kids and Parents To have Decent Pools to Swim in and Pay for their School Materials and Have Atheletic programs and Equipment paid for by the District.

    Parents are strapped and with Average Wages in Alameda you can see why they can’t pay for every extra Curricular Activity.

    Teachers and Staff and Administrators keep getting stepped up in Pay as we sacrice all the things for the Students with these raises.

    Your Pensions have Increased about 2000% in last 15 Years while all these basics are being taken away from the Students….

    Average Teacher Total Compensation in AUSD is 500.00 a Day. I know you only average a Little over 3 Day work weeks for the entire year. I understand the Stress your under.

    It’s easy to figure out …..175 School Days less 16 Paid personal days off leaving 159 Days last year.
    There are 52 Weeks in a year bring that to 156 Days.

    We have alot of unhappy Teachers and if you bring that Attitude to the Classroom its Easy to Understand why we have 48 % of your Students in AUSD are failing to grasp the Subject and scoring basic and far below basic like they are in Science and 42% in Math and 41% in History.

    Basic: This level represents a limited performance. Students demonstrate a partial and rudimentary understanding of the knowledge and skills measured by this assessment, at this grade, in this content area.

    Far Below / Below Basic: This level represents a serious lack of performance. Students demonstrate little or a flawed understanding of the knowledge and skills measured by this assessment, at this grade, in this content area.

    Your Actions and Results speak so Loud it’s really hard to Hear what your Complaining about.

    I think the Students and Parents are Getting the Short Straw. It’s been going on awhile .

    Comment by John — April 21, 2012 @ 4:49 am

  78. Just to clarify the annual work day comparison between private sector and teachers. In the private sector assuming you are a annual salaried employee, you would work approximately 230 days, Teachers receive pay for working 185 days. There are no personal days off for teachers.

    Comment by Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonAUSD) — April 21, 2012 @ 7:19 am

  79. Thanks Mike …..I can see why this gets a little Fuzzy

    4. In recognition that teachers’ schedules will be adjusted to permit time for collaboration,
    section 5.04.02 of Article 5 Personal Necessity Leave shall be suspended for the duration
    of this Collaboration Pilot and the following shall apply: “In any single year a maximum
    of fourteen (14) days of accumulated sick leave may be used for personal necessity
    reasons. All other provisions in Section 5.04 remain in effect.”

    2. Work Year. The District agrees to pay members for a 185 day work year. Members will
    work 180 student days, 2 teacher work days and 2 professional development days for a
    total of 184 days.

    Comment by John — April 21, 2012 @ 11:10 am

  80. It’s Interesting that you didn’t challenge any of the other points I made.

    Because it’s Really Not about the Students and how they are being Short Changed.

    It’s Really Just about the Teachers.

    Interesting Times and I know it’s challenging and Impossible To Try and Change Attitudes and Mindsets and Start Looking at The Students First from a Teachers Perspective.

    When someone says “It’s Not about the Money”……It Really is all about the Money.

    Comment by John — April 21, 2012 @ 11:52 am

  81. All jobs are about money, otherwise they wouldn’t call them jobs. Its not a crime for teachers to want money, just like all of us. and it will be up to the district and the teachers to settle this thing, we can’t do it.

    Comment by John P. — April 21, 2012 @ 12:30 pm

  82. Agree to disagree

    Now is the time to juxtapose…

    “Can you understand now how some factors outweigh compensation for some?
    Agree to disagree

    Comment by Viki Koolman — April 20, 2012 @ 7:46 pm

    “All jobs are about money, otherwise they wouldn’t call them jobs.”

    Comment by John P. — April 21, 2012 @ 12:30 pm

    Comment by Jack Richard — April 21, 2012 @ 3:01 pm

  83. Thank you for asking, Jack, why I am so disenchanted with Kirsten and the AUSD administration. I will keep it short and sweet.

    1. When I campaigned for Measure A, it was to lower class sizes and recruit and retain highly qualified teachers. Even though the measure passed, the administration is proposing permanent class size increases and the number of applicants for AUSD is dwindling.
    2. Under the last superintendent, there was a total of 6 (six) grievences involving teachers. So far under Kirsten’s regime there are 36 and counting.
    3. And yes Jack, I also care about money, although it’s not my main talking point. After 4 years of no pay raises, the district offered teachers a one time 1% bonus and a one year 1.5% raise. This would have been acceptable, even welcomed by many! However, Kirsten and her friends are receiving 3% raises for 3 years guaranteed. Try as I might, I cannot see the logic behind this decision other than to send a direct message that teachers are not to be treated respectfully or professoinally in this district.

    There are other reasons why I am in disagreement with board members, from personal conversations that we’ve had and from experiences at board meetings, etc. However, I’m sure the public is not interested in that. They are interested in facts and the future of Alameda Schools. In my opinion, the facts speak for themselves and the board has some explaining to do.

    Comment by Viki Koolman — April 23, 2012 @ 5:36 pm

  84. Thanks Vicki, for taking the time to explain your feelings.

    1. Just out of curiosity, just what costitutes a ‘highly qualified teacher’ and how is that quality measured?

    2. Number of grievances, in my view, could mean an effective leader who knows for whom she works or a very ineffective leader who should be replaced. My point is, the pure number of grievances means nothing. Grievances are filed for alleged management violation of the labor agreement and until the grievances have traveled their way through the process, they are moot.

    3. Perhaps the labor organization representing you is not as effective as the one representing the superintendent. The two agreements have no symbiosis in matters of salary, in my view.

    Comment by Jack Richard — April 23, 2012 @ 6:21 pm

  85. I’ll venture an asnwer to 1 and 2 and neither should be measured by adminstrative response to anonymous complaints which essentially constitute hearsay. On 2, teaching skills should not be measured primarily by student test scores. Look to Finland for better examples.

    Comment by M.I. — April 23, 2012 @ 6:41 pm

  86. A plethora of grievances usually means that the staff are mighty disgruntled and unhappy about just about everything coupled with management that is blissfully unaware and/or unable to get in to work on an early resolution of a problem before it becomes a formal grievance. Most grievances are avoidable. Not by “giving in to unreasonable demands”, but by trying to figure out what the real underlying issue is and talking out a solution. Early in the problem “cycle.”

    Comment by Kate Quick, — April 24, 2012 @ 6:47 am

  87. Unless, of course, staff’s plethora of grievances are factors outside the scope of bargaining rights and are filed for harassment or to make someone look thusly, “…management that is blissfully unaware and/or unable to get in to work on an early resolution of a problem…”.

    Comment by Jack Richard — April 24, 2012 @ 9:45 am

  88. Rule #13 is always the Hammer Jack……Just like they have done with all past City managers and anyone trying to make any cuts in any Departments……Fire Ect.

    RULE 13. Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.

    Identify a responsible individual. Ignore attempts to shift or spread the blame. The real action is in the enemy’s reaction. The enemy properly goaded and guided in his reaction will be your major strength.

    Comment by John — April 24, 2012 @ 11:14 am

  89. The Teachers are Not alone in Job Disatifaction.

    New studies by the Hay Group and the Corporate Leadership Council, which were cited in the Economist, note that employees are getting fed up. Factors include overwork, underpayment, and underappreciation. As a result, as many as six in 10 are looking to exit, according to the Hay Group. Some 85 percent of those not looking are staying still because the job market remains weak.

    A striking number of companies have introduced “HiPo schemes” to identify and nurture potential stars. Procter & Gamble, which sells consumer goods, encourages rising stars to tackle difficult problems (“crucible roles”). Hewlett-Packard, an IT firm, lets its stars attend high-level strategy meetings and suggest solutions. The companies are combining these schemes with judicious pruning of less productive workers.

    This approach is less divisive than it sounds. Most workers are surprisingly keen on rewarding superstars (who hold the future of the organisation in their hands) and on dumping freeloaders. And sensible bosses are well aware that their competitors are already compiling hit lists of high-flyers who are dissatisfied with their lot.

    Like animal Farm….All animals are equal, remember. But some animals are more equal than others.

    Comment by John — April 24, 2012 @ 1:56 pm

  90. “Animal Farm” looks ever more like a parable about capitalism as well as socialism. Everybody knows about the scourge of unemployment. But unemployment is bringing another scourge in its wake—overwork. The Corporate Leadership Council, an American consultancy which surveys 1,100 companies every quarter, reports that the average “job footprint” (what a worker is expected to do) has increased by a third since the beginning of the recession. The Hay Group, a British consultancy which recently surveyed 1,000 people, says that two-thirds of workers report they are putting in unpaid overtime. The reward for all this effort is frozen pay and shrinking perks. The only difference between these overstretched workers and Boxer is that they can see the knacker’s van coming.

    So far workers have borne all this with remarkable stoicism—partly because they feel lucky to keep their jobs and partly because they want to save their firms from going under. But the Dunkirk spirit is beginning to fade. The Hay survey notes that 63% of workers say that their employers do not appreciate their extra effort. And 57% feel that employees are treated like dispensable commodities. Half report that their current level of work is unsustainable. People are wearying of frantic reorganisation as well as the added toil—floods of memos and meetings, endless reshuffles, the exhortations to do more with less.

    Comment by John — April 24, 2012 @ 2:05 pm

  91. I would say having only 37 Grievances in her Tenure in this Economy and having to make alot of Major Changes in Structure and Reorganising she is Probably doing a Fantastic job under the Circumstances. I’m sure more than 10 percent of the Teachers would rather being doing something else. and most of those are the Underperformers and don’t have the passion to Teach and Feeling the Heat from their results. I’m sure the numbers are much higher.

    Comment by John — April 24, 2012 @ 2:16 pm

  92. Hi again Jack. You’ll have to excuse me if I don’t respond right away, I’m not always available to blog – too busy prepping for the next day at school!

    To answer your questions, a Highly Qualified Teacher is defined differently by every person, district, and state. I have my own opinions but I think the only person who knows what’s really meant is George W Bush; the idea of HQ teachers evolved from his No Child Left Behind scheme.

    As for the number of grievances, it shows only that Alameda teachers are exponentially unhappier under Kirsten than they were in the past. In the past, administration has communicated with union reps and teachers to resolve problems quickly and amicably. Today, grievances sometimes drag on for a year, with teachers being targeted by certain administrators for personal reasons. It’s unprofessional, unacceptable, and illegal. It has nothing to do with effective leadership and everything to do with poor leadership.

    And finally the salary negotiations. I have complete faith in my AEA bargaining team and my Union Officers. I’ve spoken to them numerous times throughout this process and am proud to have them represent me. I receive an update after every bargaining session which explains repeatedly what specific articles are being discussed and the responses to our proposals. I know that the team negotiated the best possible tentative agreement they could. The first several months were spent by AUSD having one answer to each and every AEA proposal, “NO.” It’s clear the Board had no intention of bargaining in good faith, they held out until the last minute and threw us a bone. Most of us agreed No thanks, we’re worth more.

    Comment by Viki Koolman — April 26, 2012 @ 5:41 pm

  93. Hi yourself, Vicki. Please make yourself available for blogging…

    1. You’re on point making my point. There is no consensus on HQT therefore if someone were selected for increased salary the resulting cat fight amongst wannabes would make the Sup squabble look mild.

    2. I’m afraid unsubstantiated accusations, ie. illegal targeting, that are not specifically described cannot be used to make a point. Specifics, please.

    3. And finally… would it not be infinitely more fair if each individual teacher was judged and paid on her/his own merits instead of being dragged down to the lowest common denominator and treated like an ant in a colony? What now determines your salary is determined by group think and leaves your own individual qualities left to wither on a dead vine.

    Comment by Jack Richard — April 26, 2012 @ 7:57 pm

  94. Jack, there is a lot of information out there about how teachers don’t want merit pay and since they tend to feel teaching is collaborative, the whole incentive pay notion is divisive. But don’t listen to teachers, nobody does because they all have their own sup[erior ideas about how to do this very difficult job.

    Comment by M.I. — April 26, 2012 @ 8:40 pm

  95. You’re right and that’s exactly why individual teachers should not be put in one big stew pot. It no doubt is a very difficult job. The natural collaboration is amongst teachers, students, parents and administration but teachers are where the rubber meets the road so why would the spice that makes the stew worth eating, the teachers, want to give up their individual rights and let a group with their own agenda, outside the collaborative, usurp their individual voices?

    Comment by Jack Richard — April 26, 2012 @ 10:44 pm

  96. Let’s support our teachers now.

    Comment by Lisa — April 26, 2012 @ 11:15 pm

  97. Jack, perhaps if real collabaroration extended to the adminstration the teachers would feel less threatened and more inclined to relax. Even if the union is imperfect, when it’s the only refuge against eroding of rights, it’s natural we end up where we are.

    Comment by M.I. — April 27, 2012 @ 8:27 am

  98. What “rights” are being eroded here?

    Comment by Jack Schultz — April 27, 2012 @ 8:57 am

  99. Jack (#93), I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt by assuming you were kidding when you said, “Please make yourself available for blogging” as though I have nothing better to do.

    1. Your logic of “There is no consensus on HQT…..” lacks sense. The lack of consensus merely makes it impossible to measure. Who are the “wannabes” and who do they want to be? Who is “squabbling” with the Superintendent? Are you talking about the AEA or the bargaining team? I think squabble is the wrong word. Alameda teachers are defending their working conditions, maintaining high standards for their students, and demanding professionalism and respect.

    2. Specifics of grievances are confidential. The sheer number of contractual breaches by this administration compared to the former is a direct representation of how the administration treats the union members.

    3. No, I do not think it would benefit teachers to bargain individually. I understand quite well the current political push to eliminate unions in order to reduce the amount of money contributed to Democratic candidates nationwide. Politics aside, I don’t understand your “ant in a colony” reference. If anything, that’s what teachers are now to the current administration – a faceless bunch working for the queen. Regarding the AEA, we are (mainly) a supportive and cohesive team of intelligent educators who are banding together to preserve the integrity of Alameda public schools by demanding respect and positive learning environments.

    Honestly Jack, you’re beginning to bore me. I thought for a minute that you were a community member who may actually care about hearing a different point of view. However, I fear your ignorance is deep-rooted; teachers may have taught you to read and write and be a free-thinker, but did anyone teach you civility or tolerance? That usually comes from home. I prefer to engage with people that are not directly trying to offend me or belittle my profession. I’ll always be proud to be a teacher in Alameda. Bye Jack!

    Comment by Viki Koolman — April 30, 2012 @ 6:43 pm

  100. Viki,

    Take a look at the summary of the grievances here, link is in left column under “public record:” Read through them & then come back and explain how they reflect anything other than extremely poor behavior by a handful teachers.

    Summary of grievances here:


    The union has made much of the number of grievances filed during Vital’s term, citing it as evidence for the Superintendent’s “disrespect” for teachers. Reading the nature of these grievances is illuminating, to say the least.

    Some of the nuggets that stick out after 1 reading, there will surely be more upon a second:

    In 14 cases where a teacher was disciplined by the District, AEA does not contest the facts but rather the nature of the discipline, written vs. verbal warning in most cases. Among the winners that AEA is fighting for are:

    Teacher #1, 4 grievances. Among them: failure to adequately supervise a field trip, threatening students grades for not attending an after school event, threatening grades if students left when period was over. AEA does not contest these charges, just the verbal/written warning process. Most people would think that teacher should be fired for making threats like that.

    Teacher #3, 4 grievances. Among them: failure to follow safety drill procedures, leaving 1st graders unattended 4 times (!) including once for 20 minutes (!!!). Again, AEA does not contest the charges, just the process of “progressive discipline.” Any sane person, which apparently doesn’t include AEA, would fire that teacher immediately for leaving 1st graders alone for 20 minutes.

    Teacher #5, 2 grievances, including making racist statements about African American & other minority students. Note that AEA does not contest the charge, just the nature of the discipline. On what planet is this teacher’s behavior not grounds for termination? A private sector worker would be terminated immediately and find his/her career in ruins.

    Teacher #18, 3 grievances. This teacher admits to creating a dangerous situation for students with sharp objects in the garden. AEA is concerned about written vs. verbal warnings again. Same teacher disregards the peanut allergy policy, which is risking serious health consequences for students including death. AEA does not contest the fact, just the progressive discipline procedure. Same teacher makes derogatory comments about special ed students. Once again, AEA doesn’t argue the facts, just the paperwork. This person badly needs a new career, as is clear to all but AEA.

    Teacher #15, repeated use of profanity in front of students. You guessed it: AEA doesn’t contest facts, just the “progressive discipline.”

    Teacher #9 files a grievance because a request to take time off during school year for a cruise is denied. Maybe a person with a 185 day work year could find another time to take a vacation, eh?

    Teacher #10, failed to supervise students on a field trip. Students drank & used drugs and one student ended up in the hospital for alcohol poisoning. For the umpteenth time, charges not contested, just the paperwork.


    We all know the vast majority of AUSD’s teachers are hard working professionals. Too bad the union isn’t working for them, and is instead focusing its energy on defending a few incompetent malcontents who really ought to be fired.

    But hey, at least we now know why the union hasn’t agreed to its own calendar yet…..they’ve been too busy keeping the dead wood on the tree.

    Comment by Really? Yes, really — May 1, 2012 @ 1:46 pm

  101. And of course you say this as someone who never made a mistake on the job…and would never ask the Union for help if you were in trouble.

    Is it possible in your world that the District has posted a slanted version of these grievances to influence public opinion and there might be more to the story? Each one only asks for the District to follow the contract.

    For instance, the teacher in #18 was only trying to protect her student garden from rodents and birds. What’s wrong with simply pointing out that the sharpened sticks might hurt a kid without writing the teacher up? Is it possible that this is an inexperienced principal with no people skills?

    Teacher #1 is probably a hard working music teacher who simply wants his/her students to perform for parents and is frustrated that kids sometimes don’t show up at recitals- preferring to play video games instead.

    Let’s compare. Does the City of Alameda post all grievances filed by the fire or police departments? Does AC Transit? Does the State of California? The answer is no, because it is a divisive tactic which generates ill will and explains why there has not been a settlement so far.

    Comment by Really? — May 2, 2012 @ 6:33 am

  102. Mistakes are unintentional errors.

    Cussing at students, RACIAL SLURS, abandoning first graders, etc are willful, intentional behavior.

    As for my job, when I make a mistake, it costs me. Are you familiar with the term “ACCOUNTABILITY?”

    Comment by Really? Yes, really — May 2, 2012 @ 6:53 am

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