Blogging Bayport Alameda

June 10, 2016

What a bargain

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:00 am

Good news released on Wednesday which hopefully will provide some measure of relief for our teachers and allow the District to head into a parcel tax campaign without angry teachers standing on the sidelines. Here’s the complete joint press release from AUSD and AEA:

Alameda, Calif. — June 8, 2016 — Negotiators for the Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) and the Alameda Education Association (AEA) — which represents certificated employees including teachers, counselors, and nurses — reached a tentative agreement (TA) yesterday in their bargaining over salary and other benefits.

The two teams had jointly declared an impasse last Wednesday when they were unable to come to agreement on compensation. The teams agreed to meet one more time in an effort to find a compromise, however.

Under the terms of the TA crafted yesterday, AEA members will receive a 3.7% salary increase for the 2016-17 school year. About 3.1% of that increase is new money; the remaining .59% will be re-allocated from members’ dental benefits. The teams will begin negotiating salary again in February, 2017.

“I am heartened knowing that our two negotiating teams reconvened to keep talking and to keep working at finding agreements,” said Superintendent Sean McPhetridge. “Hard decisions were made by both teams, and both teams recognize there is a long way to go. But I am hopeful that we are developing a deeper relationship that will help us now and in years going forward, and I am grateful to all stakeholders for their work to come together.”

Other Tentative Agreements
In earlier negotiating sessions this spring, the two teams also reached TAs that:

· Provide prep times to kindergarten teachers as they transition to a full-day program
· Reduce class size to 24:1 in transitional kindergarten and kindergarten
· Increase flexibility for using leave time
· Create a formal process for class size overages

The district and union also agreed to create three new committees:

· A Salary Study Committee to research strategies for bringing AUSD teacher salaries closer to the county average
· A Special Education Task Force to develop guidelines on the best ways to serve students receiving special education services in general education classrooms
· An Academic Committee that will provide input and evaluations on all curriculum and instructional materials, training, and professional development of teachers

In addition, the existing Budget Committee will begin to examine the district’s budget priorities and how those can best be met in coming years.

“These new committee mandates will help AEA and AUSD find ways to bring employee voice into key district decisions that affect our learning and working environments,” said Audrey Hyman, president of the AEA. “It is important that we keep the dialogue channels open between the two organizations.”

Next Steps
AEA members and AUSD’s Board of Education now need to vote on the agreement. Union members will vote from June 9 through June 15, 2016. The Board of Education will vote at its regular meeting on June 28, 2016.

AEA members received a 4% increase in salary in June of 2o15. If ratified by the AEA, the current TA will bring the total salary increase to AEA to about 12 percent over the last three years. These increases followed years of steep cuts to state funding for education, which resulted in a lack of raises for AUSD employees between 2008 and 2012 and a salary cut in 2010-11 due to furlough days.

“My fellow board members and I are pleased that a settlement has been reached with the AEA,” said Board of Education President Solana Henneberry. “The proposed agreement will allow us to move forward together with the parcel tax renewal and assure the success of all of our students.”

I know the all-day kindergarten had been a concern for some teachers who felt as though they weren’t properly asked about the best way to institute all-day K and the class-size overages should be addressed.  Hopefully  the District and the union can continue to resolve outstanding issues before they become full blown conflicts.


  1. Hello all — I went to the AEA’s General Information Meeting yesterday at Alameda High and would like to share some details about the tentative agreement that haven’t been publicized yet.

    Yes, the kindergarten class size is down to 24, but the 1st through 3rd grades were raised to 25. More importantly for all the grades, there is new language that the district can exceed each class maximum by 4 students as long as the affected teacher is paid a monthly stipend ($400 to elementary and $160 per period for middle and high school.) A first grade class could be raised up to 29 students, a 4th grade class up to 36, a 7th grade period up to 37, and high school sections up to 39 students.

    This will be a great savings for the district. Instead of hiring a new 1st grade teacher for say $50,000, they can exceed enrollment for 6 elementary teachers for $21,600 ($400 monthly stipend x 6 teachers x 9 month school year.)

    Lastly, with regards to the 3.1% “new money” in the salary schedule, 2% of that is going directly to raising our monthly contributions to pensions (STRS) as mandated by the state. Only 1.1% will show up in our paychecks. A teacher earning $50,000 will make an extra $550, or $46 a month before taxes. We’ll still be among the lowest paid teachers in the Bay Area. It’s going to be difficult to attract and retain quality educators in a time of rising teacher shortages.

    Comment by Anne — June 10, 2016 @ 12:48 pm

    • The flexibility of class size in elementary school levels will dramatically reduce the number of diversions of students. When 80 students enrolled at a kindergarten at a school site, five students would be diverted to another school. With this new flexibility those five students can remain at school site and divide among the three classrooms.

      Comment by Mike McMahon — June 12, 2016 @ 9:42 am

      • Instead of hiring another teacher so all the students benefit from smaller class sizes?

        Comment by Anne — June 12, 2016 @ 10:16 am

        • Under the old rules, a new teacher is not hired the student is diverted to another school. Yes there is lower class size but the child is not enrolled at their neighborhood school until space becomes available. Studies have shown unless class is under 20, class size is a strong determinant in student outcomes.

          Comment by Mike McMahon — June 13, 2016 @ 7:11 am

        • Mike did you mean to say unless the class size is under 20 that it is NOT a strong determinant of student outcomes ?

          I think Anne is saying that in any case class size has a real and immediate impact on teacher work load and from her experience also outcomes, but parents of very young children especially can be very sensitive about diversion, among many other things including class size.

          Comment by MI — June 13, 2016 @ 1:04 pm

  2. I’m really rusty since my wife quit teaching about 5 years ago and I’m terrible with complex stats anyway, but I seem to recall that budget projections cannot be made without the funding stream being stable for several years out. For example a one time infusion of even a large sum of $5 million couldn’t be used for salaries. In these negotiations I’d like to better understand how the sunset of the existing parcel tax affects calculating budget with regard to this specific principle on budget matters.

    Are these manipulations of class size limits new ? They are to me. Thanks in advance to anybody who can answer and takes the time to answer. It seems reasonable that I’m not alone in my quandary.

    Comment by MI — June 11, 2016 @ 7:47 am

    • Yes mark you are correct. After school district bankrupticies in the early 2000’s, AB1200 was passed requiring school districts to budget three years in advance. With the sunsetting of the parcel tax in 2018/19 AUSD budget faces a $12 million funding decrease. As a result, any ongoing expenses like salary increases need a guaranteed funding source for three years.

      Comment by Mike McMahon — June 12, 2016 @ 9:46 am

  3. Odds are a teacher would prefer smaller classes to a little bit of money.

    Comment by A Neighbor — June 11, 2016 @ 8:59 pm

    • Most definitely. Next year, all my classes are enrolled to the maximum of 35, that’s 175 high school students. If these class size changes go into effect, I’ll likely have as many as 195 students. With both the Common Core curriculum and the revised AP tests, it’s even more essential to develop strong reading, writing, and critical analysis skills. How much individual attention can I give to each of 39 students in a 55 minute period? How much feedback will I be able to give to each of 195 essays? Oh dear.

      Comment by Anne — June 12, 2016 @ 10:44 am

      • Is language mandatory that a teacher take extra students? Or does the teacher have the option to decline additional students?

        Comment by Mike McMahon — June 13, 2016 @ 7:15 am

        • The word mandatory is not used, but no option to decline is offered. The language says if the class exceeds the relevant class size set forth in the (previous) section, the district shall pay the teacher a monthly stipend. And later: no class for any grade level shall exceed the applicable maximum by more than four (4) students.

          Comment by AnneTurpin — June 13, 2016 @ 12:43 pm

  4. The impact of four or more students will be extremely negative for the high schools, of which I know whereof I speak. Years ago, there was a temporary increase from 35 to 36 students, and that created a MUCH harder classroom to control, much less teach. People who have never been in a classroom setting need to know that the classes do not change aritmetically, but geometrically — every new human life added changes the entire makeup of the class. This will not sail folks, and if you care about your own children, the quality of education in Alameda, and your home values, you will get more information about the dispute instead of just listening to the district’s side of the story. Alameda already has the second worst paid teachers in the county, and the contract language is the worst deal of ALL nearby districts in regard to overages. Teachers. like me, are retiring in greater numbers, and openings are cropping up all around us. Although we have terrific kids, that alone will not cover the rising cost of living in the Bay Area, nor will it ensure a fair and reliable retirement.

    Comment by TManno — June 12, 2016 @ 10:22 am

  5. oops, one thing to come to an agreement, another thing to get the membership to approve. Sad to hear the members voted down the agreement, and we are back to square one.

    Comment by notadave — June 16, 2016 @ 1:47 pm

  6. Please reread the first entry here. 1% and destruction of class size that this union has fought for for years – I would not have voted for this.

    Comment by Cturnover — June 16, 2016 @ 3:41 pm

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