Faculty, staff to receive 7% raise

Sophia Yang and Kasmira Lada

Palo Alto High School economics teacher Grant Blackburn lectures about consumer spending Friday to his Advanced Placement Macroeconomics class. Blackburn is one of many Palo Alto Unified School district faculty receiving a raise. Following approval by the Palo Alto Board of Education, staff will receive a 7% raise to their salaries effective as of their next paycheck. According to economics teacher Grant Blackburn, the raise attempts to address the higher costs of living due to inflation. “The district and the union negotiated over just how much that cost of living adjustment was going to be and they settled on 7% based on other concessions that were going to be made,” Blackburn said. “The idea is to bring the level of pay up so that it will help pay for all of the things that are now 7% more expensive than they used to be.”(Photo: Sophia Yang)

Palo Alto Unified School District faculty and staff will receive a 7% salary increase retroactive to July, following the Board of Educations’ approval of salary agreements at a meeting last week. 

The raise was unanimously approved with the agreement of the Palo Alto Educators Association, the California School Employees Association, and the Palo Alto Management Association. 

According to Palo Alto High School economics teacher Grant Blackburn, the goal for the pay raise is to address ongoing inflation.

“You want to get a cost of living adjustment that’s at least equal to what the inflation rate is,” Blackburn said. “The inflation rate in the United States over the past year has ranged from over 9% down to where it is now, which is 6.5%.”

Blackburn said teacher input for matters such as salaries is delegated to the PAEA, which communicates on behalf of the teachers. 

“We [the staff] have a representative council that we elect, that represents us and we give our feedback to them,” Blackburn said. “They then give their feedback to the council as a whole, and part of the council is the union president that does most of the work in the union. One of the arms of the union is the negotiating team, which is a team of us that goes and negotiates on behalf of the union.” 

According to Blackburn, after coming to a non-binding tentative agreement, teachers are given the opportunity to vote for or against the rate for the raise.

“The teachers are given a tentative agreement, then the union has to ratify that agreement with a majority vote that says, ‘yeah, we agree with what our negotiation team has created,’ or ‘No, we need to go back to the negotiating table to bargain for something better,” Blackburn said. 

Social Studies teacher Adam Yonkers said low teacher pay continues to be a systemic issue, despite PAUSD’s attempts to remedy the issue. 

“Its [PAUSD] is one of the best-paid school districts,” Yonkers said. “They’re trying and we are lucky that in some respects that we are supported to the level that we are. Do I think it’s adequate? Structurally yes, but I think for this district, no.”