Teachers, support staff to receive three percent raise

Spencer Carlson, Author

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Palo Alto High School staff will receive a three percent raise, retroactive to July 1 of last year, and a one and a half percent bonus in response to recent successful bargaining by the Palo Alto Educators Association.

“That three percent goes for certificated [teaching] and classified employees, and then the other working groups like district office folks — we get whatever the teachers get,” Principal Phil Winston said. “So I think administration gets a three percent [raise] with that one and a half percent bonus as well.”

According to Winston, this raise is the first for Paly staff in several years.

“I don’t believe anybody in the district has gotten a raise since like ’09; the cost of living has gone up by eight percent, and there’s been no increase since then,” Winston said.

Economics teacher and active PAEA member Eric Bloom points out that this still represents a significantly depreciated salary value for teachers and staff.

“One of the big things about this raise is that the teachers went to the board and they did a very effective sort of lobbying, and said that not only have we not had a raise, but our cost of living and our contributions to health care have risen,” Bloom said. “So that means in real terms — not nominal — even though we have relatively low inflation, our [teachers’] purchasing power has eroded. So we’ve actually had a decrease in salary [since teachers last received raises].”

District executive staff, however, have received raises since the last time teachers did, according to Bloom.

“What’s interesting is that the exec [executive] staff — the superintendent, the associate superintendent, and the assistant superintendents — they negotiate individually,” Bloom said. “They got raises [since the last time that teachers did].”

Bloom also explained how salaries are negotiated for Paly staff.

“PAEA — the teacher’s union — really does the heavy lifting on negotiations,” Bloom said. “The CSEA, which are the classified staff — everybody who’s not a teacher [or an administrator] — they usually will get what we [teachers] get. So if they [the district] give us a raise, they give them [classified staff] a raise.”

Bloom added that administrators do not have a union.

“What’s interesting is that on the management side — the administrator side — they’re not represented by a union,” Bloom said. “They have an organization, but they do what’s called a ‘meet and confer’. What is interesting is that they almost always give administrators the exact same raise that they give teachers. They don’t have to, but the district chooses to do that.”

This system gives certain administrators some amount of power over when they are given raises.

“What is interesting is that administrators sit on the district’s negotiating team,” Bloom said. “So there’s a little conflict there because those administrators are representing the district, but also know that whatever raise the teachers get, they’ll get. I want to say it’s the first time in maybe five years [that anyone has gotten a raise].”