Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Updates about Teacher Pay

Update 2:

The last I heard about SPS and the SEA is that they had not settled at Thursday's negotiations.  Luckily, SPS opens later than other districts so there is still time to avoid a teachers strike in Seattle.

SPS' website says nothing so it is frustrating to not see regular updates.

Evergreen Public Schools teachers have voted to strike:

The school board also unanimously approved a resolution giving the district broad authority to respond to a teacher strike, including taking legal action in order to stop the strike.

The resolution also allows the district to suspend health insurance premiums for employees involved in a strike, and it limits access to public school campuses to law enforcement, students, district staff who are not on strike and “other persons whose presence on the school property … is deemed necessary or desirable by the superintendent of the district.”
Highline teachers are also prepared to go out:
Highline Public Schools is scheduled to start on September 5.

"It is a date that we expect to have an agreement, and if we can't come to an agreement by that date then the membership may take action and that action might be a strike," said Sue McCabe, Highline Education Association president.

end of update
Update: Issaquah's teachers union got this done:
Our ratification vote is complete with a 98.2% vote, and the ISD Board just voted unanimously in favor of our new collective bargaining agreement. It brings program changes and an average 14.9% raise in our first year. In year one of our 4-year settlement, a beginning educator at BA + 0 will earn $58,700, and an educator with an MA+90/Ph.D. will earn $109,900 in his or her 16th year. Congratulations IEA Members!
Meanwhile, Battle Ground teachers have voted to strike.  From The Columbian:
Teachers clad in red crowded the Battle Ground High School gym where, by a vote of 98.4 percent, they voted to approve a strike effective on the first day of school if a deal is not reached before then. Of the 693 votes cast, 682 approved the strike.

The district, Clark County’s third largest with about 13,500 students, joins a slate of other unions that have already voted to strike in the midst of sour contract negotiations. Hockinson and Washougal’s unions voted Tuesday to strike, and were preceded by Vancouver and Ridgefield’s unions.
School starts in that area August 29th.

End of update 

From Eastside Education Network:

 Superintendent Chris Reykdal issued guidance to school districts today about current salary increase talks with teachers. Here's an initial take from Seattle Times Education Lab reporter Neal Morton.


Grammar Grandma said...

Grammatically speaking, shouldn't it be "fewer financial opportunities" instead of "less financial opportunities"?

That said, it should definitely be more financial opportunities than it is. WA legislature, you need to actually amply fund education for all students!

Melissa Westbrook said...

Yes, it should be fewer. I had a guy on a Facebook page say that using “literally” versus “figuratively” no longer matters. Sigh.

Stuart J said...

These budgets are incredibly confusing. The first mystery is where all the money actually goes. We need an easy way to compare one district to another, then see why some districts are paying teachers more than other districts. Is it because they pay central office staff less? Or have fewer administrators? Or spend less on tech from operating levies because they have a technology levy?

Anonymous said...

It's actually kind of nonsensical that the state is who pays the teachers' salaries but the districts set the pay. How is a district supposed to negotiate on teacher pay without actual control of the purse strings? Districts sign the contracts, but districts can do only accounting tricks and can't really create new funding sources for what they agree to in a contract. Or?

How can a district enter into a contract with a union where the district doesn't actually have control over salary funding? Or do districts have control? How are salaries now set and funded between districts and the state?

And, if a district gives teachers a salary hike that that district can afford for only 1-2 years, is the state on the hook for that raise moving forward if the district can't meet its contractual obligation to pay those salaries?

Confusion Contusion

Change Needed said...

Unlike other union members, teachers do not suffer consequences of a strike. There is no pay loss. Teachers return to school and days are added to the school year. This has to change.

There was a strike in 2015 and a chance of strike in 2018. SEE wants a 15% one year contract. Are parents to suffer continued threats year after year and contract after contract?

Eric B said...

To me, the big challenge is what happens in a year, with a $30M+ budget shortfall looming as the McCleary "fix" takes effect. The district can't really bank on the Legislature actually fixing some of the stuff they broke (SpEd being a prime example). Is it totally unreasonable that they could do a short term contract (1 year?) to see what the Legislature actually comes up with?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Good point, Eric. There is a reason for a one-year contract (when normally they do a three-year contract).

That said, I see that some teachers are willing to strike.


"As the WEA writes, “These settlements prove that competitive pay raises are possible in every school district.” The question now remains, will Seattle be one of those school districts?

WEA recommends that all union settle for nothing less than 15% wage increase and 36.7% increase for all Education Support Professionals. With the state allocating 15% more money to the Seattle School District for salaries for the 2018-2019 year, I say it’s time to launch a new “Fight for 15(%)”–at minimum–and make that a rallying cry for Seattle educators struggling to live in gentrifying city. In addition we have to fight for even bigger raises for ESP’s.

It should be understood that these kind of significant raises are complicated in Seattle by the fact that the legislature lowered the amount of money Seattle Public Schools could raise from local levies from 37% to 24% of its budget in the coming years. That’s exactly why the SEA should only agree to a one-year contract. Take advantage of the $2 billion in new state funding now. Then once the contract is signed, we build a campaign to pass the local school levy and immediately begin organizing to get all WEA locals to demand that the legislature lift the levy lid and finally fulfill their obligation to fully fund education.

If the Seattle School District does not offer us the wages and education initiatives that are desperately needed in Seattle—and every indication I have seen suggests that they won’t—I will be strongly advocating to authorize a strike at the general membership meeting."

Read the whole thing. I can't honestly disagree with supports for ALL staff. I'm a little worried around things changing in the Legislature that fast (although I do think after the mid-terms, it will trend more Democrat) and banking on it. The last contract got signed without any clear idea of where the money would come from.

I think 15% - on top of the 9% from the last contract - is a worthy goal. Higher than that, I'm not sure will work.

I would not support a strike unless the district tried to low-ball teachers.

Anonymous said...

“These settlements prove that competitive pay raises are possible in every school district.”

No, they don't, and no, they aren't.


Anonymous said...

From the Washington Policy Center:

...Even in wealthy Seattle, officials see the union’s money demands unreasonable. As Seattle Public Schools Deputy Superintendent Stephen Nielsen says, “We don’t have the money to do that.”

...Now it appears the WEA union is targeting class size reduction funding for additional, double-digit pay increases...Some superintendents, like Superintendent Irion in the Yakima Valley, are standing up to the WEA leaders to defend the interests of students.



another perspective

Using Children said...

“We can strike at any time, but it’s more effective when the kids are in school,” she said.


Is Campano being fair to Seattle's children? Strike now. Let us see the numbers.

K. S. said...

"During the 2016 session, the legislature enacted essentially one piece of legislation, in which it committed itself ‘to provide state funding for competitive salaries and benefits that are sufficient to hire and retain competent certificated instructional staff, administrators, and classified staff.’”

All districts are different. Here is a document put out by OSPI:

1". What is the official percentage which limits pay increases for the 2018-19 school year? Answer: The Consumer Price Index (CPI) applies to LEA, levy limits, and average total salary limit in 2018- 19. These are based on calendar year values as follows for SY 2018-19 (CY 2017) it is 3.1%; for SY 2019-20 (CY 2018) it is 3.1%; and for SY 2020-21 (CY 2019) it is 2.1%. Source: ERFC February Economic Forecast, Fiscal Year Tables https://erfc.wa.gov/sites/default/files/public/documents/publications/feb18pub.pdf Table 2.1 US Implicit Price Deflator FY 2019 on table 2.1 applies to SY 2018-19"

OSPI recommended a total of 8.3% over 3 years, 10% after 5 years and other add-ons.


I am uncomfortable with Edmonds running the district into an unsustainable path. Future funding is uncertain.

The district MUST pass their levy after the city's $700M Family and Education levy.

Outsider said...

It's worth noting that teachers with the most seniority make about twice as much as beginners. Inflating the whole pay scale by a certain percent gives most of the raise to the segment that needs it least.

Teachers with long service are already making six figures or nearly so, and mostly own houses purchased back in the good old days of reasonable prices, so they are sitting on a half-million dollars each in unrealized real estate profits, with a very comfortable retirement in store. They are frankly among the more privileged residents of Seattle. There is no humanitarian case for giving them another 20% raise while driving the rest of the middle class out of the city.

Not that it's possible, given union dynamics, but the best approach might be to flatten the pay scale somewhat, giving little or no raise at the top, 15% in the middle, and 25% at the bottom, where it's more needed if your goal is really to recruit and retain teachers.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Teachers with long service are already making six figures or nearly so, and mostly own houses purchased back in the good old days of reasonable prices, so they are sitting on a half-million dollars each in unrealized real estate profits, with a very comfortable retirement in store. They are frankly among the more privileged residents of Seattle.

Look, you want to make a point, make it with facts. You are just saying what you THINK might be true of veteran teachers. You don't know that they all own houses. And you certainly don't know that they are some of the "more privileged residents of Seattle."

Let's keep the discussion about real issues.

Anonymous said...

A raise of 15% on you of the previous 9%? I don't think so. And I won't support a strike this time.

-Caphill Parent

Strike? said...

Raise salaries for beginning teachers. Taper salaries for those higher-up on the pay scale. Funds are limited. Beginning salaries in surrounding areas are approximately $50K.


The state caps salaries at $90K. Not a bad idea to taper salaries for those making $100K per year- plus benefits.

WEA is encouraging and supporting approximately 9 districts to strike.

SEA reports that they are not seeing changes in compensation. There is one more bargaining session before Tuesday's vote.

After 20% raises, negotiations re-occur in 3 years. WEA wants to lift the levy cap.

Strike? said...

Does SEA really want a 15% raise for those making $100K +???

Anonymous said...

There are a significant number of teachers being paid highly competitive salaries and the % merit increases and paid leave demands are far above what the average tax payer receives from private employers.

There are 1000 Seattle District teachers making $90k-$115k total compensation (base plus stipend including $10k insurance). Is the issue that the stipend is not dependable?

These salaries fall easily within the $92k The Stranger says is needed to afford a median priced home in Seattle and are higher than the median Seattle salary of $78.6k.

The average U.S. employee makes a 3% raise that is either a COL or merit raise, but not both.

So why do teachers expect both COL and double digit merit raises?

And now they're demanding 12 weeks of paid leave. Only 15% of U.S. workers get any paid leave, much less 12 weeks.

The worse thing about that salary database was seeing all those $200k administrative salaries. Taking a page from the corporate salary playbook on the tax payer's dime.

Stretched Thin

http://data.spokesman.com/salaries/schools/2016/92-seattle-public-schools/employees/ (old data, but the most easily searchable database; search term, teacher)




Anonymous said...

12 weeks of paid leave! Did you mean 12 day? Get your facts straight.

Sped Staffer

Anonymous said...

Any calculation of salary should include the full package of benefits - insurance, paid vacation, summers off, sick leave, etc. It's essentially 9 months of work, not 12 months. This applies to most teaching professionals - not just K-12, but college and university too.

- Caphill Parent

Anonymous said...

Sped Staffer,

My facts are straight as I quoted the 12 weeks paid family leave demand directly from the "I am an Educator" article linked by Melissa:

Compensation, #3: "Paid family leave for ALL educators. SEE is calling for 12 weeks of paid leave for all SEA rank-and-file members."

My point in my original post is that the teacher demands are unfair and excessive in light of the average tax payer salary and benefits.

While I would support raises contingent on professional development and merit for classified staff such as IA's, a higher base salary for beginning certificated teachers who don't receive any stipends and counselors for every school, I neither support a strike nor a raise for the majority of certificated teachers especially those already highly compensated.

Stretched Thin


Change Needed said...

Longview teacher demands to leave district in deficit. Superintendent to take legal action.

It is a good thing that the legislature protected funding for K-3 class sizes and all day K. I am convinced that WEA would have taken those dollars.

No Vote said...

I'll be voting no on both school levies.

If there's money for raises like this, there's plenty of money for everything else. And if there isn't, then the raises are too high.

Just sayin said...

Confused here... the way I understand it is as follows— teachers do NOT get paid vacation. They only get paid for the time they work. However, their paychecks ARE (or can be) spread out equally across the 12-month year. This is something that works out for the district (I.e. they get to hold on to salaries longer) and for teachers (budgeting).

Please clarify

Melissa Westbrook said...

No Vote, what about the Families and Education Levy? I urge you to vote for BEX capital fund.

Anonymous said...


SEA is the districts bargaining unit, not SEE.

Sped Staffer