Teachers to receive 11 percent raise | SierraSun.com

Teachers to receive 11 percent raise

Following a drawn-out negotiation process, Tahoe-Truckee Unified School District teachers received an 11 percent raise, bringing them at or close to the average pay of teachers in comparable districts.

The Tahoe-Truckee Education Association, the teacher’s union in the district, ratified the agreement contract at its meeting last week and that contract was approved by the board in a special meeting on Friday.

The classified employee union, California Schools Employee Association, was unable to reach an agreement with the district and will renegotiate in January. There are approximately 300 classified employees, many of which work part-time.

“We are happy to have reached salary, health and other contract language agreements with the teachers, administrators and confidential employees,” TTUSD Superintendent Pat Gemma said. “We hope to complete the process with our classified union in early January.”

With $2 million in new funds to the district from the state, of which $1.6 million went to teachers’ raises and increases in the benefits cap, the district was able to increase employee compensation. Teachers agreed to work an extra three days annually in the negotiations.

Gemma said besides employee compensation, other board goals for negotations were maintained.

Board goals met included:

– After salary increases are implemented this district will project a 4 percent reserve in its budget. It has been 11 years since the district has had a reserve that is higher than the minimal state mandate of 3 percent.

– Additionally the district will start a special reserve account to cover increased operational costs when new facilities and upgrades are complete.

– The district has brought back all custodian and maintenance positions that were cut in previous years.

– All schools are staffed at the appropriate ratio of students to teacher K-3 at 20 to one and 4-12 at 28 to one.

– Most teachers will be paid at or just above the average of what other teachers with similar experience and advanced education would earn in comparable districts.

– The other employee groups, while not reaching the average of comparable districts, will receive enough of an increase that the district should be able to attract highly skilled and quality employees.

“If the state budget continues to provide significant increased revenue to public schools, this district is now positioned to build a stronger infrastructure which will continually monitor, maintain and upgrade our facilities and educational programs for our students,” Gemma said. “The results of these negotiations are extremely positive as we can now look to the future with high morale and positive efforts.”

Last year, teachers received a minor salary increase of 1.5 percent. In 1998, their increase was 8 percent, in 1997 it was 2.6 percent and in 1996 there was no raise.

TTUSD administrators make up the employee group that is furthest from receiving the average salary of comparable districts. Even with a considerable raise, their salaries will still remain far below the average, but high enough to still attract qualified personnel, Gemma said.

Classified personnel are the second farthest group from the average, with confidential employees and teachers being the closest to or at the average.

Comparable districts are in communities with a similar economy, budget and geographical make-up. South Lake Tahoe, Rocklin Unified, Western Placer Unified and Eureka Elementary Unified districts are four comparable districts.

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