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San Ramon Valley teachers voting on strike authorization

If approved, SRVEA leaders may call strike should negotiations fall apart

Labor negotiators for the San Ramon Valley teachers union are in the process of preparing for their response should bargaining talks with school district management break down, calling a vote requesting members to authorize the executive board to initiate a strike should negotiations fail.

Voting among San Ramon Valley Education Association members opened Monday and will run through Friday at 5 p.m., and as of Wednesday morning 1,303 members have voted, though no tally is available yet, according to SRVEA president Ann Katzburg.

“Financially will the strike have a huge financial impact? No. But it will have a huge impact on our community. A message to the district that we're together in solidarity, that we need to change the culture, and that's our goal. Not to bankrupt the district, our goal is strictly to make sure that we can shape our values to our students needs our students priorities,” Katzburg said at a general membership meeting on Monday, which was videorecorded and posted on the union’s Facebook page.

After declaring an impasse in negotiations with the district, SRVEA leaders have entered into the fact-finding phase of negotiations with the San Ramon Valley Unified School District bargaining team, Katzburg told DanvilleSanRamon.com on Wednesday, which will allow a third party to help the two sides find an amicable solution.

If fact-finding fails and union members vote to approve the authorization, SRVEA leaders would be able to call a strike.

SRVUSD spokeswoman Elizabeth Graswich said Wednesday, "We understand that this vote is part of SRVEA’s process. However, we remain committed to the negotiations process and hopeful that the two sides can find common ground and avoid the disruption that a strike would have on the educational environment. We believe strongly that both SRVUSD and SRVEA want the best for our students and will be able to find a solution."

The district is currently offering an ongoing base salary increase of 3% for teachers, but SRVEA leaders have maintained that salary is not their only priority -- as smaller class sizes, more nurses, teacher-librarians, counselors and mental health supports, in addition to the cost of living increase, are key issues they say are not being addressed in negotiations.

For their part, district officials have stated that financial challenges limit their ability to fund everything they would like to.

“We want what our employees want. We want what is best for students. We also want to protect the long term financial health of this district so that we do not end up like other high profile districts that have abandoned this fundamental responsibility and are now unable to get their budgets approved without making draconian cuts,” SRVUSD officials said in a statement released Feb. 15.

According to SRVUSD officials, teachers in the San Ramon Valley receive payment on a multi-tiered system based on years of service and professional development credits.

As of July 2018, teachers starting in the district on average receive a base pay of $50,914 a year. As teachers advance their service, their salaries increase across different levels, with the median step at $77,310. Teachers with the highest level of experience receive approximately $96,311 a year.

Maximum annual health-and-welfare benefit values increase these figures by $24,508, raising total annual salaries to an average of $75,422, $101,818 and $120,819 for the three tiers.

According to the California Department of Education, the average salary of all SRVUSD certified teachers is $77,512, as of the 2017-18 school year.

SRVUSD officials added that this makes their teachers among the highest paid in the region. According to the district, as of July 2018 including base salary and benefits teachers in neighboring Pleasanton Unified received an average of $67,496, $90,281 and $110,682 annually, while teachers in Dublin Unified averaged $66,532, $91,732 and $108,480.

“With the significant lack of funding education receives from the state, and with the SRVUSD being the fourth-lowest funded per student unified school district in California under the Local Control Funding Formula, we are often faced with the need to make very difficult choices about the allocation of limited resources,” district officials stated in their Feb. 15 statement.

SRVEA spokespeople reiterate that while a livable salary is important -- especially due to the high cost of living in the Bay Area -- salary is not the only priority held by their members, and perhaps the district is not as financially unstable as it claims.

“We have directly asked them at the table; ‘are you saying you have an inability to afford our proposals?’ They have never answered that question not once,” bargaining chair and Dougherty Valley High School teacher Rob Gendron said at SRVEA’s Monday meeting. “(Assistant superintendent) Keith Rogenski looked me in the eye and said ‘this is the board's tolerance.’ That's their answer to that question. Which really is an answer of, ‘Yes we can afford it, but no we don't want to.’”

SRVEA is hosting two community events to meet with residents and discuss these issues at length.

SRVEA community town halls will be held Thursday, 7-8:30 p.m., at San Ramon Valley High School, 501 Danville Blvd. in Danville; and March 6, from 7-8:30 p.m. at Dougherty Valley High School, 10550 Albion Road, San Ramon. Interested residents are encouraged to RSVP online.

Editor's note: A previous version of this story incorrectly described the district's multi-tiered system for teacher salary. The details have been clarified, along with a link to the pay schedule. The Pleasanton Weekly regrets the error.

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Comments

7 people like this
Posted by Not Again
a resident of Las Positas
on Feb 28, 2019 at 8:10 am

Teachers going on strike so often these days. Ideally, I would like a bigger pay increase and work shorter hours too. But in the real world, there's only so much money in the budget. In the private sector, if people believe they are being under-paid, they go look for a job somewhere else, or even change profession. Therefore, let's be reasonable and not use our kids as pawns for demanding more pay when the budget is limited.


6 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 28, 2019 at 8:36 am

Pleasanton Parent is a registered user.

We need to call this what it is - domestic terrorism. This has no way any "what's best for the kids" element to it.

Strike in the summer if you want. Every teacher I speak to tells me they work year round, the 9 months of employment is not what they actually work to justify the $120k salary. Fair enough, strike in the summer then.


6 people like this
Posted by DKHSK
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Feb 28, 2019 at 8:47 am

DKHSK is a registered user.

Public sector unions should not exist. They are counter-productive to the taxpayer.

Why? Because union dues go to fund DEMOCRAT coffers, which in turn negotiate to take MORE taxes from the taxpayer.

So basically, we fund the taking of more taxes from ourselves every time the unions want their members to get increased pay.

Public sector unions should be banned.


3 people like this
Posted by DKHSK
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Feb 28, 2019 at 8:51 am

DKHSK is a registered user.

And don't even get me started on the hours teacher work IN-CLASS and IN-FRONT of students.

In Pleasanton, on average they work 4.41 hours in from of their students at the HS level.

You do the math.



Like this comment
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 28, 2019 at 9:03 am

Pleasanton Parent is a registered user.

DKHSK,
I don't agree with your specific reasoning for why unions don't exist, I agree with the issue you're pointing out, but I don't think that is a result of a unions existence as much as its poor enforcement of existing campaign laws.




Like this comment
Posted by Robert Adam
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 28, 2019 at 9:14 am

Robert Adam is a registered user.

[Removed because it was a conversation with another poster and did not further the discussion]


9 people like this
Posted by Robert Adam
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 28, 2019 at 9:38 am

Robert Adam is a registered user.

Teachers these days help students by email all the way into the evening, as late as 10 p.m. in same cases. They're almost never completely off the clock, even on the weekends. [removed]


4 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 28, 2019 at 10:43 am

Pleasanton Parent is a registered user.

Robert,
[removed]

I'd love to see your data on the anecdotal situations you've presented in support of a structural increase to 100% of the teaching base. The article, if you read it, would change 100% of the teacher's salaries regardless of whether they do or don't support regular 10pm hours and weekend hours as you've implied is indicative of 100% of the teaching population this article discusses.

If you're advocating that 100% of teachers are available on weekends and up to 10pm on weeknights for teaching and parent conference support as a result of this salary structure change, I'm all for it, and would even suggest its not enough compensation. Would save me a lot of time and missed work trying to make a parent/teacher conference that is only slotted between 8am-3pm on a weekday and where students aren't in classs learning, or having "on-demand support at 8pm when my kids are struggling to duplicate a lesson method against their homework assignment and I have to aid in that learning.

In no way am I saying parents shouldn't be involved in and support learning at home, thats not the point. The point is, you're pointing to a minority case example (that should be rewarded I might add, but unfortunately a union environment will never support that compensation structure for those that choose to go above and beyond) in support of a 100% population base increase with zero contractual obligation to support those situations you've identified as justification for the increase.

.......and in all honesty, I should say, if the school district can find the budget to do this without increasing taxes or shorting their pension funding obligations or shorting our students of classroom infrastructure, etc. go for it. If they can find ways to optimize current budget allocation and pay for this, they deserve to be able to do it. But don't come to me with a parcel tax, don't come to me with a PPIE ransom request (I mean donation), don't come to me with any sort of financial ask. Donation of time - ok, yes, you should require (I'd even support parent mandated time in classrooom/activity/etc support).




Like this comment
Posted by Robert Adam
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 28, 2019 at 10:54 am

Robert Adam is a registered user.

[Removed because it was a conversation with another poster and did not further the discussion]


2 people like this
Posted by DKHSK
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Feb 28, 2019 at 12:17 pm

DKHSK is a registered user.

Pleasanton Parent,

I didn't say "unions", I said "'public sector' unions".

There is a huge difference and I stand by my posts.

Dan


Like this comment
Posted by DKHSK
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Feb 28, 2019 at 12:19 pm

DKHSK is a registered user.

"'Some' Teachers these days help students by email all the way into the evening, as late as 10 p.m."

FIFY.


Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood

on Feb 28, 2019 at 1:02 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


Like this comment
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 28, 2019 at 5:09 pm

Pleasanton Parent is a registered user.

DKHSK,
I understand the differentiation you're making. I get it. In California that's clearly true, I can't say I know its true in primarily Republican states; I just don't know the campaign contributions of unions in those other states - are they still supporting Democratic candidates only or do there contributions support Republican candidates in those states.


3 people like this
Posted by DKHSK
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Mar 1, 2019 at 9:05 am

DKHSK is a registered user.

Pleasanton Parent:

Nationally, they give OVERWHELMINGLY to Democrats: Web Link

Not even a close.

It's a scam that has gone on too long.

Dan


8 people like this
Posted by Grumpy
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Mar 1, 2019 at 11:51 am

Grumpy is a registered user.

I don't really want to wade into this, because I don't live in San Ramon.

But to those who are saying that the union should strike during the summer, since you know that the purpose of a strike is to disrupt the employer (just as the purpose of a lockout is to disrupt the employees), why say "they should strike in the summer" when you really mean that they shouldn't be allowed to strike at all?


Like this comment
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Mar 1, 2019 at 8:21 pm

Pleasanton Parent is a registered user.

DKHSK youre right, that is structurally broken


5 people like this
Posted by DKHSK
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Mar 2, 2019 at 9:05 am

DKHSK is a registered user.

I find it interesting when teachers say "its for the children", when striking does the exact opposite.

All public sector unions should be banned, or at the very least, be banned from striking as it would impose undo harm on the citizens THEY SERVE.

4.41 hours per day and they're just not satisfied.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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