This past Wednesday, the Los Angeles teachers union UTLA Rep. Council voted to go to the bargaining table IMMEDIATELY to demand a 17.6% raise, plus lower class size, the restoration of laid off positions, and other member priorities. How? What? Why?
Because it makes sense.
By Shane Parmely, SDEA Board member
In districts all over California, the money for raises and restorations is absolutely there. It’s just a question of how each district chooses to spend their increasingly large funds—and how hard each union pushes.
On January 9, Governor Jerry Brown announced his planned state budget for 2014-2015, and it involves massive increases in funding to education, to the tune of $10 billion (yes, BILLION dollars) more than anticipated. According to CTA, that means a 10.9% increase over current, already increased funding levels. Plus, all remaining deferral debt (the imaginary future debt the District points to every year to justify their current cuts) is totally wiped out. Um, wow!
What does this mean for SDUSD? A LOT. As in, A LOT OF MONEY. Based on the District’s July 1 budget for the current school year, our 13-14 ADA funding is $6,813.66 per student. Back in July, SDUSD projected that next year’s ADA would be $6,936.66—a measly 1.6% increase for 14-15. Brown’s 10.9% increase would put SDUSD’s 14-15 ADA at $7,556.35. That’s an extra $742 per student! With the District’s projected enrollment of 104,019 for next year, we’re talking almost $80 million above and beyond this year’s funding levels! It’s also $65 million more than the District thought they’d be getting next year. Again, um, wow!
That is why other teacher unions in California are wasting no time in reacting. In the plan approved by the UTLA Rep. Council, they are asking for raises to begin kicking in ASAP. As in, during the current 13-14 school year. It’s a “get it before they spend it campaign.” Sounds about right to me.
I really hope that this lights a fire under our own union’s leadership to push for our raises RIGHT NOW. At OUR last Rep. Council, our SDEA ARs voted NOT to push for the rest of the 6% salary restorations we are owed to happen any sooner than July 1, 2014. Yup. Our Rep. Council voted AGAINST fighting for a raise for this year, led by SDEA Vice President Lindsay Burningham and President Bill Freeman, who turned over chairmanship of the meeting in order to speak against it from the Rep. Council floor. The motion to push for our salary restorations to happen now, not next year, was made by La Jolla HS AR Pat Thomas, and defended by many Breakfast Club caucus ARs. But it was defeated after comments defending the District’s budget by Freeman and Burningham, as well SDEA Board member Ramon Espinal, former SDEA President Terry Pesta, and SDEA Budget Committee member/Hoover HS AR Dave Erving.
Well, the extra $65 million in unanticipated funds in 14-15 frees up A LOT of funding for our District THIS YEAR—funds the District has been “setting aside” to fill their fake budget holes two and three years out. Those holes just got incontrovertibly filled. It’s never been more clear that the District has the money to pay us the raises we bargained back in 2010, right now. Shouldn’t we “get it before they spend it” too?
That’s what I’ll be pushing for as an SDEA Board member. If you feel the same, let your SDEA leaders, starting with your elected site AR, know. The voters passed Prop. 30 to see lower class size, no more layoffs, and an end to substandard pay for educators. So what are we waiting for?