After two years of negotiations, the Belmont-Redwood Shores Elementary School District has reached a tentative agreement for two retroactive raises, one for 2 percent and another for 3 percent, with its teachers association Monday.
“This is a step in the right direction,” said Angela Sveda, president of the Belmont-Redwood Shores Faculty Association. “Our school board and district have begun the process of refocusing their priorities to the classroom and investing in their educators. … I want to thank our community for their unending support of our educators during this tough time.”
Both parties will be working to ratify the agreement in the next few weeks, according to a Nov. 10 joint statement from Superintendent Michael Milliken and Sveda. The agreement first goes to the association for ratification before heading to the school board, which will probably review it in December, Milliken said.
“We thank the negotiating teams for their hard work, and we thank the community for its support of the educators and the school district throughout this process,” Milliken and Sveda wrote in the statement.
The tentative agreement resolves negotiations for the 2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years. The agreement states that all 2011-12 association member salary schedules will be increased by 2 percent retroactive to July 1, 2013, for the 2013-14 school year, while all 2013-14 association member salary schedules will be increased by 3 percent retroactive to July 1, 2014, for the 2013-14 school year. Additionally, for the 2014-15 school year only, bargaining unit members enrolled in group medical insurance through the district during the 2014-15 school year, not including dental and vision coverage, will receive a $500 off schedule payment and this amount will be prorated for less than full-time bargaining unit members. Each maximum district contribution toward medical insurance premium costs, for single, couple or family plans, was increased by $1,500 effective July 1, 2015.
Teachers, unsatisfied with the negotiations process that began in 2012, previously protested. Because of their lower salaries, Sveda previously said in an October press release that about 25 percent of the members of the Belmont-Redwood Shores Faculty Association have to work second jobs to make ends meet, which hurts their total commitment to students. The average teacher salary in the district for the 2012-13 school year was $72,440, according to data from the California Department of Education. A teachers association survey conducted earlier this year found that about 58 percent of Belmont educators were struggling to pay their mortgages and rent while 26 percent will be forced to move out of Belmont without additional support.
Overall, the district is pleased with the settlement.
“We believe the tentative agreement keeps us competitive within the county,” Milliken said. “We feel like this is great news for the district.”
The agreement states that the average class size ratio for grades K-3 will be 24:1 to comply with the new state’s Local Control Funding Formula that states that districts that receive funding from the state will be penalized if they go over that average. The district, which has a cap on K-3 classes of 25 students is including this 24:1 average limit since the district could switch from a basic aid district funded by property taxes to a revenue limit district that receives state funding.
Part of the agreement states that the district and teachers association have a mutual interest to begin negotiations for the 2015-16 school year no later than Feb. 3, 2015.
“It reflects our mutual agreement to not negotiate in the past anymore,” Sveda said. “All of us are happy to turn the page in this chapter.”
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