San Andreas, CA – After being on the picket lines for four days, the Calaveras Unified Educators Association teachers union and Calaveras Unified School District have reached an agreement to put all teachers back in the classrooms Wednesday.
Superintendent Mark Campbell reports, “It came down to compensation. We were able to agree to a four percent salary increase and once we were able to reach that resolution on that piece of the contract everything else really fell into place.” Campbell adds the raise will be retroactive to July 1; class sizes will be one teacher to 24 students for elementary schools and one to 30 for middle and high schools. Taken off the table was a $100 medical cap.
As reported here last week, teachers walked out last Thursday after negotiations broke down with the district that was offering a two percent increase to the union’s call for 6.5 percent. Union president Lorraine Angel indicates, “It took quite a lot of shuffling to get to the four percent. We also did some restructuring on our salary schedule. By doing that we were able to, combine with the four percent increase, boost our new employees compensation and hopefully we can retain them. We also sweetened the pot for some of our retirees by adjusting the salary schedule as well. So, some people may retire that hadn’t planned on it before and that will save the district some money.”
Campbell notes that because of a “me too” clause not only the teachers but all staff will receive the four percent increase, which will add another two million over the next two years to an already ailing budget. He stresses, even before the teachers strike, the district was working on shaving $900,000 to balance the budget that included possibly laying off seven teachers. “With our budget being 84 percent people, there’s no doubt that you’re going to make budget cuts that impact people,” advised Campbell. He elaborated, “We’re going to have to be very careful and analytical about where it is we’re going to cut. This is not going to be easy for anybody.” Angel argues additional retirees will help compensate those costs, “Oh, it definitely counters that.” She adds, “They have been increasing their reserve or their carry over money every year since 2014. So, this is not out of line with the revenue that they are taking in but if we have people retire then that will change that picture also.”
Surprisingly, both sides will be back at the bargaining table in January to start talks on the next two year contract to run through 2020. Campbell suggests everything will be back on the table including possible cuts to sports and music classes. Angel expects that they will continue to discuss contract language not addressed in this round, but cannot specify any more than that because the members have not been surveyed. Forebodingly Campbell shares, “I’m scared to death about the future with our budget, but glad we’re back to some degree of normalcy.”