San Diego Unified educators are calling on the school board to settle the remaining five issues standing in the way of a new contract for teachers. Teachers have been working without a contract for nearly a year.
The union representing teachers, San Diego Education Association, held a Tuesday afternoon rally at district headquarters in the 4100-block of Normal Street.
"Teachers need to make enough money to be able to support their families on a single income, so they don't have to work two jobs," said union spokeswoman Lindsay Burningham. "We have teachers who are working two or three jobs that are taking away from time they'd want to devote to their students and their families."
On March 16, the two sides declared an impasse, but the district and the union are still at the bargaining table trying to reach an agreement on class sizes, support staff, teacher prep time, enrichment classes and pay and benefits.
A district spokeswoman says San Diego Unified has reached a tentative agreement to lower class sizes in grades K-3 to 24 students per one teacher in the class room. They are still negotiating whether to lower class sizes in the upper grades.
The district has also reached a tentative agreement to increase nurses counselors, psychologists and special education support, and to increase prep time and provide more enrichment classes for students, according to San Diego Unified spokeswoman Linda Zintz.
The district has reached a tentative agreement with the union to cover the full cost of teacher’s benefits packages at a cost of $100 million a year. Salary increases are still on the table, Zintz said.
Entry level base pay for San Diego Unified teachers is about $42,200 a year; $64,130 is the mid-range; and the maximum is $87,177, according to the district. The average taxpayer cost per SDEA member for benefits is $15,160 per year.
Compared to other districts in the county the median base pay for San Diego Unified teachers is slightly lower, according to numbers provided by Transparent California, a website that collects salary information about public employees in California. It is associated with the California Policy Center, a nonprofit organization that monitors and analyzes how California government spends money.
According to Transparent California, the median base pay for San Diego Unified teachers is $66,127 compared to $75,719 in median base pay at the nearby Sweetwater Union High School District, which does not serve K-6 students. At Vista Unified, the median base pay for teachers is $69,411 where at Grossmont Union High School district, it’s $75,167.
However, San Diego Unified has 22 percent of its teachers with a total compensation package that places them making above $100,000 annually, according to the data.
For pay, the union is asking for a seven percent increase across the board to make their pay more comparable to other districts in the region.
San Diego Unified spokeswoman Zintz said the district was limited in the information it can provide because of ongoing labor negotiations.
Voice of San Diego Education Reporter Mario Koran said if the district meets all the union's demands, it will have to examine what it has to give up in order to do that.
"If we're talking about a budget this big, and finite resources, we have to have the conversation about what we're leaving undone and about what kids aren't going to get if the demands for pay are met," Koran said.
The other main sticking point in the negotiations is class sizes.
The district allocated 25.5 to 1 for class sizes this year.
But the teacher's union says the reality is some classes have 30 students in them with only one teacher.
The union is asking for a reduction to go back to 24 students to one teacher, which is what it was before they raised it in the last contract negotiations.