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on Dec 17, 2012
Those teacher salaries are shamefully low. Since getting a raise is largely contingent paying to get additional graduate education...add those costs. Also, sSince a teacher would find it difficult to live in/anywhere near Palo Alto itself, add in their commuting costs to the equation. Take those costs out + taxes and teachers' salaries are hardly inflated!
Palo Alto -- perhaps the heart of Silicon Valley will grow a heart big enough to educate and invest in their children.
The District claims that it will cost about $1M to pay this one-time bonus to Staff. It would be nice if the elected officials had some idea what this money was actually buying. If the money were spent on technology, then that $1M could buy a lot of needed hardware/software that would be in use for three-four years. Spent as a bonus, it buys nothing in terms of teacher/staff productivity, or actual education.
Google has recently reduced the cost of its Chromebooks to about $100 for education purposes. This $1M could buy Chrombooks for all of the students in the high schools, and have about 500,000 left over for additional networking hardware/software needed to provide a fully "wired" campus.
The District does have access to untapped funds from the last Measure A Bond authorization which it can spend on technology--but buying hardware/software with Bond funds is a very wasteful use of public funds. The money in the bank that they have now would be better use actually bolstering the educational environment than paying higher labor costs.
It's a shame we don't have people on the School Board who understand even rudimentary public education financing issues.
Never forget that teachers get summers off. If you take that into account, teachers actually have very high hourly wages already. Factor in pensions and benefits, and it's pretty awesome compensation. Do teachers need a pay increase? Every pay raise is mathematically expensive because it directly increases future pensions costs. We should use budget surpluses to start a rainy day fund. I don't want to hear about the threat of school budget cuts any time in the next 3 years if we give another pay raise.
Did we ever doubt the teachers would be scooping up Prop 30 while the rest of us live with flat salaries and the impending fiscal cliff?
I have many friends who are teachers, every single one under the age of 50 either works a second job during the summer (some teaching summer school) or takes classes. Most teachers work very hard, spend lots of hours outside of school time planning and grading and most spend their own money on things for their classrooms (our PTA's are very generous, but teachers are often reluctant to ask).
I completely support giving every teacher who is not a member of the teachers' union a raise.
@palo alto mom Do you know why I don't have a summer job? Because I don't get a ten week summer holiday.
Worth every penny. Those teachers are a big part of why PA home prices are so high.
"Google has recently reduced the cost of its Chromebooks to about $100 for education purposes. This $1M could buy Chrombooks for all of the students in the high schools, and have about 500,000 left over for additional networking hardware/software needed to provide a fully "wired" campus."
The district won't buy Chromebooks because they aren't Apple products. We bought Ipads because they were "cheaper" despite the fact almost every Samsung tablet was cheaper than the Apple Ipad. (The latest Samsung tablet has the highest pixel-density on the market, and I believe it's superior to Apple's I-pad 2 and cheaper too.)
Beyond that, I can understand giving a raise to PA teachers just because a) they're the cream of the crop and b) living costs are absurdly high in the area. But regarding prop 30 I don't think any raises should be coming from that. Wish we could choose which teachers got raises/didn't, but there's really no easy way to do so.
Support the teachers. Teachers are the backbone of the American middle class; we are dependent on education and quality jobs to rebuild the great American middle class.
No more race to the bottom!
> The district won't buy Chromebooks because they
> aren't Apple products
And your point is? My point is that the District has not always shown good money management/practices. Seems you are supporting that point-of-view?
> Those teachers are a big part of why PA home prices are so high.
More mythologyparticularly since it is clear from data released by the State Department of Education (DoEd) that parents are the reason for the high achievement of Palo Alto students:
Another Look At API Student-School Performance Data:
Obviously school play some part in high school scoreswhich are allegedly a driver of high home pricesbut in reality there is little hard evidence to back up that claim. The API data, coupled with various Census data, tells a different story.
Palo Alto Mom- you are completely correct in what you state. The actual hours in the classroom doesn't begin to cover the amount of actual work done by the teachers. Give them the raise- what a teacher truly does was clearly demonstrated in Newtown. Outsiders have no idea how fully encompassing the job is. I do. They deserve a raise if they can get it.
Teachers used to be underpaid, but NOT ANYMORE! Now doing much less and getting paid much more and no accountability. Salary increases should be contingent on how our students are doing nationally - not to mention internationally!
1) Prop 30 was passed so education funding would not be cut; instead it provides a surplus, which the district wants to spend as "bonuses". As a voter, I feel mislead.
2) Bonuses in private industry are not handed out equally to everyone. If bonuses are handed out in the district, they should based on performance.
3) Teachers have the opportunity to increase their salary through certifications/classwork, and just years on the job. Do the classified employees have any growth path?
4) Salaried professionals in private industry also work evenings, weekends - who doesn't check their e-mail away from work? or bring home documents to read? or work on presentations at home? It's all considered part of the job. Just like for teachers it shoud considered part of the job to grade homework, etc.
agree with against this
The San Jose Mercury News has a database of public employee salaries, including PASD teachers. It's eye-opening. Many of my kids' teachers earn more than I do, and have 2 months off during the summer. Do they work hard? Yes, but I don't feel too sorry for them. Most are compensated quite well. Want a real shock? Look up how much the principals earn.
Do you think that the teachers in Shady Hook are overpaid?
Teachers are so much more than deliverers of curriculum. They love, nurture and care for our children every day. They are underpaid for what they do!
Many good points and comments on this topic. I hope PAUSD leaders will take some notes of them.
Teaches do work hard, so as all of us work at private companies. Teaches in PAUSD have a very secure life time job and pension, while we, at private company, don't. I got laid off in June this year, spend 3-4 months to find my current job with 10% salary cut. Even that, I feel very luck and blessed because many my coworkers are still out of work even they willing to cut their salary. So, for this point, I don't have much sympathy of why teachers have to have a pay raise. If there are money left this year, save it for a bad year which may be right in front of us in 2013 with DC leaders going nowhere for budget.
We just passed Pop 30 to raise money for education, for which we all have to pay more sales tax. Now, there are plenty of money, can we stop raising sales tax???? It does make people upset and probably will not vote for any tax for education next time. You are losing voters, PAUSD!
Ok, let's say to give teacher a raise as there are extra money this year. Then, how about a pay cut when economy is down, possible?? Also, please don't give some bad teachers a raise, they don't deserve it. PAUSD should have a system to fish those bad ones out, like a survey from all students and parents. I also agree that the good quality of PAUSD is mainly parent driven and good resources of students in Palo Alto. If you put any good teacher in a "lower" achieving school, I don't think that good teacher can do much about it to make his/her class like PAUSD class.
I support pay raises for teachers. Especially teachers in Palo Alto who not only have to deal with the entitled, attitude filled, students day in and day out, but their God awful parents as well.
Anyone who does not support taking better care of our teachers is probably childless to begin with and should not be commenting here.
One per cent. Whoop-dee-doo. That'll really help them
Yeah, since sales tax went up 3.45% they're not breaking even.
"Teaches in PAUSD have a very secure life time job"
Whether you believe that teachers are overpaid or not, too many people misunderstand the idea of "tenure" for public school teachers. It is not the same as tenure for university faculty. They do not have a job for life. They absolutely can be fired. They certainly can be laid off.
As a mom of a child in PAUSD and a teacher in another district, I actually would really appreciate it if the board did a survey of parents to find out how many are supplementing their children with tutoring or other classes. I really think what is needed is teachers in elementary school who are focused on math and english so that when children get to middle school and high school they have a very strong foundation that has been built by strong math and english teachers.
... I am teaching my child math and my husband is helping with the english. I would love there to be more done at school and hiring strong core subject teachers to supplement the existing teachers would be optimal.
I would encourage you to ask the board to use the money to hire strong core teachers to supplement the existing elementary teachers versus increasing the salaries.
I think it's misleading to say that the teachers "have not had a raise" since 2009, because they do get paid more with years of experience & taking classes.
I would like to see how many teachers are being paid the exact same salary as in 2009, and show a distribution by salary for those who are paid the same. I would also like to see how many teachers are paid more than they were since 2009, and by how much.
Some posts above advocate using the money for chromebooks or ipads. I think that would be throwing money down the toilet. Invest in teachers not computers. Any monkey can use google to search for stuff, and ipads and the like are a major source of distraction. Not a good use of funds.
So, the budget gets better and the teachers ask for a raise based on the district's "ability to pay". But what happens when the district funding gets chopped--no teachers ever take pay cuts. It's all about spend what you have for tomorrow is another day. This is ridiculous! We would never balance our own budget based on a temporary increase in funding--this is what every civil servant lives for--use it or loose it.
Schools need to budget for the long term not the next year. And how much pension will this raise generate and how much is unfunded???
@Not this again -- and to clear up obvious misunderstanding about tenure in universities: professors can also be fired (with cause) or laid off because of budget cuts or program closures.
@common sense -- yes, it is misleading to state that there have been no raises since 2009. They are likely referring to cost-of-living raises, but it would be more honest to provide the full pictures. Depending on years of service and other factors, a significant proportion of the teachers have seen annual raises.
Other stats on PAUSD salaries: In 2011 there were approximately 1200 permanent employees (all employees, not just teachers). Almost 500 employee earned base salaries of $90,000+, most earned by teachers, some by school psychologists, nurses, and administrators. Well over 600 received over $100,000 in total compensation. If you look at the public employees database, several had base salaries of ~$50k but total compensation of over $100k. It should be said that teachers, psychologists, nurses are on 10-month salaries whereas other employees are more likely to be on 12-month salaries.
Given the increased tax load residents have volunteered via the highest parcel tax in the area and tax increases associated with Prop 30, serious consideration should be given to this context before $1 million is spent in our still uncertain times.
There is no question our teachers deserve good salaries.
With the tragic shooting at Newtown elementary school, how about use some of these extra money to add more security at schools in PAUSD? I don't think many PAUSD schools are "locked" during class time. Anyone can walk into campus. Although there is sign reminding people to sigh in at Office, you don't expect a bad guy to follow this rule.
I don't want to hear that PAUSD saying that they don't have money for adding security in the near future. Use the extra money wisely.
Teachers are making a fair wage in this area. Certainly not "great" but considering their summer breaks they aren't the lowest paid workers, either. That said, we are talking about just a 1% raise and that is after not getting much of a raise for a while. We are not even talking about a raise equal to inflation or standard of living increase. IMHO, this is a no-brainer.
As for hiring a security guard for each school in the area, that would probably be worth it. For those against guns, you could even have them carry just a baton and a walkie-talkie that connects to the office and/or the police station. The most important thing is to have someone watching and ready to take action. We can't expect ALL our teachers to be a Vicki Soto. But let's face it - teachers DO deserve some hazard pay for not only the very limited potential of a shooter storming their classroom, but also just dealing with our little brats from day to day! ;-)
Hey! My kids aren't those "little brats"!
Well, except for those times...
More guns in schools? Insanity.
Hire more cops and put one in each school? Sure. After every school gets a mental health professional, someone that help prevent problems, not react to problems.
Mom and teacher:
The reason elementary curriculum is so sub-standard lately and requires more supplementation is because a group of pro-education-school-research parents and residents instituted the "everyday math" learning system in which children don't need to memorize multiplication tables. As a student, I'm disappointed that this could ever occur, but I'm also glad that I escaped elementary education before the quality became so abysmal.
As for security at PAUSD, we have a lockdown procedure and Palo Alto isn't exactly a gun-advocate bastion (neither, I suppose, is Connecticut but still). As for security, we're not exactly far from the police station and we're quite accessible. The fire-engine response time to get to Paly is something like 2-3 minutes.
@Another Teacher -- To repeat a previous post, it is misleading to say that teachers have not received raises in awhile. While it is true that they have not received cost of living raises they have continued to receive raises for service years and added education, which could range from 3-6%. This info is available on the PAUSD website and salaries can be viewed by searching public employee salary databases. The average salary for a teacher (9.5mos) is over $86,000. There are many in Palo Alto making less. Am certainly supportive of good pay for teachers, but am concerned that it is best not to jump into a spending mode when funding is so tenuous. Just seems like the wise thing to do.
This is a discussion about a one-time BONUS, not a raise. I think it is well justified. However, rather than 1% of salary, I think it should be a flat amount to everyone. I think lower paid employees deserve the same amount as administrators. If the amount is a percentage, then the majority goes to the highest compensated employees, many of whom are not teachers.
I suppose it is too much to hope that some of the money could be given as a merit bonus to encourage those teachers who are doing an outstanding job. I think that would be a more effective use of the money.
Am I reading correctly that PAUSD has 800 full and part-time teachers? I think I read in another article that there are 500 non-teaching employees? And certain of the lowest paid functions (cafeteria, janitors) are outsourced, so despite their contributions to our schools will get no bonus. Please correct me if I'm wrong. How does this compare to other best-in-class school districts? Has there been any benchmarking?
My children's teachers work extremely hard at their jobs. They put in extra hours everyday to make sure my children have the best experience at school. These teachers deserve the one time bonus along with a raise! These teachers teach my children and take care of my children everyday. They are not only teachers but counselors, parental figures, role models and much, much more to my children. The teachers are what is important in the classroom, not the technology. Spend the money on the individual teachers and the children will reap the benefits within their education.
Yes, PAUSD's continued strength absolutely plays into high property values. Ask homeseekers, ask realtors. It's a shame more of our teachers cannot afford live in our community (and the same for our other civil servants).
Every person I've ever known who moved from private sector to teaching was overwhelmed by how much harder the job was than they expected.
NCLB. Increasing SpecialEd regulations and populations. Entitled parents expecting replies way after hours. Students from dysfunctioning households, themselves so damaged that schools truly act 'in loco parentis'. The public often forgets, our teachers are required to serve every customer that walks in the door no matter how much time and money and effort and heartache they cost... that's just not true for the private sector.
Those who stayed in the profession (and so many left for "greener" pastures) always say how rewarding it is. I've never heard them say, "financially."
As a community we are asking the teachers of our students to take on more and more responsibility for the health and well being of their students and yet when it comes to supporting them with a small bonus for their hard work you want to deny them. Can anyone give a real valid reason why teachers as a whole do not deserve our respect and admiration for the support that they give this community?
As a teacher, I know firsthand how hard my colleagues work. For Palo Alto to retain and attract the quality of teacher its residents have come to expect, keeping salaries competitive with other districts is a must. Palo Alto is a very wealthy community overall, and its residents deserve to have its teachers make a salary that will allow them to live closer to (if not in) the community and be a part of it. This will make teachers feel more invested in the schools they teach. I've read the comments about having summers off and what out hourly rate really is. I also know most of you understand teaching is not a 8-3 job. I know of no teacher who doesn't work a minimum of 50 hours a week. And yes, most of us do have to have a second job to afford living in this area. The modest raise we are asking for hardly affects Palo Alto residents in the slightest. For the amount of time, passion and energy we put into our jobs (and your children's educations), you should feel more than willing to give us a extremely modest raise.
I have a maybe dumb question
Is a teacher's salary used to calculate other benefits?
A small raise is not small when it is multiplied by a lot of teachers, and a nightmare if it causes an increase in other salary or benefit calculations. Not to mention, it sets up an increasing base which at this point in the economy does not even make sense.
Unfortunately, compared to a raise -democratic and delivered. Time passion and energy are not democratic or always delivered in our classrooms.
We had pretty great teachers in Elementary, mixed in Middle School, and more mixed in High School. You wonder why some are even teachers in the higher grades, when they look and act like they hate the students. For all the "love" there's a lot of angst in the higher grades. Maybe it's the second job you say many have, maybe it's the cost of living, but that should not impact the job one has been hire to do. Your credentials should determine what is expected of you, and in theory you have committed to deliver for the salary.
Should't you be leaving the job if it's not right for you?
It almost sounds like blackmail what you say. In a district which already pays well, you are saying you will deliver better only if you can afford to live here.?!?!
We might be better off with young and hungry teachers. Times are changing, we can get passion and energy not only from experience.
Compared to other states, CA teachers tenure and benefits are the most expensive in the country! And don't we rank at about the bottom, if not the bottom of the 50 states?
Illinois just passed a major reworking of tenure & benefits of teachers and school employees so it is possible. Also, amazingly, some high school teachers in the suburbs reach out to the parents if their child has not turned in homework etc.........they are proactive!
As a mom of 2 Gunn students, there are a few good teachers there, but many mediocre and some just plain awful. All of my kids friends have tutors, paid for by their parents, to teach them the material. When I went to high school 30 years ago, this was not the case and our education system was more highly ranked. So many high school students teach themselves the material or have tutors......we have smart parents and hardworking kids, thats why the scores are so high (relative to CA, not other states). Can we say that about the few minority kids who can't afford tutors our don't have guidance at home?
If you work in Silicon Valley in any other profession, you can get laid off, at anytime. There is no safety net and it often has to do with the economy, not whether or not you are doing a good job.
I wanted to add to this discussion. I have bee in the classroom almost twenty years
Here is a typical day for me. Get to work around 8 am , walk in to my classroom to be greeted by mostly smiling faces. By 8;20 have individually interacted with at least 5 students and probably answered 5 questions. By 8;30 have taught new material and am checking for understanding. By 8;45 I have interacted with at least 15-20 students, made at least 20-30 quick decisions and have to make sure everyone, 30 students was on task. By 9:15 finished the lesson and perhaps have made at least 2-3 other transitions as middle schoolers cannot las that long on one lesson, have said goodbye to all of them. By 10 am have prepped at least 1-2 other lessons as I teach several subjects, made several phone calls, sent at least 10-15 emails to parents, bosses colleagues and maybe had a quick tea. By 11:30 have taught one or two more groups of 30 kids, depends on my schedule for the day. I have sat down maybe a total of 15 minutes.
Lunch is at 12:25 . Often don't sit down as I have to meet with kids to go over material or talk with colleagues as I do not get to see them much during the day as I'm with kids.
After 30 minute lunch I have two more periods.... There are 6 in a day but I usually teach 4 or 5 periods, depends on the day. By 3 pm I've interacted with 150 kids, probably 5-6 colleagues, sent at least 3-5 emails to parents, not to mention the other 50 or so to other administrators and colleagues. I've prepped for my various subjects... Prep time 2-4 hours per day. That does include grading 150 students and I cod tell you with fair accuracy where each one is. I have great secretaries in the front office but they do not take any of my calls , nor answer any of my emails. At home one eve at least 3 nights a week I answer more emails, ponder new lessons, etc
I do often work summer school to pay my mortgage and summer for me is 5 weeks. We have not had ten weeks off in years as someone mentioned above... It is usually 8.
Any workshops are funded by district up to 300 dollars. For any university credits I pay for them. I understand many Silicon Valley jobs pay for things such as this. I love my students and most parents are very supportive but please don't ever tell me that I am over paid as a Palo Alto teacher. I am an educator but am also a counselor, secretary,
Coach, mentor, numerous times throughout my day. It is a wonderful, rewarding job but very demanding and believe me, I never go to bed unable to sleep soundly at the end of my day.
I apologize for several grammatical errors above as this was typed on an iphone
We've heard the union whine that teachers do a whole bunch of jobs and some teachers do, but frankly, my kids have had a couple of great teachers, some good ones, and some who could not teach at all. Why can't the great ones get a raise of a lot more than the terrible ones? This is where the union fails. It spends more of its time protecting the most ineffective instead of policing its members or behaving as a professional organization. Anyone with a brain knows that an administrator dare not attempt to spend a minimum of five years to dismiss a tenured teacher. In Palo Alto, only a serious crime against children has achieved that. As for the teacher who is planning and preparing, be thankful that you have a salary which provides for that instead of acting as if you get paid hourly like many of your classified counterparts, who by the way, also spend their off-hours preparing and planning for their jobs. My mom was a teacher and her life revolved around it, though she complained a lot less than some of the teachers I've read about here. She married my father, who was a gardener and got paid by the job and had no health insurance for most of his life. He sure spent a lot of time at night and weekends trying to improve his business.
Here's the funny part: this one-time, one percent raise is weak. There is a lot more money in the district coffers, but your union leaders, like you, have failed to make your case, and apparently were unable to compel Skelly and the board that you merited the up to three percent raise that was available. There is obviously a spell that you are under, or a deal has been made to not alarm the parents, but if I understand it correctly, Skelly is getting a million dollar, low or no interest loan just like the two county superintendents and none of you ever raise this issue. Check the warrants and financials on the district website if you don't believe me that there is a lot more money available. Lozano and company are making jokes out of your representation. I also saw that the district is paying the union nearly $80,000 monthly. I'll assume those are the voluntary dues, but I am not sure. Stop paying them and you may recover another one percent. Feel free to let me know if I haven't figured this out.
Thank you Marie! asking, being concerned about non teaching/administration employees is not common.
"It is a plantation mentality and it is clearly split down racial lines, you simply need to know your place. " - a comment short time ago in another thread triggered by same issues.
Kids breath the air - many hours every day.
In the real world, a raise or a bonus is merit based.
Blanket increases simply do not make sense.
You describe your day without any faults. You might be a great teacher who deserves a raise, but you may not.
Let us continue to provide more funds to a system that is failing compared to many metrics. Let us continue to provide more pay to a group of employees that are working even less hours under union rule. And let us continue to increase compensation at twice the rate of inflation and wonder where our tax dollars are going.
When the Calstrs (Teachers retirement system) asks us to pay almost triple what school districts already pay (coming soon to the PA school district) will we be surprised when the district gets behind the need for increased parcel taxes and school bonds to help support the continuation of out-of-control-spending? Will the increased spending ACTUALLY benefit students or will it only increase compensation for school district employees - more tax dollars with little benefit?
The sooner we quit getting sucked into the Teachers Union argument that "it's all about the kids" is about the time the kids will actually benefit and their parents tax dollar investment will provide results
Palo Alto pays its teachers very high wages in comparison to other school districts. But if thatś not enough think of how much vacation time and breaks they have: winter and spring break and then in the summer 2 months (wow!) plus tenure (wow and wow!). But I support giving them this one time bonus simply because of the high local cost of living. Bay area districts should have a basic salary comparable to other school districts, making distinctions on schooling and then a yearly bonus for housing which is the area main cause of the high cost of living.
Palo Alto doesnīt make schooling salary distinctions other than the degree attained and pays the same for a degree whether it was obtained at Stanford or Princeton or Scranton University or College of the Redwoods. No wonder that graduates of the better universities
have reluctance in embarking in a teaching career....
It has long been a common misunderstanding on the part of teachers (read Ms teacher above) that they work long hours. Well, compared to whom? Apparently 9-5 jobs, typically without security, little or no vacation or low pay. Then they want to be paid as a liberal or technical person. She/he in her/his ignorance doesnīt realize that those persons work all the time: early morning, late evening,on weekends, on vacation (short ones) many times. And if you want to do an involved, well paid professional job nobody pays you for learning new material. Itś all part of the job. What, work all the time? And as for salary, the stating salary for a teacher in PA is comparable to a starting salary for a professional in other fields with the same qualifications. As for the professional shenanigans of obnoxious parents, bad bosses, difficult children, etc, what on earth, what kind of fantasy world do people live in to imagine that other professional people (including the well paid) donīt have to deal with the intrinsic difficulty of the job itself+the difficult people around them?
Top 50 ranking in the State:
API #s at the other schools are also quite high, compared to state and nation. To imply as a previous commenter did that PAUSD school are not providing high quality education is simply a broadbrush misuse of statistics.
Agree, PAUSD is at the top. However, this is NOT solely due to teachers in PAUSD. Let's send the best teacher in PAUSD to another bottom school. If this best teacher can make that bottom class move to top like PAUSD, then I believe that it is solely due to teachers for class ranking. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The parents and good student body is the main reason. I am not saying that PAUSD teachers are not good, I just want to point to the real fact. PAUSD teachers should feel fortunate to have such a good community to support them.
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