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Palo Alto Unified, teachers union tentatively agree on 3% annual raise

Original post made on May 5, 2021

Palo Alto Unified and its teachers union have reached a tentative two-year agreement that will raise annual teacher salaries by 3% for the 2020-21 school year and another 3% for the upcoming year.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, May 5, 2021, 9:34 AM

Comments (16)

Posted by The Voice of Palo Alto
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 5, 2021 at 11:15 am

The Voice of Palo Alto is a registered user.

Congratulations to all of the hard working teachers of PAUSD for this well deserved raise!
[Portion removed.]

If anything, I believe teachers here in PAUSD deserve a bigger raise(10%)than what you got. You couldn’t pay me enough to deal with these families on a daily basis. All in all, a 3% raise plus a 2% bonus isn’t too shabby. The best part is it will be paid through everyone’s property taxes according to the article. If you want to recruit and retain high quality teachers you will have to pay. That’s how the system works.

Congratulations teachers and I’m looking forward to classified staff also getting raises with all of that amazing $6 million property tax revenue. Finally, no, just because you pay property taxes doesn’t mean you are in charge of the teachers, the schools, or any of the administration. Sorry, that’s not how the system works. Stay in your lane.


Posted by jr1
a resident of Greenmeadow
on May 5, 2021 at 11:48 am

jr1 is a registered user.

Teachers should get a pay raise and a performance bonus. In exchange, I want means testing for all teachers. Good teachers should get a bonus. Teachers should be like employees at a company, if they are very good they get a bonus. We pay enough taxes to support our schools, around 70% we should get the best possible teachers and they should get a bonus when our students do well. If teachers fail means-testing they should be required to improve by attending seminars to help them. I don't want to hear, the parents or children (young adults) are at fault. I remember when I attended Junior High School in Palo Alto, I was certainly aware of the demanding teachers. Today I still remember Mrs. Forbush, she was tough and today I appreciate that she was a demanding teacher.


Posted by peppered
a resident of Community Center
on May 5, 2021 at 1:08 pm

peppered is a registered user.

Agree with @jr1 .
3% annual raises and 2% bonuses is generous in then pandemic economy when many are suffering.
These raises should require accountability, so incompetent teachers can be exited.
Our kids and our nation's futures demand it.


Posted by jr1
a resident of Greenmeadow
on May 5, 2021 at 1:49 pm

jr1 is a registered user.

One request I would like to make- all newspaper articles should publish are the percentages and actual salary (range) numbers. I'm sure teachers have a salary range, depending on experience. I've noticed those last several years, papers rarely publish the actual salaries (numbers). Taxpayers should be aware of the salaries of government employees since we actually pay the salaries through our taxes.


Posted by Samuel L
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 5, 2021 at 2:24 pm

Samuel L is a registered user.

Voice of Palo Alto telling people to stay in their lane. Hilarious. I would say that if your tax money pays for these raises, then you're in your lane if you want to critique how and to whom it is spent. That's precisely how the system works. We vote for the board, the board approves the raises. If people don't like how the board is approving raises, they vote out the board. Which part confuses you?

Correct, we pay to attract and retain HIGH QUALITY teachers. So, what's the mechanism to slough off the others? If everyone gets paid the same, how do you delineate high quality from a teacher they had to hire to fill a spot?

Paly recently quietly fired (allowed to resign) a long term tenured teacher, [portion removed]. Taught for many years, but seems he was discovered doing something unseemly on Zoom during class. Paly also employed Ronnie Farrell for many years. Both of these teachers received the same raises as those "highly qualified" ones. In fact, many would say that the two mentioned were high quality. Only pointing these out because there's no way anyone can claim that all of the PAUSD teachers are "high quality". Yet, we treat them all the same.


Posted by The Voice of Palo Alto
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 5, 2021 at 2:29 pm

The Voice of Palo Alto is a registered user.

“Taxpayers should be aware of the salaries of government employees since we actually pay the salaries through our taxes.”
False. From this and some of your previous comments here you somehow think you are “owed” something because you pay taxes. Big deal…you pay taxes. I totally disagree with this premise as you need to pay your taxes anyway. As I said in my initial comment paying taxes doesn’t give ANY rights to demand “means testing” or give ANY rights to find out how much these teachers make. They are just people trying to earn a living. Your children aren’t that special that you need everyone of your child’s teachers to be a “Ron Clark” type of super teacher. No special treatment just because you live in PA.
If anything the problem is that a lot of the kids now don’t do their jobs as students but their underachieving is blamed on the teachers. It’s quite possible that the kids here are just normal kids that aren’t special in any way even if their parents don’t think that or believe that.
As far you remembering a strict teacher back in your heyday, nowadays everyone is so sensitive that if teachers are too strict they get in trouble for it, or if they are too lenient commenters such as yourself want “means testing” to prove their worth. So teachers can’t win in this district and that’s why I cheer and support these raises for having to deal with this type of nonsense. Schools are not run on a “business model” with bonuses for great teachers that live up to the unreachable standards you possess in your own head and you are not a customer because you pay taxes. [Portion removed.]


Posted by jr1
a resident of Greenmeadow
on May 5, 2021 at 2:40 pm

jr1 is a registered user.

Numerous government employees' salaries are released. I'm a firm believer good teachers should be rewarded with a higher salary, bonuses but I also expect poor teachers to get less salary or be trained. Why should taxpayers have to tolerate poor teachers getting high salaries? Means-testing is a reward for the best teachers.


Posted by Paly Teacher
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 5, 2021 at 3:25 pm

Paly Teacher is a registered user.

@jr1: Percentages may be hard to find, but salaries are public information: Web Link


Posted by Samuel L
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 5, 2021 at 3:41 pm

Samuel L is a registered user.

Salaries are public and listed on Transparent California's website. Here are PAUSD's numbers:
Web Link


Posted by Fairmeadow
a resident of Fairmeadow
on May 5, 2021 at 10:47 pm

Fairmeadow is a registered user.

The “Voice of Palo Alto” can’t have it both ways while stating in another article

1. They should’ve been in school long ago.
False. Schools are nonessential and should be closed to control the outbreak.

Then promoting extracting the largest raise possible in this article.

These two statements do not make sense when trying to achieve educational excellence for the kids, but they do make sense as evidence of a vocal minority seeking the most financial gains at the expense of the community.


Posted by The Voice of Palo Alto
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 5, 2021 at 11:40 pm

The Voice of Palo Alto is a registered user.

@Fairmeadow
I knew commenters would try to use the schools being closed and the pandemic as an excuse for not giving teachers raises. As if the teachers caused the pandemic or closed the schools or should be punished. They shouldn’t be punished because they got to work remotely and didn’t have to provide the subsidized day care this year or be exposed to a deadly pathogen. Time moves on. More and more of the American population will be vaccinated including children, disease transmission will be lower, and things, including schools will go back to normal. Those raises will be there for in person school. It’s also purely comical that you all want the highest quality of teachers for your children but frown at a meager 2% bonus. Sorry to inform you of this, but you will not attract the best of the best anyway if you are going to react with stinginess and frugality every time a pay increase goes through.

It doesn’t matter if the schools closed during the outbreak, if you try to diminish me as the “vocal minority”, whether schools are essential or nonessential(they are nonessential during a deadly disease outbreak), or even if you disagree with the raises. The hard working teachers and the classified staff deserve a raise, and your property taxes will cover the raises. That’s not “having it both ways” as your premise stated. You and the rest of your ilk do not frighten ME. I am not in the same position as the poor teachers here in this district that have to put up with this negative nonsense with a fake smile to get through their day and keep their jobs. I am not caught in the tangle of your lives and I will put you in your place if you get too sassy. TVOPA will always stand with the working class!

Teaching is one of the least respected professions that take a college degree. Pulling a comment from an unrelated article that is out of context does not bolster your argument. Always remember, I am your, and everyone else’s, intellectual superior.


Posted by Andy
a resident of Stanford
on May 6, 2021 at 2:28 am

Andy is a registered user.

While Palo Alto schools are considered "better" than most of the Bay Area's public schools, that doesn't mean taxpayers should give teacher unions, the same people who have caused havoc for the state's education system, a blank check or automatic anything.


Posted by jr1
a resident of Greenmeadow
on May 6, 2021 at 6:17 am

jr1 is a registered user.

For some reason, Voice of Palo Alto expresses the opinion that people feel teachers are not respected. I disagree with the comment, teaching is like any other profession, a person earns respect through performance. This is true if you work in government, or private business. Most people can see how a person operates determines if they get respect.


Posted by I ❤ Paly
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 7, 2021 at 10:40 am

I ❤ Paly is a registered user.

I'm a Paly teacher. I really wish we had some kind of robust system for evaluating teacher effectiveness. I sometimes hear well-substantiated rumors of outdated teaching practices in a few corners of our campus that curb learning and hurt kids.

The problem is that very few research-based programs to help teachers improve actually exist. Almost all the systems we do have bring attention and shame on a teacher, are laborious for administrators, are almost always tied directly to the possibility of being removed from one's post.

Rather than that, we should have improvement plans for teachers that mirror the way we should be treating young adults. They should be supportive, encouraging, private to the extent possible, and have the power to rekindle the love of innovative teaching practices that inspire teachers early in their careers.


Posted by jr1
a resident of Greenmeadow
on May 7, 2021 at 12:33 pm

jr1 is a registered user.

If residents examine the history of Palo Alto students they have done very well. The parents and teachers should be congratulated. I will always feel parents need to get more involved especially when their children or young adults are having trouble in school. Parents cannot expect the school to do everything when educating a student. Parents also should demand the district have to best possible teachers. I don't interrupt means testing as a threat-parents should encourage teachers to be tested and if necessary take courses to improve. Means testing provides encouragement for teachers to be rewarded. If a teacher fails, and doesn't want to improve they should be replaced.


Posted by DON AUSTIN HAS A SPINE
a resident of Community Center
on May 7, 2021 at 9:49 pm

DON AUSTIN HAS A SPINE is a registered user.

In the ideal world, good teachers would be paid extremely competitive salaries (I am talking doctor, Google engineer, management consultant level so that the best and brightest students would consider teaching to be one of their top career options.). And bad ones would be fired.


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