Town Square

Palo Alto teachers get 3 percent raise in tentative pact

Original post made on Apr 19, 2013

Palo Alto teachers and school staff members will get a 3 percent raise plus a 1.5 percent bonus for the current school year in tentative agreements announced Friday, April 19.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, April 19, 2013, 3:58 PM


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Posted by Great Rally!
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 19, 2013 at 5:02 pm

Way to go teachers!. It really worked that you rally at the district office on February 26th, that is the way to get things done. For those who Don't Know Mr. Payle did a great job advocating for him and his co-workers, along with the other teachers who spoke up at the meeting. If only parents will joint and rally like they did so things can improve for our students in regards to discrimination based on race or disability, etc. Here is the recording, you could see that we have really good teachers who are not afraid to speak up. Good for them, now they got what they wanted. Hope they support our kids and take parents concerns seriously.

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Posted by Great Rally!
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 19, 2013 at 5:04 pm

I forgot to past the link here it is: Web Link

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Posted by truth
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 19, 2013 at 7:39 pm

Check out the other thread - predicted a nice raise for the teachers.

For every dollar you give to PiE, that's one extra dollar the District can hand over to the teachers.

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Posted by wondering
a resident of Community Center
on Apr 19, 2013 at 9:53 pm

When will people get it: As an educator I have seen first hand, whatever race you may be education is a inside job!!! This racism stuff is a shame and quite offensive to tell you the truth. Race has nothing to do with showing up on time to class, doing your work, getting help when you need it and just plain working hard!!!

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] Yes, it takes a village but in the end it all start with the student and the family and their commitment to working hard to get a good education. Yes, some have it tougher than others but choices has nothing to do with color or race!!!

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Posted by Paly Parent
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 20, 2013 at 7:45 am

Great Rally!: The district and unions were in negotiations at the time of the Feb meeting at the district had said all along it was willing to give us a raise. That 'rally' was a negotiating tactic that embarrassed some of us as they knew there was already a raise on the table.

Truth: You honestly believe that teachers who are paid smack in the middle of local districts (5th out of 9) don't deserve a 3% raise after 8 years? The starting salary listed here is at the poverty level in the bay area. Do you want the quality of teachers you can get by refusing a reasonable raise when times are good?

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Posted by Another view
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 20, 2013 at 8:46 am

High salaries sometimes translate into high performance of PAUSD employees, sometimes they don't. And sometimes it takes a couple of years to learn that the quality of some employees is much lower than previously thought. Think of Kevin Skelly for an example. Or Charles Young. All teachers will get this raise, including the few great ones, the majority made up by the very good, the adequate, and the very few awful ones which recent studies suggest cause almost irreversible harm to a student. The teachers who share in the responsibility of the recent OCR complaints will get this raise, the principals will no doubt get a me-too raise, even the various principals who apparently didn't have the highly-compensated quality of successfully and competently handling these issues. The vice principal at the middle school that violated the civil rights, according to the OCR, not the school board, who publicly welcomes this "opportunity," will also get this raise. It's just how the system works and PAEA will fight to the end to preserve it.

As an educator, race has everything to do at the teacher and administrator level. From low expectations of children based on the color of their skin to the shunning of teachers and aides who dare bring up the perpetual low achievement of Latino and African American children, despite the mountains of money that supposedly attracts these quality administrators and teachers who will receive this "poverty" wage, racism does exist, just as sexism still exists at Paly.

Enjoy your money, most of you, but not all of you, deserve it.

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Posted by Another sourceof money
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 20, 2013 at 9:31 am

What would be the amount available per teacher if we added up:

- Skelly & Young's salaries, perks, benefits and loans
- PR flak's salary, perks and benefits
- Legal fees paid to outside counsel to advise and defend Skelly
- Costs associated with settlements and remediation
- Cost to prepare, document and publish non-conforming resolution processes.

To say nothing of the waste, duplication and inefficiencies caused by 'site-control' times the number of sites.

Somebody do the math. Heck, let the unions do the math.

I'd rather fund an actual teacher anywhere on the bell-curve than pay for any of the items above.

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Posted by soccer mom
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 20, 2013 at 10:25 am

"The new contract also specifies that teachers will provide students and parents with updated information about grades "at least every three weeks," although "the vast majority of secondary teachers already do so," the school district and teachers union said in a joint statement."

This is a VERY weak concession. The contract should stipulate the use of one single tool - Schoology- which should be updated DAILY posting homework assignments on line and WEEKLY posting grades. The current contract language perpetuates the sad state of affairs where students have to go to multiple websites and use multiple tools to find out assignments. Come on, Palo Alto, we are surrounded by high tech companies which mandate a single platform of communication for their employees. Can we look to match the standards in our community?

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Posted by Bob
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 20, 2013 at 10:40 am

> This is a VERY weak concession.

Agreed. It's not clear that the tool should be specified in the contract, but certainly the existence of a suite of tools needs to be specified somewhere.

It's astounding that here in the middle of the Silicon Valley the District is having to pull its "professional staff" into the 21st Century kicking and screaming.

We are long overdue a valid technology assessment of the District's education program. There is no reason that student work should not be on-line, and tracked by whatever tool/suite that is chosen. Parents/Students/Staff should be able to track the status of work, and student progress through the year. Teacher performance should also become evidence from these tools.

Parents/students/taxpayers deserve bettee than they are current getting.

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Posted by Gunn Parent
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 20, 2013 at 11:26 am

Would the assistance principal who didn't respond to the phone calls for help when there was an emergency in his classroom get this raise. Shame on her, because of that this student now faces deportation. If she would had done her work, things would had not escalated to the point they did, but like the teachers says in Yesterday's Daily Post that the student said, they Misael said they will not come because we are all Mexicans. This is a class where students of color get segregated. I believe this teacher deserves his salary. He is speaking up the truth and is standing up for this child. I hope he has tenure so he is not fired by Villalobos. The title of the post reads: Teacher Faults school over bullying incident. Finally some of the truth is coming up. Misael should had never been in Jail, if Jun administration had responded promptly. shame on them. this family has suffered so much. Night of crying because the boy went to jail, and now because he is about to be deported. Villalobos should never said that all the students are her children, obviously he did not protected him like one. Maybe Misael is right because he is Mexican.

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Posted by Rajiv Bhateja
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Apr 20, 2013 at 1:01 pm

I am VERY disappointed that the District did not mandate daily updates to Schoology of homework assigned. Also in this day and age a 3-week feedback loop for grades is abysmal.

I've been lobbying the District about this for 9 years now and this is a pathetic "response".

Very sad, VERY VERY unfortunate that the school district does not value its students more.

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Posted by Another view
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 20, 2013 at 5:24 pm

To Gunn Parent of Barron Park,

I agree with the part about Mexicans. Latinos are one thing, but if you study the PAUSD disproportionate identification of Latino boys, and isolate Mexican and Mexican-American boys, you will see perpetual lack of academic achievement even though they are enrolled in PAUSD schools from K-12. I challenge Theresa Baldwin to work on this specific issue now that all teachers have received their raise. Aren't teachers paid to raise the achievement of all our students? Do we have the best teachers or not? Let's prove it.

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Posted by Lamont
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 21, 2013 at 5:31 pm

I say that the teachers should have gotten a 10% raise after all we are the ones who will be paying for their benefits.

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Posted by Concerned Retiree
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 22, 2013 at 1:10 pm

My two children went through the Palo Alto Schools years ago. The schools were mediocre in comparison to the local schools in Massachusetts and I suspect little has changed. When a student succeeds at PAUSD, it is 90 percent based on his background of genes & money. PAUSD teachers are given bright, motivated students with supportive parents.

I would like to see merit-based raises based on the teachers actually increasing their students' potential -- perhaps taking a C student to an A student.

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Posted by Mary
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 22, 2013 at 1:59 pm

Dear Helicopter Parents,

We have ways of getting around the 3 week reporting. The joke will be on you.

You asked for it. Lincoln freed the slaves.

Bloody Mary

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Posted by granny
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 22, 2013 at 2:13 pm

I know that many teachers have always posted homework assignments & grades online. I babysat for my grandchildren @ PA h.s. while the parents were on vacation, and the kids showed my the assignments, due dates, & test dates on the classroom web page. This was for English class.

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Posted by WOW
a resident of Gunn High School
on Apr 22, 2013 at 5:01 pm

So you can just show up and get your raise! What other profession (and they want to be called professionals) allow this?

SHAME on the school board! They gave away the store!!!

Teachers can refuse to use the online grade and assignment reporting system. SHAME on you for not mandating use of this system to get this raise. The teachers are holding you hostage!!!

I will NEVER support any bonds or parcel taxes again!!!

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Posted by Paly Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 22, 2013 at 6:27 pm

First of all, it's more than a 3% raise, because it includes an extra 1.5% spiff, and it's also retroactive to a year ago. Oh, we forgot to tell you that? Guess we really do need that $150K PR person to help!

Somehow they forgot to mention they'll need another $4.5 billion per year to cover CalSTRS' unfunded pension liability, too.

Web Link

You'd think with all those math teachers ...

Actually I'd be a lot happier to fund a 3%, or whatever it really is, if they weren't simply going to pancake it out to every teacher. I'd gladly pay some teachers >>3%; others, yeah not so much.

As for faster posts to Infinite Campus: instead of that, how about they ask a few more teachers to say, really teach kids to write essays, including really grading them on content and quality, vs just running them through a grammar checker and little more. The irony of Infinite Campus is its biggest value is to active parents: you can see where your child is struggling, so you can teach him/her yourself.

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Posted by teacher
a resident of another community
on Apr 22, 2013 at 8:48 pm

Dr. Skelly failed to mention that class size will be going up in some of the grades as part of the agreement. Even one more student makes a difference. Having a wide range of very high to very low abilities makes it challenging to meet the needs of all learners!

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Posted by question
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 23, 2013 at 7:25 am

where does the "3 weeks" come from? is there something I can read online about this?

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Posted by taxpayer
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 23, 2013 at 11:14 am

The district is getting away with good deal, only giving up 3%. That doesn't even meet COLA for all the years teachers went without any increase. Remember on the eve the most recent recession the district and teachers had agreed on a 5%, which they mutually decided to pull back from to protect rainy day funds.
The districts rainy day warchest is now immense. Embarrassingly more than needed.

Don't blame the teacher's union for the way spending happens in PAUSD. The union is consistently told there's no money, yet they see more and more being spent on technology that comes in one year and out to the scrap pile 3-5 years later; on fat benefits and yearly increases for district brass; on fixing building remodel problems that should have done correctly the first time around (B4E); and an ever-growing pot of mandated spending on special groups that is completely out of the control of teachers or the Board, for that matter. (And where are we headed? Watch out for more and more litigation against public school districts by parents who think they deserve a private-style, even personalized one-on-one educational experience. )

And remember, whatever raise the PAEA negotiates, the other two unions, from principals to groundskeepers have a "me too" clause. They get the same pay out, but they never get the same broadbrush vilification from so many contributors here on PAOnline.

Yes, paying everyone the same pay bump is no way to reward good teaching... But the district has never put a proposal out for merit teaching pay (nor merit principaling, nor merit groundskeeping). Merit play is a slippery science. Put that up for discussion, and I'll bet every parent has a different way of quantifying their good teacher and their less-good teacher.

We're just happy our daughters have had a TEAM of decent teachers through the years. When they get someone who may not agree with their learning style, we tell them, "Hey, it's a learning experience; learn now how to deal with differences, b/c you'll be forced to work for/with even more people you don't like in the working world."

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Posted by goTeachers
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 23, 2013 at 3:34 pm

I am glad that the teachers got a raise because that means that some of the great teachers in PAUSD are rewarded for their hard work and dedication to their students. I also wish that it could be given to those who truly deserve the raise because we could then give them more. However, the system is broken so please do not blame the teachers.

We are asking high school teachers to teach students at a college level, treat them as if they are aways right and to support their mental health. They deserve more than the raise they were given. They deserve more of our respect and support.

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Posted by Paly Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 23, 2013 at 4:00 pm

goTeachers, I'm with you 100% on the part about give the whole pool to the best teachers. Maybe even make that pool bigger yet.

But I disagree on whose fault the broken system is. The teachers' unions deserve a massive part -- though certainly not all -- of the blame for this. Clearly some teachers are much better than others. So why do they all make the same, +/- 20% or so (and much less than that if you normalize for seniority)? That's not how it works in the real world, any more than "job security for life no matter how well you perform" is. Is this stuff really what's best for the kids? Really? You could say that's the unions, not the teachers, but who are the unions anyway?

As for "college level," and I assume you mean APs, yeah not sure I agree with that one either. I think it's marketing spin. Most AP's are a good meaty high school course.

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Posted by Go Teachers!!!!
a resident of another community
on Apr 23, 2013 at 4:45 pm

Thank you "taxpayer" for shedding light on the present situation. Your logical and level-headed response is appreciated. As an educator I applaud your philosophy in raising your daughters and how they might handle adversity. Concerning pay raises, here's a real life example: My wife is a gifted teacher and has devoted her life to her students and giving them the best education that can be created. In the classroom she has acted as a mentor teacher and is a "kid" advocate, earning esteem and appreciation within the community. She is the BEST teacher that I know. Years ago, her % pay raises trumped my own (I teach at a local private school). For the last five years, the PAUSD teachers have not gotten any raises except for the recent one-time only 1%. No cost of living adjustment, etc.. Our PAUSD teachers work hard for our kids and should be given more respect and less scrutiny. Our district is one of the best around, and my own kids have benefitted from our local elementary, middle, and high school experiences (that's Briones, Terman, and Gunn). For the past five years I have out earned her because of the challenges of funding any pay raises; meanwhile my own school has averaged 2% a year increase (our pay is tied to tuition). As a longtime educator who is "in it for the right reasons" (anyone who does it for the $ is perhaps in the wrong profession), it is high time our local community "leads by example" by honoring teachers with a more balanced and equitable pay scale. Sure, lemons are always around, but the vast majority of our PAUSD teachers on ALL levels are hard-working, caring, and dedicated to their students and their craft and need to be appreciated within our community. The next time you see one of your favorite teachers, instead of a snarky, "good job on the pay raise!" perhaps a "thank you" for doing the best for all of our kids! That and an equitable pay raise would go far in balancing out an uneven playing field and restoring the faith in our local educators who have chosen this profession to benefit our society.

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Posted by Another view
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 23, 2013 at 10:13 pm

I've read the board packet with the increase in cost for the 3 percent raise, I believe it is around $3,000,000 per year, will likely hit $10,000,000 total cost. PAEA will get its cut in automatic dues, perpetuating its power in dictating to the community. How do we measure the effectiveness of the teachers? How do we measure one teacher to another? Is it just popularity in the community or is there better data out there? No one should be snarky with a teacher or teachers just for snark's sake, but one shouldn't be snarky with posters, either. Teachers are not working for free or purely noble purposes. They get paid well, health benefits are solid, and tenure after two years means a virtual lock on their jobs.

Don't mix in principals and custodians with teachers. Principals are free agents and can be pinkslipped or demoted pretty much at will before March 15 every year. (One major exception is Kevin Skelly and Charles Young, who many in the community cannot figure why were not noticed before March 15). Look at how many principals and administrators were noticed by Skelly, who retired, who resigned, sometimes because of his rudderless) leadership. As for custodians, they make next to nothing and unless you have worked as a custodian (I have, my parents have, and some in my family still do), you have no idea how they are treated as second class citizens by many of their fellow employees, such as teachers, in fact.

The teachers need a raise, just like all employees, just like almost all residents in Palo Alto, but that doesn't mean that we should not expect competence from each and every teacher. A few lemons, and a bunch more in the next group of teachers, the average or mediocre, can have catastrophic effects on our most vulnerable children, our sociodisadvantaged. Please don't characterize teachers are something they are not. A teacher is wonderful, or can be, but PAEA is particularly selfish and not centered on our children. It's all about them.

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Posted by teacher outside of PAUSD
a resident of another community
on Apr 24, 2013 at 11:25 am

I am a teacher in another district. I am happy the teachers in Palo Alto finally got a raise. What I really want to address, is the "job security for life" That is so not true. Teachers don't evaluate other teachers, administrators do. Teachers don't grant tenure, administrators do. If administrators do their jobs and actually evaluate teachers and write them up for not performing well, give the teacher an opportunity to improve and be re-evaluated then they have done their job. If it shows the teacher hasn't improved, then they can get rid of the "bad" teacher. Tenure is NOT a guarantee for life. It is to protect the great teachers, who happen to be more expensive, from getting let go because they can get a younger/new teacher cheaper. Shouldn't all employees have that protection? I think everyone deserves that kind of job security. If you are great at what you do, you shouldn't be let go because of your age or how costly your salary is. That is what the protection is for, NOT to protect bad teachers. Ask any teacher, they do not want bad teachers in the profession either. That said, we don't get to evaluate other teachers. Stop blaming the unions for bad teachers. It isn't their fault if administrators don't do their job.

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Posted by Real world PAUSD
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 24, 2013 at 3:17 pm

Tenure is to protect great teachers? Wow, where did that come from? Union much? Tenure protects the weakest most ineffective teachers in PAUSD. If an administrator dared to cite ineffective teaching and job performance of a teacher who has tenure, and many teachers get tenure in less than two years, and the teacher is popular with other teachers, you can be assured that the administrator would be out of the school within a year. Even when the most egregious teachers are written up, that teacher can easily drag out the process for several years and do so much damage to children. I've seen this at my daughter's three schools, each one had cases like this. Also, experience doesn't always equal quality. Some of the best teachers are in their first years. The system is broken and skewed toward the union. If you are a teacher, take some responsibility. You get paid for it. Do your part just as you want parents do their part.

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Posted by classified
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 24, 2013 at 6:44 pm

Another view - Thank you for taking the time to comment about custodians. You mentioned you worked this job - you know. Your comments about second class, the fellow employees treatment are so correct, unfortunately. Second class may be even a wish, sometimes. It can get worse.
Unfortunately, as well, your comments apply to many classified employees - it is not only about the custodians.
A parent noted long time ago that it is a plantation mentality. One just need to know one's place. I responded noting the all kids breath the plantation air many hours a day. Plantation comment was prior to the OCR news.

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Posted by Sorry, but...
a resident of Ventura
on Apr 24, 2013 at 7:20 pm

I would feel better about giving teachers and staff an across-the-board raise if I were not also reading about how PAUSD was dropped from the US News ratings because our teachers do a worse job with disadvantaged students than most other districts in California, and how our administration can't seem to figure out how to follow federal civil rights law. So forgive me if I don't join in a community toast to our selfless ($100k earning) teachers, at least not all of them.

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Juana Briones School

on Jun 6, 2017 at 10:33 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?