San Francisco Schools Eye Parcel Tax After Agreement on Teacher Pay

Students in class at San Francisco International High School on March 9, 2017. (Deborah Svoboda/KQED)

The San Francisco Unified School District and the union representing its teachers and school employees are aiming for a 2018 ballot measure to raise money for teacher pay.

The push for a new parcel tax comes after the district and United Educators of San Francisco, which represents more than 6,000 SFUSD employees, announced a tentative agreement on Saturday over teacher compensation.

“This contract is a step forward, but it’s not the end of the struggle to provide sufficient funding for public education,” said Lita Blanc, president of United Educators of San Francisco.

The agreement staved off a strike authorization vote that was set by the union for Wednesday. Teachers in the district had voiced concerns that their pay wasn’t enough to afford to live in high-cost San Francisco.

Included in the new contract is an 11 percent salary increase for teachers over the next three years and an overall compensation boost of 16 percent.

Now, the two sides will work together toward getting a parcel tax measure on the June 2018 ballot to fund an additional salary increase of at least 2 percent.

Superintendent Vincent Matthews praised the agreement but said that the teacher raises would stretch the district’s resources.

“If we are going to move forward with increased compensation, then we have to look at either increasing our revenue base or coming together around sacrifices that we have to make,” Matthews said.

He said the district will look into potential budget cuts even if the parcel tax passes.

Any potential cuts are likely to be met with resistance from the union. Proposals to eliminate sabbaticals and paid prep periods for AP courses were met with fierce, and ultimately successful, opposition during the current round of talks.

Instead, union officials said any cuts should come from SFUSD administration.

“We think there are cuts to be made centrally,” Blanc said, “but not at the school sites and not in the classrooms.”

Blanc said the new agreement is likely to be ratified in the next month.

San Francisco Schools Eye Parcel Tax After Agreement on Teacher Pay 6 November,2017Guy Marzorati

  • Gibarian

    The SFUSD already has a “teacher salary parcel tax” from 2008. Shouldn’t your lazy reporters put that in the story?

    By agreeing to a large raise, the SFUSD can create a Fiscal Emergency, which allows an out-of-cycle special election. This parcel tax has been discussed for two years, if the reporters went back and read the board minutes. It’s not a new thing.

  • Tough Love

    We often here the Union/worker complaint that we need higher wages “to live in the district”. Understandable, but not only can they now live NEARBY but in less expensive areas (do they do this in Beverly Hills ?), but in retirement they certainly can (and MOST DO) move to lower cost states and cities.

    While a higher SALARY might be justified WHILE EMPLOYED to reflect a high-cost-of-living area, there seems to be little justification to extend that excess into retirement (when most move away), and that’s EXACTLY what Final Average Salary DB pension do.

    For example, if a Public Sector worker retires at age 60 with 75% of final wages, each $10,000 if incremental income (necessary ONLY because of a high-cost-of-living area) translates into an ADDITIONAL $7.500 (COLA-increased) pension, and by using an appropriate annuity mortality table to ascertain the “value” of that extra COLA-increase incremental $7,500, we would come up with a lump sum “value” upon retirement of just about $150,000. That’s $150,000 of Taxpayer money that should NOT have been granted.

    There is a way to address this “problem”:

    In high-cost-areas, provide a “housing stipend” that is not “benefits-bearing” (sp ?), meaning that it is NOT included in “pensionable compensation”. Of course the Unions would fight such a change tooth & nail, not because it’s not reasonable and fair, but because they simply want MORE.

  • “Any potential cuts are likely to be met with resistance from the union. Proposals to eliminate sabbaticals and paid prep periods for AP courses were met with fierce, and ultimately successful, opposition during the current round of talks….Instead, union officials said any cuts should come from SFUSD administration.”
    How about 50% BUDGET cuts and 50% Admin cuts, so it is fair to everyone.

Author

Guy Marzorati

Guy Marzorati is a reporter and producer for KQED News, the California Report and KQED’s California Politics and Government Desk. Guy joined KQED in 2013. He grew up in New York and graduated from Santa Clara University. Email: GMarzorati@KQED.org

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