SDUHSD board approves 4% raise for teachers

The SDUHSD Board of Trustees approved a new three-year contract negotiated between the district and the San Dieguito Faculty Association that will increase salary schedules by 4% for the 2022-2023 fiscal year at a board meeting on Sep. 14.

The new contract, which covers the 2021-2024 school years, also includes a $3,000 one-time off-schedule payment for all staff active on the last day of school in June 2022.

“This agreement allows educators more protection [for] their families with record inflation and staggering daily costs,” SDFA President Duncan Brown said.

District teachers have worked for 15 months without a contract, as their last 3-year agreement expired in June 2021.

“I think the approved contract is good for the district because it allows employees the reassurance and peace of mind to have a contract,” TPHS AP U.S. History teacher Lucia Franke said. “As an employee, I found it demoralizing to work for more than a year without a new contract.”

Board President Maureen Muir, Trustee Julie Bronstein and Trustee Katrina Young voted for the agreement, while Board Vice President Michael Allman voted against it.

“The topic of teachers and contracts has inexplicably become very polarizing,” Young said during the Sep. 14 meeting. “There are two lenses in which we need to regard any compensation of our teachers. One is can the employer … afford it. And two, does it demonstrate to our employees … that we value and appreciate their work. I think the contract that we’re bringing forth tonight accomplishes all those goals.”

Bronstein also voiced support for the agreement. Muir did not comment on the content of the agreement except to confirm with Interim Superintendent Tina Douglas that it was “fiscally sound.”

Allman justified his rejection of the negotiation on budget concerns, saying that the raise was above market and would push the district further into deficit spending — from $7 million to $14.7 million in 2022-2023.

“I’m just not a big fan of deficit spending,” Allman said. “I think we have to live within our means, I think that’s really an issue for us.”

Douglas confirmed that the contract was affordable to the district. Though it increased the deficit this year, the district will be out of deficit spending in two years, she said.

“Given the national teacher shortage, a rising cost of living in the already expensive San Diego area and inflation at around 9%, the modest 4% raise … seems … reasonable,” Franke said.

Prior to the vote, multiple teachers spoke in favor of the contract and questioned a recent perceived rise in anti-union sentiment in the district.

“Why was it necessary for all of us to be here tonight? Why do we have to fight so hard to be respected and valued?” Earl Warren Middle School social studies teacher Ann Cerny said at the meeting. “Our teachers and students deserve better.”

At TPHS, students can elect to spend a class period working in a local school as a teacher’s assistant. After working with her assigned teacher, Alyssa Wakefield (12) said that she sees educators being “taken for granted.”

“I don’t think teachers should have to take money out of their paychecks to pay for classroom supplies,” Wakefield said. “[There] are teachers working other jobs during the weekend and over breaks because they can’t afford to live off their current salary.”

Isabella Good (11), another teacher’s assistant, agreed with Wakefield and supported the raise.
“[The raise] provides [teachers] with more resources and more opportunities to help students,” Good said.

Moving forward under the new contract, wages are only settled for this year and there will be limited opportunities to renegotiate the contract for next year.

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