The comment is in blue, and our response is in red.
"Here is some information you should be sharing with your readers:
First, the average teacher in Yucaipa earns about $62,000 for working just 9 months, plus nearly $9,000 in health benefits that can have NO monthly premium for the entire family."
Here we go again with that ridiculous “average teacher” term. The District likes to trumpet that our “average teacher” salary is one of the highest in the area. Yes, it’s indeed about $62,000. But they’re talking about the salaries paid to teachers who have advanced degrees and who have committed their careers to Yucaipa-Calimesa. They’re talking about teachers who have the highest longevity rates of any district in southern California.
What they’re NOT talking about is our salary schedule, which is the LOWEST in southern California. (See this post below).
"This is equivalent to about a $90,000/year job if they worked the entire year like most people do."
So are you saying we should all take second jobs? Give me a break. We work our tails off from August to June, and you want to criticize us for being in a profession that still gives students time to work on the family farm.
"Also teachers only work six hours a day so the average teacher in Yucaipa earns the equivalent of about $56.00 hour."
Oh my, are you soooo wrong there. No teacher in the world has ever worked six hours a day. Oh, wait–you’re talking about student “face time.” I guess you don’t think doing lesson plans, grading papers, filling out MADD sheets, tutoring kids during lunch, giving makeup tests before and after school, calling parents, going to IEPs, watching the bike rack, sitting in faculty meetings, serving on the leadership team, creating curriculum maps, wiping runny noses, counting heads for lunch, holding back-to-school nights and open houses, filling out endless forms, and so on is work. What do you call it if it’s not work?
Let’s talk about how much a board member makes for his/her “volunteer” job. Hmm. Two meetings a month, each meeting averaging three hours, if you count closed session. $240 a month PLUS a $9000 health benefits plan (since they get the same one teachers do)–that works out to $165 an hour. That’s three times what you think WE make per hour.
"This is very high pay for a job that doesn't require a high degree of technical skills."
Technical skills? I could have gone to DeVry or ITT Technical Institute if I wanted technical skills. Instead, I went to a four-year university for a bachelor’s degree, then I went to another university four more years and got a master’s degree. I also completed student teaching, along with hundreds of hours of professional development coursework just to remain qualified to be a teacher. How interesting that you need to compare teachers to other careers instead of to other teachers. Those of you in other careers think cogs and widgets are more important than students. A teacher's number one priority is the student. We therefore have a much more important responsibility - children's lives.
"Second, the union has received some significant raises--as much as 10% within the last few years!"
Really? Where are they? I guess you’re referring way back to 2000-01, when the state of California gave districts tons of new money, and we fought long and hard for 10%. But that was 7 years ago. Since then, it’s been slim pickin’s. We got COLA in 01/02, which was about
3.9%. In 02/03 we got 1% midyear. In 03/04, we got ZERO. In 04/05, we got 1.5% midyear. Add ZERO for 05-06 and 06-07. I don’t believe my colleagues would call those “significant raises.” I know I don’t.
"Third, union teachers in Yucaipa-Calimesa receive an AUTOMATIC raise -called step and column that equates to about a average 1.5-2% raise anyway EVERY YEAR."
Nope. You’re really wrong here. (And why call us “union teachers?” You throw that out like it’s a bad thing. You can thank unions for your weekends, your 40-hour work week, and the fact that your son didn’t have to go to work as a child.) Only about half of our teachers in a given year receive step and column. Over 200 teachers each year have reached a place on the salary schedule where they don’t get any kind of increase at all. And those that do have earned an increase due to their longevity (meaning commitment) or the fact that they’ve spent THOUSANDS of dollars of their own money on college coursework. Those degrees and semester hours aren’t free. The average cost of a college degree is now $20,000, and a masters’ degree takes $50,000-60,000. It’ll take me 8 years to pay off the cost of my master’s degree, and my increase in salary might then be worth the time and money.
"Add to that the 9% the district has already offered the teachers union and that totals 13%, much more than COLA."
The district has offered us 9% for a two-year period, and expects us to use about 2.5% of it to pay for the increased costs of health benefits. That will net us a whopping 6.5% increase to our salaries.
Compare this to Colton, who recently settled for a 14% increase over three years, PLUS no change to their health benefits. They’re not being asked to pay for their own step and column, or for health benefits increases – no, their board finally realized they needed to come up with a fair settlement. So they did.
Compare this to Banning, who recently settled for 9% for this year and next, on top of 4.2% they got for last year – PLUS an additional 2% added to health benefits to keep them covered. Their total comp package for three years is 15.2%.
Compare this to Riverside, who settled for a 6.6% raise for 2006-07 (fully retro), on top of last year’s 4.23% increase. They also compressed their salary schedule, eliminating the first four columns! One more thing – they increased the rate for buy-backs to $292, while YCJUSD continues to pay a measly $25 an hour.
And we’re supposed to think the district’s offer is fair? You really DO think we’re stupid, don’t you? Why do you even TRY to pretend to respect us? Oh, that’s right. You don’t even pretend.
There you have it. Anyone care to add their own comments?
573 Days Without a Settlement!