In an article titled "Teachers Union Reacts to Pasadena Unified “Final” Contract Offer," here is how the news site Pasadena Now describes the possibilities of some real "taking it to the streets" style labor action happening at Sierra Madre's taxpayer funded public schools (link).
A representative of United Teachers of Pasadena (UTP) reacted angrily Tuesday to the latest contract offer presented to teachers by Superintendent Brian McDonald of the Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD). The offer was sent to union members by email late Friday night, and then sent as an op-ed article to local media Monday and Tuesday.
The district and the teachers’ union have been at odds since 2014 and there has been little or no movement towards a settlement since then.
Emphasizing that “It is not business as usual in PUSD,” McDonald wrote, “This is a time of intentional change requiring full participation at all staff levels.”
McDonald’s proposal to UTP provides an ongoing 5 percent salary increase effective July 2016. The offer “also calls for a 3 percent salary increase of UTP bargaining unit salary schedules retroactive to July 1, 2015, and a 2 percent salary increase effective July 2016 for the next school year, according to McDonald.
“Based on funding from the state to be announced by the Governor in May 2016, teachers may also receive up to an additional 1.6 percent raise, bringing the total compensation up to 6.6 percent ongoing,” the Superintendent wrote.
McDonald added, “A majority (58 percent) of our teachers earn an average of $107,233 in total compensation, including salary, district-paid health care benefits, and district-paid retirement contributions. The annual salary of these senior teachers is $85,450, the average district cost per teacher for health care is $12,614, and the district-paid retirement contribution for that salary level is $9,169.
That $107,233 in total yearly compensation figure might seem like a lot to those working in the private sector, and most can only dream of making that much dough. However, we are talking government here, so any standards set in the marketplace obviously do not apply.
The article concludes with this only thinly veiled threat of a strike.
Wouldn't that be interesting? And just in case you are wondering how the PUSD teachers at Sierra Madre Elementary School are feeling about all of this, the answer is they appear ready and eager to hit the picket lines, and soon. This following letter also comes from Pasadena Now (link):
Anybody recognize the name of your kid's teacher here?
That bit about being able to "live in a community that we work in" does tug at the heart strings a little. Who doesn't want to call this town home? Plus that threat of quitting on the kids of Sierra Madre and taking their incomparable educational skills elsewhere will certainly send shockwaves through this entire community.
Well, OK. That might be a bit of an exaggeration.
That threat might not be based on monetary reality, either. If you compare the compensation figures discussed above by PUSD Superintendent McDonald with the median income figures of Sierra Madre, the numbers are not really out of line. Here are Sierra Madre median income figures, as supplied by the Los Angeles Times (link).
Based on those numbers I'd say that $107,000 in total compensation the PUSD offers many of its teachers looks pretty good right now.
More news on this story as it develops.