On SDEA Salary Rollback

Dear Colleagues,

By now, some of you have attended the cluster meetings regarding the proposed salary rollback. As some of you have observed, the purpose of these meetings is to sway/scare/bamboozle us into supporting a salary rollback or be faced with SDEA’s only other proposed option: “toe the line.”

The SDEA presenters told us they wanted input. However, when any of us mentioned furlough days, cutting over-priced District programs like Data Director and/or eliminating or reducing contracts with the various District vendors (Office Depot, etc), our suggestions fell on deaf ears. In other words, the SDEA leadership and bargaining team have already decided what is best for us.

Before we decide to vote and give away our salary to the District, we need to do some fact checks.

Fact check #1: SDEA leadership stated that UTLA (United Teachers Los Angeles) set a precedent by agreeing to reduce their salary schedule as a “loan” to LAUSD. As a former UTLA member and LAUSD teacher, I can tell you that for the three years prior to the “loan year” the LAUSD teachers had received double digit pay increases. Obviously, this is not even close to our situation.

Fact check #2: SDEA leadership stated that other San Diego County Districts have negotiated a reduction in salary. The fact is that the average salary reduction for county districts is a little over 1%!!! If this is true, then why are SDCS teachers being asked to accept an 8% salary reduction?

Fact check #3: SDEA leadership contends that we need every teacher to stay in place. However, at the beginning of the 2009 academic year, there were 122 excess teachers that needed to be placed. Even so, the District hired new teachers!! The District also created one-year positions (with the one-year stimulus money) for a number of these excess teachers. In addition, the District offered, at the cost of $12 million, college-credit courses for teachers wanting to obtain new positions in the District. How can we justify such excess in this time of fiscal crisis?? More importantly, how can we be asked to continue funding such excesses with our salaries???

Fact check #4: SDEA leadership states that furlough days are not an option. However, if we are being asked to reduce our salary, why can we not at least be compensated with a reduced number of workdays? In future contract negotiations, reinstating the number of workdays will be much easier and a more obtainable objective than wishing and hoping for a payback from the District.

Fact check #5: SDEA purports that the public will look unfavorably upon teachers if we don’t do “our fair share.” What exactly is fair about reducing the salaries of the lowest-paid teachers in the county?? The public is aware of SDCS’ operating budget excesses, and the responsibility of the District’s school board in helping to create the budget crisis we currently face. The public does not see this budget crisis as the fault of hard-working, underpaid classroom teachers. Don’t let SDEA leadership tell you otherwise!

We need to press SDEA leadership and the bargaining team to be open to ALL options (furlough days, reduction in vendor contracts, freezing step and yearly advances, enforcing the hiring freeze, and layoffs) instead of giving us only the “float the loan” or “toe the line” options.

One last thought: Since we are discussing reductions, how about adding this option: Reduce our $98 SDEA dues by $20 (SDEA’s overdue rebate promise), and then reduce our monthly SDEA dues by another 8%? Why should SDEA leadership continue to prosper with their non-reduced salaries and non-reduced operating budget when all the rest of us have to “do our fair share”??