Question: How do teacher salary increases compare to administrative salary increases?
Response: On the whole, management has received a smaller percentage increase to salary when compared to teacher salary increases since the current administration has been in place. For instance, in 2016-2017, the District provided a 6% salary increase to teachers and classified staff; however, management received differentiated salary increases--some groups received a 3% salary increase while others received a 6% increase--depending on the median total compensation for the employee group.
In 2017-2018, teachers received both an “on-schedule” salary increase of 2% and an “off-schedule” payment of 1%. Management received only the equivalent on schedule increase of 2% and did not receive any off schedule payments.
Question: Why don't CUHSD salaries keep pace with other high school districts in the area?
Response: Salaries are determined by the amount of money we have coming in the door and the expenses we are obligated to pay. Due to California school funding, we can no longer compare ourselves with our neighboring districts. District revenues are dramatically different. Although we are a “community supported” district (we receive funding through property tax revenue), CUHSD revenue is the lowest of all community supported districts. We receive $13,500 per student per year while Palo Alto Unified receives $19,300 per student per year. These two districts are in radically different revenue situations and therefore have radically different salary schedules.
Question: Fremont Union High School District (FUHSD) and CUSHD receive relatively similar revenue, but FUHSD outpaces CUHSD in salary. Why?
Response: There are a number of reasons for this:
- First, FUHSD has a lower “unduplicated count”--which means they have fewer students with higher need. Because CUHSD has a larger unduplicated pupil count, we must set aside more of our general fund to improve outcomes for specific students.
- In addition, CUHSD has experienced faster student growth in recent years, but without receiving more income per student. We have had to hire more teachers, hire more classified staff, purchase more materials and books, but the budget hasn’t increased to accommodate the additional costs associated with student growth.
- FUHSD also uses a Revenue Sharing Protocol which dictates salary increases based on revenue and expenses. FUHSD does not negotiate raises with any employee groups.
- Finally, CUHSD provides a more robust benefits package to teachers than FUHSD and is the only district in the county to offer a “floating cap”. Health and welfare are incredibly important to our employees and we offer multiple plans for the employee and the family at no cost to the employee.
Question: Why can’t the District’s $20 million dollar fund balance be used for teacher salaries?
Response: Any increase in teacher salaries must come from ongoing revenue since it is an ongoing cost. The purpose of the reserve is to pay for emergency or one-time costs. Using reserves to increase teacher salaries would be the same as paying a mortgage with an emergency savings account. Eventually, the emergency savings account would run dry and you would be unable to pay for your home.
Question: How is the District helping teachers who are struggling to keep up with the cost of living in the area?
Response: The District values teachers who are the heart of what we do, educating and supporting our students. Despite the fiscal challenges, the District is looking at all options to make sure they continue to see salary increases, as we live in a region that has topped the charts for housing costs. CUHSD is also doing everything possible to secure jobs by identifying additional revenue sources, such as the land use initiative For the Kids. The District has also connected with the Landed to provide support to employees looking to buy a home.