District office wages war on teachers in email sent home to parents and students

The+September+2+email+reached+Pleasanton+students+and+staff%2C+discussing+the+current+status+of+teacher+contract+negotiations+with+the+district.

Pleasanton Unified School Disctrict

The September 2 email reached Pleasanton students and staff, discussing the current status of teacher contract negotiations with the district.

Elyssa Lieu, AVT Editor-in-Chief

On September 2, the Pleasanton Unified School District (PUSD) sent an update email to students and teachers which started with their opinion about the current negotiations between the Association of Pleasanton Teachers (APT) and Pleasanton Unified.

“It seemed like the district office declared war on the teachers. The email made it out like teachers weren’t happy with just a 5% raise, but from what I understand the teachers were only being given a 2% raise, so the email was a little confusing,” said one Foothill High School parent.

In the email, the district stated that “on August 17, [they] offered a two year compensation package (2020-2022) equivalent to a 5% increase to the Association of Pleasanton Teachers.” 

“I think what was most frustrating was that we weren’t offered 5%, and that’s what the email insinuated. I’m a teacher with over 20 years experience, and I would see 2%, not a 5% raise,” said one Amador Valley teacher

In 2021, CA Assembly Bill 130 authorized the state to give schools a 5.07% Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) which is an increase to the school funding the districts receive form the state. This increase in money given to the districts is expected to be spent on school expenses. Even though teacher salaries take up a majority of district costs, the district does not legally have to give the 5.07% increase  to the their teachers. They are allowed to use the extra money on other expenses.

“This still-being-negotiated contract has already increased the work hours for many teachers beyond what is legally in the current collective bargaining agreement due to new bell schedules ALREADY IN PLACE at school sites that should have, by law, been negotiated with APT BEFORE being implemented … Pleasanton teachers, like any professionals, do want reasonable compensation for their work, but are also fighting for meaningful changes that benefit students, such as smaller class sizes and better support programs,” commented one user on the Pleasanton Weekly’s recent article.

Part of the outrage stems from PUSD’s own contract renewal last June. The altered three-year instead of four-year contract from 2022 to 2025 stipulates full medical coverage for superintendents and their families/spouses, plus a 3.5%* wage increase per year. In contrast, teachers must pay for medical insurance out of their own pockets. 

 PUSD’s email also doesn’t mention any insurance provisions when stating their contract offerings. Instead, it concentrates on the offered 3.5% increase to step and column, which also does not apply to any teacher in the district with over 11 years of experience.

Currently, the negotiations are at an impasse.  The Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) defines impasse as “a point at which the parties’ differences remain so substantial and prolonged that further meeting and conferring would be futile.” Moving forward, a mediator from PERB will be present at the meetings to work on bringing the APT and PUSD closer together. 

The teachers we spoke to said they did not want to be quoted publicly, but many said that the district email added to an already-rough start back to school with longer schedules, mask mandates, and packed classrooms to deal with.

I think what was most frustrating was that we weren’t offered 5%, and that’s what the email insinuated. I’m a teacher with over 20 years experience, and I would see 2%, not a 5% raise,”

— one Amador Valley teacher

Since the email’s release on September 2, the two meetings on September 6 and September 14 which have taken place since then both proved unsuccessful at reconciling the two parties, but future meetings continue to be in the works.

*Note: All figures are pulled from the information PUSD sent out and do not have an independent authority’s confirmation of their accuracy.