Teacher union, district at odds over pay hike 

After five months of fruitless negotiations, a San Mateo school district and its teachers’ association are still butting heads over a 15 percent pay increase the district says would lead to cuts in other areas.

The San Mateo-Foster City School District has not had a working contract for nearly 10 months. To bring the district to a "competitive" pay level, San Mateo Elementary Teacher’s Association President Carol Delgado and the union propose a more than 15 percent increase, including health benefits for families of district employees.

While Delgado said she is optimistic about meeting with district negotiators Monday, district spokeswoman Joan Rosas said the union proposal will slash funding for services.

In a statement on its Web site, the district says 15 percent would cost an additional $9.5 million annually, forcing them to cut almost $3 million in services this year and $9 million in each additional year of the contract.

Delgado contends that the school district is keeping more than the necessary 3 percent of revenues in reserve, when it should be distributed out to teachers. Rosas said the current surplus of almost $7 million would be distributed under the district’s proposed contract.

The district is proposing a three-year contract with at least 4 percent increases each year. Its proposal also includes a one-time 2 percent increase this year, 1 percent to cover increases to individual health and dental coverage plans and 0.5 percent for teachers with special training or those who work in Program Improvement schools.

If the two parties can reach an agreement, the contract would be retroactive to last July, when a contract should have been signed.

Without a higher paying contract, Delgado said the district could again lose teachers this year, after having lost approximately 175 in the last two years.

According to a list published by the California Teacher’s Association, new San Mateo elementary teachers make just under $40,000 annually, a ranking of 21 on the list of schools in San Mateo and San Francisco Counties.

jgoldman@examiner.com

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