FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Issued By: Superintendent Sean McPhetridge (510) 337-7060 and
Board President Solana Henneberry (510) 337-7187
Alameda, Calif. — June 2, 2016 — The Alameda Unified School District and the Alameda Education Association have asked the state Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) to declare an impasse in the two teams’ salary negotiations, the district announced today.
The district and the union have been negotiating various articles in their contract since January. While Tentative Agreements have been reached on numerous articles, "our perspectives on salaries are so far apart that we all agreed we need outside help to come to a mutually beneficial resolution," Superintendent Sean McPhetridge said.
If PERB declares an impasse, the agency will assign a third party mediator to work with the two teams. If they still can't come to agreement, they'll enter into factfinding, in which a panel reviews the arguments and proposals of both sides and then develops a recommended course of action.
By the end of the day on Wednesday, June 1, the AUSD bargaining team made offers that would:
- Provide increases of teacher compensation by 4.6% over the life of a two-year contract
- Expand the ways in which teachers could use sick leave
- Ease the transition to full-day kindergarten programs of value to both students and families
"We were disappointed that this offer was rejected," McPhetridge said, "as we are trying to give as much as we can within our limited resources. Our intention all along has been to work with our AEA colleagues to find an agreement that supports our employees while both protecting AUSD's financial future and serving Alameda families."
AUSD employees have received a 10 percent increase in compensation over the last three years – including last year, when the district increased total compensation to AEA unit members by 5%.
The district’s current budget forecast, however, shows a deficit of $17.5 million by the end of 2018-2019, due in part to:
- Alameda's Measure A parcel tax, which brings $12 million per year to the district, expires in June, 2018. More than 80 percent of those revenues go to teacher salaries.
- State funding to AUSD is less than many surrounding districts, and the state has imposed new restrictions on the funds it does provide.
The Path Forward
The district hopes to place a renewal of the Measure A parcel tax on the ballot in November of this year. But the district can't create state-mandated budget forecasts based on hoped-for funds. Instead, districts are required to provide detailed evidence that they will be able to cover their expenses in the current year plus the next two years. Districts that can't do that risk being taken over by the state.
"As much as we wish we could provide larger raises to our teachers, we can’t risk going far into the red by doing so," McPhetridge said. "In the long run, that would negatively affect our students, our programs, and our staff. Indeed, AUSD and AEA discussed at the table how to work together to find a long-term solution that could bring AUSD teachers closer to the median salary in the county.
"While I am saddened that we have reached an impasse, I have a deep faith in the process and the people leading it," he continued. "When two sides can't agree, the best way to move forward often is to have a neutral expert come in, analyze the data, and help find common ground. I remain optimistic that we can find compromise and reconciliation if we keep talking."
Alameda Unified School District serves more than 9600 students in Alameda, California., an island community in the San Francisco Bay Area. For more information, please visit the AUSD website, follow @AUSDNews on Twitter, or subscribe to our email communications. Questions? Contact Susan Davis, Senior Manager, Community Affairs, at email@example.com.