Berkeley teachers, district agree on 2.5% wage increase

Berkeley teachers protest

Members of Berkeley Federation of Teachers protested outside Old City Hall on May 8 over contract negotiations. Photo: Tracey Taylor

The Berkeley Unified School District and the Berkeley Federation of Teachers have agreed to a retroactive across-the-board 2.5% wage increase and reached consensus on other contract negotiations for 2012-2013.

All wages, including salaries, stipends, daily rates and hourly rates for BFT members will be adjusted to reflect a 2.5% increase, effective July 1, 2012, the district announced in a statement released last night.

Teachers will also receive an additional one-time payment equal to 2.5% of his/her 2012-2013 salary. The district contribution to health and welfare benefits remains unchanged.  This is in addition to the 1% bonus negotiated for all employees in the fall of 2012.

School psychologists and providers of designated instructional services, with the exception of speech and language pathologists, will be assigned on a district-wide basis.

The agreement comes after many months of negotiations and several bumps in the road. An inability to reach consensus prompted protest rallies and emotional public testimony from BFT teachers to the BUSD Board on several occasions.

The teachers’ contract expired in June 2012, but that contract was just an extension of the July 2008 agreement, which was intended to last two years. Both the teachers union and the BUSD agreed to extensions with no salary increases during the worst of the economic recession.

Earlier this year, BFT proposed a one-time 10% bonus, paid from part of the BUSD’s $8.7 million ending fund balance. BUSD rejected that proposal, and offered a 1% raise for 2013-14.  In response, BFT proposed an increase of 5.2% of current salaries, retroactive to last July.

In March Campbell said negotiations were “not going smoothly” and teachers wanted to explain the situation “before we turn to more high stakes actions (such as ‘working to rule’), which hopefully we will not have to do.”

In the statement issued yesterday addressing the new agreement, BUSD Co-Superintendent Javetta Cleveland said: “Our teachers are an integral part of our ability to move our vision forward to ensure that all students achieve at the highest level. During the toughest economic times, we worked closely together to ensure that the District stayed solvent.  This agreement clearly demonstrates that we value our partnership.  We hope to successfully finalize negotiations with our other unions in the near future.”

Cathy Campbell, BFT President, said: “This agreement provides a small raise while keeping our district within its means and putting the needs of students front and center. The agreement provides some relief to the hard working employees who serve our students and families every day.”

And BUSD Board President Karen Hemphill said: “I am glad that we are in better economic times and are able to reach an agreement that shows our appreciation for the work that our teachers do every day to help our students succeed.”

The agreement is subject to ratification by the BFT and approval by the BUSD Board of Education. Negotiations for the next contract will begin in October.

Berkeley teachers’ bonus plan rebuffed by district (03.07.13)
Portraits: Berkeley school gardening and cooking educators (05.29.13)
Berkeley appoints Donald Evans as new Schools Superintendent (05.22.13)

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  • guest

    “before we turn to more high stakes actions (such as ‘working to rule’)…”

    Never happen. None of the teachers I’m familiar with would consider putting in more hours.

  • Bill N

    In the 16 years we had kids in Berkeley schools only one ever left at the end of school and she was a disaster in more ways than one.

  • guest

    Is it right to talk about your kids that way?

  • Hildah

    And that is the school’s fault? Need to take some responsibility too.

  • bgal4

    Hildah and guest, I am pretty sure Bill was talking about teachers working after the final bell, working after the kids left.

  • Hildah

    Thank you bgal, you may be correct. Hard to tell with his comment.

  • guest

    In a contest between a few amateurs and a large group of professionals, who usually wins?

    That’s the school board negotiating with the teacher’s union: civilian representatives vs. a labor union There was no huge sacrifice by labor. They accepted the best package they could get at this time, leaving the vast majority of their very sweet deal intact.

    But education in Berkeley is unlikely improve until the public accepts the fundamental reality that teachers are not ‘education’, anymore than lawyers are ‘justice’ or doctors are ‘health’.

    They’ve been able to sustain that charade by, a) avoiding any meaningful measure of their effectiveness. b) taking advantage of the long interval between a teacher’s poor performance and their students’ failure to progress.

    Because we leave our most precious children in their care, we desperately want to believe they’re all uniformly committed, talented and fair minded. If some one said that about lawyers or doctors, you’d laugh your head off. Teachers are like every other labor force, some are good, some are bad and most are average.

    If you’re unhappy with what you see, or hear from your kids, about about priorities and results in Berkeley schools, then realize nothing happens at BUSD without the teachers union’s approval.

    Will Dr. Evans bring change? Or was he chosen specifically for his ability to ‘just get along’?