In early November the teachers union and the SFUSD reached a tentative agreement on a new contract, after negotiating since January. The contract will pay teachers a gradual increase of 16% over the next 3 years.
The contract states that in 2017-2018, teachers will receive a 3% raise along with a 2% bonus. The following year, they will be receiving a 4% raise, a 1% bonus, and a 2% salary add on. Finally, from 2019-2020, they get another 4% raise.
The deal was finally done because, according to the teachers, they have been unsatisfied with their contracts for years, and demanded higher pay to afford living in San Francisco. After numerous meeting sessions throughout the year, each lasting 8-10 hours, the bargaining team’s request to get higher pay got nowhere; the teachers were prepared to go on strike. After the district realized that the teachers’ union was ready to form a strike, they requested one more meeting last month and were able to make a deal with the teachers.
While many teachers at Galileo are not completely satisfied with the new deal, they do believe it was as good as they were going to get. Math teacher, Mr. Miller says, “I signed ‘yes’ but I’m split. It’s not a perfect deal but it’s a fair deal, however I understand why some might reject it.”
Social Studies teacher, Mr Jung, had a similar opinion, saying “I voted yes, but there’s always room for compensation. Given the current climate, this will have to do. This isn’t the best we can do right now, but it’s close to the best.
Mr. Seligson, who is the union building representative at Galileo, said, “It’s a good start. Due to the costs of the city and the fact that San Francisco teachers are not nearly as well paid as other teachers, we’re still unsatisfied with where we’re at. It definitely has the potential to be better.”
Other teachers at Galileo were indifferent to the new deal, as they felt it was not a big change, “It doesn’t really make a difference as we still get paid less than other school districts around the bay. It isn’t enough, especially for new teachers and those who live in San Francisco, but it’s okay. The plan helps me save a little bit more money for another child,” says Mr. Stone, a math teacher here at Galileo.
Other teachers though were unpleased, believing that the new deal was simply not enough to sustain teachers living in San Francisco. Physics teacher, Mr. Barrios, “No one is happy with it but it’s the best we’ll get right now. The district could double our salaries and we would still have a hard time living in San Francisco,” he stated.