Gilroy teachers reach tentative, 2-year salary pact

Gilroy teachers have reached tentative contract agreement for an 8.5 percent pay hike over two years.
The proposal requires rank and file ratification and includes a one-time, 2 percent bonus.
A ratification vote is not expected till a February 25 union meeting. If approved by the rank and file, the deal could be put to a school board vote in early March.
Board approval would immediately hike teachers’ regular pay by 5.5 percent and add 3 percent next school year.
Gilroy Teachers Association President Brian LoBue Friday called it “probably the best” deal teachers could expect.
The agreement is a far cry from the district’s initial offer of 2.2 percent and subsequent stand at 3.5 percent, LoBue said. He also voiced pleasure at reaching a multi-year agreement.
The previous contract expired in June 2014 and talks on a new salary schedule had reached near impasse.
Gilroy Unified School District Superintendent Debbie Flores said negotiators reached tentative agreement Thursday night.
The proposed pact includes a stipend of $3,500 for new teachers, while they work to clear teaching credentials, and contract language aimed at achieving classroom sizes over the next three years of 24 students in grades K-3, according to Flores.
She said that combined with the 4.5 percent hike in 2013-14, the proposed settlement would mean a total salary increase over three years ending in 2016 of 13 percent and total one-time bonuses of 3 percent for “common core implementation.”
LoBue took exception that calculation.
“It’s a little disingenuous,” he said, noting the proposed 2014-15 increase is retroactive only to Dec. 1014, leaving a gap between the hike and expiration of the last contract. The tentative settlement, if approved, would bring the three-year total to slightly below 13 percent, he said.
Still, he said, “I am really proud of the (bargaining) unit for stepping in and really putting the pressure on.”  
Teacher salaries in Gilroy, however, remain “abysmal,” he said, compared to other districts.
LoBue had previously citied figures showing that in all salary categories and for health benefits Gilroy teachers are at the bottom of the rankings among Santa Clara County’s 32 school districts.
District officials say they are lower in Gilroy because district revenues are below those of other districts.
The district also has been trying to build up its reserves, and claimed that effort limited how much teacher salaries could rise.
The district negotiates health benefits separately with its trio of bargaining units, including the GTA. Those talks are pending.
LoBue had previously vowed that if salary talks dragged on, the GTA would picket a March 28 job fair as district officials tried to attract new teachers, and said Friday that plans also were in place to picket outside a Gilroy grocery chain. 

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