The Gilroy Unified School District Board of Education approved an agreement Nov. 9 with the teachers’ union that increases salaries and lowers class sizes in some grades.
The tentative agreement between the district and Gilroy Teachers Association was reached on Oct. 25 after nearly a year of negotiations where both sides reached an impasse, and required an all-day meeting with a state-appointed factfinder.
According to the agreement, which was ratified earlier by the union, teachers will receive a 10.5% salary increase retroactive to July 1, 2022. A 2.5% salary increase will be retroactive to July 1, 2023, along with a one-time 4% payment.
From the 2024-25 school year through 2026-27, staffing ratios will be lowered in grades 1 through 3.
Among other things, the agreement also includes an increase in the district’s contributions for health insurance.
Janet Lee, lead negotiator with the Gilroy Teachers Association, thanked the district staff and board for their actions.
“This agreement is a big step not only for our current students and educators, but our future educators and students as well,” she said.
Caitlin Madolora, president of the union, said the teachers were heard through numerous public comments, rallies and social media posts.
“This tentative agreement represents progress not only for our membership, but for our students who will benefit from schools staffed by qualified educators, from smaller class sizes and from access to academic coordinators to support their academic progress and wellness,” she said.
Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Alvaro Meza said the cumulative price of the new agreement through 2025-26 will cost the district about $20.2 million.
Trustee Michelle Nelson said she was happy to see both sides come to an agreement, but said the negotiations “took way too long.”
“Unfortunately it seems to be the rule rather than the exception that negotiations break down and we go to impasse and have a mediator come in,” she said, citing her decades of experience with the Gilroy Teachers Association. “I’m hoping we can change this dynamic and work on cooperation and heal some of the wounds and talk to each other.”
The agreement can be found at tinyurl.com/243c4dd4.