The teachers union and school district reached a tentative agreement March 28 that raises salaries and lowers out-of-pocket health care expenses, according to the Gilroy Teachers Association.
The agreement was approved by the union on March 30, and will head to the Gilroy Unified School District Board of Education for consideration at an upcoming meeting.
Both sides have been negotiating for six months, and declared an impasse in contract negotiations Feb. 11, requesting mediation from the Public Employment Relations Board. They met with the mediator on Feb. 28 and March 14.
According to a letter by the Gilroy Teachers Association, the mediator “misrepresented key information to both us and the District,” and both parties met without the mediator to reach the tentative agreement for this school year.
According to the tentative agreement, the teachers would receive a 7.25% salary increase that is retroactive to July 1. That is above the district’s offer of a 5% increase, which Superintendent Deborah Flores reported in a March 16 update to staff.
Out-of-pocket costs for health benefits will also see a drop should the agreement be ratified.
According to Flores, the district has given teachers more than 25% in salary increases between 2013-2021, making wages comparable to other districts within Santa Clara County.
For the 2020-21 school year, GUSD’s teacher salaries ranged from $56,138-$105,058, according to the California Department of Education. By comparison, salaries of nearby local school districts ranged from $50,809-$108,761 for Morgan Hill Unified, $57,426-$106,998 for San Jose Unified and $61,991-$125,613 for East Side Union High School District.
During a March meeting of the Board of Education, Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Alvaro Meza said the district’s enrollment has fallen from 11,135 in 2019-20 to 10,624 in the current school year. The district receives funding from the state based on its average enrollment.
Pension costs, meanwhile, are expected to increase by $2 million next year, according to Meza.
As such, the district will be deficit spending this year and next.
Teachers have pointed to the district’s 20% unrestricted reserve, saying it has continued to grow but is not benefiting the classroom.