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April 07, 2004

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Publication Date: Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Teachers, district reach salary deal Teachers, district reach salary deal (April 07, 2004)

** Pay will rise 4 percent this year, 2 percent in 2004-05.

By Marjorie Mader
Almanac Staff Writer

Teachers and other employees in the Menlo Park City School District are taking home a bigger paycheck as of March 31. A new contract, ratified March 11, increases the teacher salary schedule by 4 percent in this school year (2003-04) and by 2 percent in 2004-05.

Similar increases were part of the ratified collective bargaining agreement with the classified employee group, which includes school secretaries, clerks, aides and maintenance workers. Members of the administrative staff -- principals, vice-principals and counselors -- will receive the same salary increases as the teachers.

The total cost to the district of the salary and benefits increases for all employees (excluding the superintendent) for the current year were estimated as $650,000 by Diane Head, the district's chief business official. Funds will come from the district's general fund.

Trustee Laura Rich complimented the negotiating teams at the March 11 board meeting for their diligent work, noting they "covered a lot of ground" and showed "respect for both sides."

Under the two-year contract, the district increases its contribution to the teachers' health and welfare benefits package by 11.6 percent, or $37.76 per teacher per month.

The district's combined cost for the increases in teacher salary and benefits was estimated at $447,823 for the current year and $354,472 for next year. The average teacher salary, after the 4-percent increase and based on 136 teachers in the district, is $70,529 a year.

The new agreement creates a separate salary schedule for 2004-05 that adds three days for teacher training or staff development to be paid at a per-diem rate. This change increases the work year from 186 to 189 days.

New teachers will automatically be added to the new salary schedule in 2004-05. Members of the teachers association who continue to choose the old salary schedule will able to move to the new schedule, with the three additional days, in the future, according to the agreement.

The projected cost to the district of the three additional days is about 1.5 percent of the certificated salary cost or about $153,350 a year. The money will come from parcel tax dollars, targeted for teacher training.

For next school year, the contract spells out a different approach to the six minimum days for parent conferences when students are dismissed early. The district will provide "supplemental instructional services" to students on conference days.

Parents who have students in both the Sequoia Union High School District and the Menlo Park district can breathe a sigh of relief. The 2004-05 school calendar corresponds with the high school district's. For students, school will start August 30 and end June 16.

Other changes include guaranteeing one hour of aide time for each kindergarten class, to be allocated by Laurel and Oak Knoll schools, and clarifying preparation time at 180 minutes per week for teachers in grades 4 and 5 at Encinal and Oak Knoll. Other contract provisions increase the frequency of teacher evaluations, update the grievance process, and provide new procedures to cover "due process for teachers" and discipline.

Teachers on the negotiating team were Judy Fairbrother, Lynne Bollen, Joan Woodward, Mark Schaak and Bill Quarre.

The new contract with the classified employees is for three years, extending from July 1, 2004, to June 30, 2007. It provides a retroactive 4.6 salary increase for 2003-04 and a 2 percent increase for 2004-05, but no increase in the benefits package. The initial cost to the district of the raise is $94,560 a year, which will come from general and parcel tax funds.

Serving on the classified employees' negotiating team were Julie Wyreman, Sandy Walsh, Lois Nissman and Pam Bonino.

E-mail Marjorie Mader at

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