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Portola Valley district approves teacher pay increases

 

Portola Valley School District teachers and other certificated staff are getting pay hikes, including the potential for a bonus and a boost to overtime pay, as part of a new three-year contract approved by the school board.

The district's school board unanimously approved a new contract agreement with members of the district's teachers union, the Portola Valley Teachers Association, during a Nov. 20 meeting. The contract is retroactive to July 1, and ends on June 30, 2022. The union's previous contract ran from July 1, 2016, through June 30 of this year.

District teachers, unlike educators in nearby districts, receive raises based on their performance, advanced training, and their students' performance, and not on the number of years they have been in the district, according to a system established in 2013. The new contract establishes a $1,500 bonus for teachers who receive a positive annual evaluation. Under the previous agreement, teachers received a 1% raise for a positive evaluation.

New hires are not eligible for the performance pay program for their first two years, but will continue to receive salary step increases until they are approved as permanent employees. New certificated employees will receive a 0.39% pay increase during the 2019-20 school year, a 0.78% increase in 2020-21 and a 0.71% increase in 2021-22, according to the district.

"Bargaining is bargaining," said John Davenport, president of the teachers union. "You never get everything you want, but have to be able to live with what you get. This was the best deal we were going to get. Although I am not jumping up and down, this is something I could endorse."

The district will maintain its $1,000 annual compensation increase that's tied to student achievement and a 2.4% annual salary increase for completing professional development.

Davenport said the negotiations were made more difficult by the fact that former superintendent Eric Hartwig left the district and a new superintendent took over the process. Davenport said that, by no fault of her own, current Superintendent Roberta Zarea didn't know where the negotiations stood when she joined the district.

Zarea said the district's goal has been to maintain the exceptional educational experience it offers students by coming to an agreement that balanced the interests of teachers and the district's fiscal health.

"I believe we have an agreement that both parties can be happy with, and will enhance our ability to attract and retain quality educators to our district," Zarea said in an email. "I want to thank the Portola Valley Teachers' Association for their efforts in working through this process together. This three-year agreement invests in educators and the future of our community."

Teachers will make $130,782 on average during the 2019-20 school year, which includes stipends for advanced degrees and overtime, according to the district. Overtime pay for teachers will increase from $50 per hour to $55 per hour on July 1 of next year, and to $60 per hour on July 1, 2021, according to the contract.

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