You compare: teacher compensation in 15 Bay Area districts

UPDATE: Ed-Data has since come out with its 2008-09 salary figures; I’ve added them to this updated spreadsheet


If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably no stranger to the Ed-Data Web site, a rich source of information about schools.

Some of you have already used the site to show how Oakland’s teacher compensation falls short, but here is a spreadsheet I compiled that compares low, high and average salaries in Oakland Unified and 14 nearby districts, based on 2007-08 data (the most recent available), as well as teacher experience in each district.

The first sheet lists the districts alphabetically, and the second one sorts them in descending order by average salary. I’ll bet you’ll never guess where Oakland falls!

You should note (in Column E) that some districts add their health benefit contributions to the base salary amount — maybe to make their salary schedules look more competitive. Not surprisingly, those districts rise to the top of the salary comparison chart.

Want some current information for Oakland teacher compensation? Here it is, as of October 2009, from OUSD:

AVERAGE BASE SALARY: $53,794 (about $364 less than the average 2007-08 base salary)



Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • Nextset

    Interesting, but not particularly alarming. I’d say the Oakland teachers haven’t done badly for themselves.

    You are going to soon see very real pay cuts.

  • Max Allstadt

    So if according to this spreadsheet, Oakland’s teachers have the among lowest the average base pay, I have two questions:

    Why didn’t you include the ranking in this post?

    Where did all of OUSD’s money go?

  • Katy Murphy

    Oakland teachers have the lowest base pay, if you only look at the salary column on the spreadsheet. I didn’t rank the districts’ compensation based on this data because the health benefits vary, even within districts, and some districts lump their health benefit contributions into the base pay, making it look higher.

    Your second question is pretty broad, but off the top of my head: The district’s debt payment to the state — at least $4 million a year — and its low (and, apparently, declining) attendance rates and its enrollment slide since 2001 have definitely hurt its bottom line. OUSD has also created and maintained lots of small schools, and its class-size average of 25 (21 for elementary schools, 26 for middle and high schools) is the fifth lowest of 74 California school districts that have 20,000 students or more, according to a presentation Oakland’s CFO gave last year.

    Also of note: The county superintendent told the school board in a letter that the district hadn’t spent enough of its budget on “classroom” expenses last year, which Tony Smith recently acknowledged and said he would rectify. He said he aimed to make two-thirds of the upcoming budget cuts to central office services. We’ll see if he does.

  • Gordon Danning

    Is it possible to adjust the total compensation for contractual maximum class size? (Not average class size, because the data I have seen never seems very realistic). I understand that might be a pain, but some districts increase average salaries by increasing class sizes, which is good for teachers (I guess) but not so good for students

  • Teacher

    Max: If Katy were to rank the school districts by the IMPROVEMENT their students have made on the tests (instead of on high or good test scores that have always been high or good), Oakland would be on top and, I presume, pay its teachers the most of the Bay Area. Pleasanton, Piedmont, Orinda, etc., on the other hand, might need to cut teacher pay.

  • Cranky Teacher

    Unconnected thoughts:

    — As I mentioned on the other thread and Katy references here, the district is mandated to spend AT LEAST 55% on teachers and aides but currently is only spending 45%. What I don’t understand is how they can get away with it.

    — At the OEA meeting last night, several numbers for monies that could be redirected were put up, including the $5 million in outside consultants for professional development and $5 million for outside consultants related to testing. They also noted that the district paid $1 million in fines for being out of compliance with ed code, and that two-thirds of the current debt was run up under the state oversight administration and should, arguably, be forgiven.

    — The problem with health benefits is … they really only benefit you when you are extremely ill. They are catastrophic INSURANCE, not something you can use to pay the rent. For those of us under 50, health benefits rarely are much use except to cut those fat dental bills by 50%. When districts recruit, they push the benefits into the total . . . but whatever Health Net or Kaiser are squeezing from OUSD, I’m still paying half my gross each month to rent a two-bedroom in west Oakland as a parent with less than five years of seniority.

    — Interesting that three cities on this list with the highest housing costs have three of the lowest starting and top-bracket salaries: Berkeley, Oakland and San Francisco. Also, bastions of liberalism!?!?

    — I don’t buy these “new teacher” stats at all. That the extremely stable Albany district has 38% 1st and 2nd year teachers seems completely unlikely. Also, 7.5% seems very low for San Francisco.

    — Income that is OK for a 24-year-old without kids is often not OK for a single parent, or a co-parent with multiple kids. Urban districts recruit professionals like me from other fields, but the rigid pay structure means we start at the bottom regardless of employment history or learned skills (we only get credit for extra degrees). One result is that many great teachers move on once they have kids of their own, much like the old schoolmarms of the 19th century.

    — Not sure of the current numbers, but another place cash in OUSD goes to has traditionally been a Special Ed programs, once perceived as a strength of the district. Security has also tended to be a greater expense compared to other districts, which I think the city should cover.

  • district employee

    I noticed that Pleasanton, Dublin, Hayward, and San Leandro (the top four on the list ordered by compensation) all include health benefits in the base salary amount. If you combine Oakland lowest salary and lowest average district-paid benefits, OUSD jumps up the list a little bit, I think.

  • Cranky Teacher

    @district employee:

    I can’t tell from the Excel spreadsheet alone if you are right, but I would point out that the cost of living in those four cities is significantly lower than in Oakland.

  • Max Allstadt

    My concern is that because the Union is being inflexible about it’s demand for raises, the only other solution will be job cuts and increases in class size.

    This is particularly worrisome to me because I have friends who are young teachers. Most unions have rules which require layoffs to be based on seniority. So that means my friends get the sack. It also means that layoffs are particularly inefficient, because you have to layoff two 25-year-olds in order to get the savings of laying off one veteran.

    Worse, the union is likely completely inflexible about tying pay raises to performance evaluations or other non-seniority metrics. It makes the profession a club, and doesn’t incentivize innovation.

    The young, energetic, unjaded, selfless teachers I know will find themselves out of work, and meanwhile someone who may have been boring kids to sleep will keep her job, simply because she’s been boring kids to sleep for 25 years.

    Thats not to say that there are no competent veterans or incompetent rookies. But it is important that the school board make some attempt to use performance as a factor in layoffs. Kids deserve the best they can get.

  • Thinking

    In terms of class size reduction.

    Did anyone attend the union meeting last night? I did and wasn’t surprised when reading the comments above that there are misconceptions.

    We’re fighting for a new contract that says:

    No general elem classroom should have more then 24 students

    Sped classrooms should have no more then 12

    Nurses should have no caseload higher then 3000 (May be off (~500)

    Counselors no load higher then 750 (may be off ~150)


    Nextset: We took a pay cut and never redeemed it back. We don’t have ANY cost of living increases. It’s not fair for teachers to give 100% of our energy, and work so hard for a such crappy pay and benefits.

  • Oakland Teacher

    Re Posting #9

    On some level, the district is already promoting a system that has layoffs built into it: it is called TFA, OTF, etc… The revolving door they have created when people leave after 2 years keeps a large percentage of teachers at the very bottom of the salary schedule. These young/new teachers VOLUNTARILY leave at a much much higher rate than veterans. It would be interesting to get some research that has those numbers. Hmmm – Katie or Sharon?

    I can’t imagine other professions’ salaries being tied to performance measures. How about we pay nurses according to their patient’s survival rates? How many nurses would be willing to work in the OR or critical care vs working in orthopedics or dermatology? Please do not assume that teachers who work in high scoring schools are more capable than other teachers, any more than we should assume that someone who works in a high risk area of medicine is causing their patients to do require longer hospital stays.

    I am a professional and am highly qualified in all regards to teach my students. I do not consider the union to be a “club”, nor do I think that bad teachers should be left alone. I am also a parent who has had a (very) few zingers over the years and am not okay with that either. I do want to say that just because a teacher has seniority, does not mean they are boring kids to sleep. You make a lot of generalizations about teachers that are pretty offensive. I think many of the TFA/OTF are fine, but they need time to hone their craft and become really great teachers. In order for that to have a chance of happening, we need to start treating ALL of our teachers better.

  • obama newage

    Race to the top will change everything. Not sure if good or bad.

  • http://perimeterprimate.blogspot.com/ Sharon Higgins

    If you’re worried about the unions having too much power, wait until the effects of yesterday’s Supreme Court decision are in full bloom.

    Watch the Olberman video @ http://www.schoolsmatter.info/2010/01/america-inc.html and please consider signing Alan Grayson’s (progressive D-FL) petition @ http://www.schoolsmatter.info/2010/01/fight-now-or-kiss-your-country-goodbye.html

    Those of us following today’s “ed reform” movement are aware that it’s been been a behind-the-scenes-corporist-generated movement all along.

  • Cranky Teacher

    Thinking, your numbers are slightly off on caseloads. Pretty sure it was:

    Union demand: Nurses no more than 1500 students. Currently it is much higher, for example one nurse for 3000 at DIFFERENT school sites.

    Union demand: Counselors at no more than 500 per. At our school we are right at this ration already, but apparently it is higher elsewhere in the district.

    I would point out that these lower numbers we are asking for are actually much too high! One high school counselor for 500 kids, 350 of whom are struggling just to graduate and another 150 who need help navigating the college process? Yikes.

  • Cranky Teacher

    Max, I love the young teachers, too, but they leave at quite an alarming rate despite the best of intentions. They have kids, they travel, they decide to get advanced degrees, they go to better-paying districts where they can still work with needy demographics…

    Meanwhile, you shouldn’t casually shaft and stereotype the folks who make this a career instead of an interlude. My sense is if you took the best fifth of our faculty, you’d find a pretty even distribution of young, middle-age, and senior citizen.

    Finally, layoffs — this a phony bogeyman. What is possible, raises or no, is TRANSFERS. Some gigs are just much more desirable than others, within every district; I will believe folks with college degrees are truly desperate when every middle school in Oakland opens the year with a zero long-term subs holding down the fort…

    Similarly, by framing these negotiations as “a fair deal” vs “mass layoffs” you are ignoring the reality that a full 55 percent of the district budget is not tied to classroom staff, and that tens of millions could be lopped off the budget by limiting expenditures on consultant fees and textbook/curriculum costs that all go to private corporations.

  • Katy Murphy

    Actually, if the district increases class sizes and closes schools, layoffs are likely to happen in addition to transfers — even when you take OUSD’s 15 percent attrition rate into account, according to reports by Oakland’s CFO and chief services officer.

    Anecdotally, I just interviewed a former third-year teacher from L.A. who came to Oakland after losing her job last year to a more senior teacher; she said many newer teachers down there were in the same boat.

  • Harold

    1)the district is being fined $1,000,000 a year for being out of compliance, re: 55% of the budget, being allocated to the classroom.

    2) i wonder why “in our brave new world”, in the current economic climate – investment banks (who are currently on welfare) can give out (HUGE) bonuses, but classroom Teachers in a non-compliant district (OUSD) are “out-of-line” for asking that they receive COLA money and a raise?

  • Cranky Teacher

    OK, Katy, I’ll back off on that, because I’m not an expert on the numbers. Certainly if the district wants to make the cuts that way it can lead to layoffs.

    I just don’t believe it needs to come to that if the priorities are in order. Maybe I’m brainwashed by my union, but that’s what I believe.

    I know you know this, but others may not: The state has a limit on classes sizes in the education code of California, so there are some limits on how high they can go. At our school, class size varies considerably depending on subject and period, but many teachers are already at their max student load under the ed. code.

    Remember, too, that March pink slips are counted as “layoffs” even if those folks get offered their jobs back in August. This is what happened for hundreds of teachers last year in Mt. Diable Unified when the numbers came out bad but the shortfalls were later partially plugged (significant help from the Obama stimulus). Several of my friends were laid off and then, within weeks, offered jobs in the same district but in different schools, which choices based on seniority. Of course, this kind of random shuffling is a disaster for school continuity and especially unfair to “undesirable” schools that then get all the newest teachers, yet it was apparently the best solution they could come up with.

  • Gordon Danning

    Cranky Teacher:

    I don’t get how a March pink slip is a layoff, if the teacher is, in fact, retained at the beginning of the next year. Districts always give out far more March 15 notices than actual layoffs, because anyone who does not get a March 15 notice must be rehired; thus, districts err on the side of caution. Yet, every year, the media refers to them as “layoffs,” which is totally irresponsible.

    By the way, here is what the OEA contract says about consolidations (ie. reduction of the number of teachers at a particular school):

    “Factors to be considered in selecting a unit member to be consolidated are:
    • Credential and legal qualifications

    All the above factors being equal, seniority in the District shall be given preference.

    In addition, at the secondary level, major/minor fields and highly specialized skills relating to the subject area shall be considered.” (Sec. 12.8.3)

  • Nextset

    As a matter of policy it’s wrong for the FDIC to allow banks bailed out by the Feds or on the danger list – and that means Citi – to pay bonuses. I suppose part of the problem is that in some cases the bonuses were contractually required and only collapsing the bank would trump those contracts. And the Feds didn’t want to collapse any other big banks than WaMu at the time, or right away. If they don’t quickly change the accounting rules they are going to have to collapse another huge bank – because they are going negative in net worth.

    It remains to be seen what will happen to the OUSD teachers’ pay. I predict the pay will drop in real dollars either directly or through give backs. Since I consider the School System (no particular set of people though) corrupt I predict they will continue to pay the administrators well and screw the teaching and support staff (not just financially either) and the students and families that depend on the schools.

    I should personal charges on the school Visa Card, I mean that they are in business for reasons other than education of the students & adding value to the students lifetime standard of living.

    2010 is going to be a very interesting year. I continue to see daily indicators of economic collapse and fundamental economic change in my encounters with people and merchants. I still feel this is a depression not a recession and we are still swirling at the top of the toilet bowl. It feels to me that the federal government is lying constantly about everything. They do print money, though. Maybe they’ll throw a bushel to the schools.

  • Jim Mordecai


    I have a different understanding of your statement: “1)the district is being fined $1,000,000 a year for being out of compliance, re: 55% of the budget, being allocated to the classroom.”

    The fine is $1,336,296 reference can be found on page 188 of the State Controller’s OUSD 06 audit.

    But, the fine is not part of the education code requiring 55% of the total budget being spent on the classroom. The 55% ratio is a compliance challenge for the District but is another part of the ed code involving requirement for a minimum percentage of the total budget go to the classroom. I believe you are conflating the part of the education code requiring 55% ratio with Ed Code Section 41402.

    Education Code 41402 requires that “there not be more than eight administrative employees for every 100 teachers.”

    The auditor found 78 administrators greater than the maximum allowed. The fine is only a fraction of what those 78 administrators cost the District as the State is asking for funding back that supported those administrators.

    So although it is commonly referred to as a fine, it is really a reembursement for money owed the state. A District can spend as much money on administrators as it wants but the state is unwilling to finance such an action beyond its maximum ratio.

    In this difficult economic times, I believe it is hard for the District’s administration, and/or School Board to justify exceeding the lawful administrators to teachers ratio.

    Jim Mordecai

  • Gordon Danning


    I wish people would not keep saying that the code requires 55% to be spent on “the classroom.” It says 55% must be spent on teacher and aide compensation. It is misleading to imply that 45+ percent of the budget is spent outside the classroom, or (as some infer therefrom) in ways that do not benefit the students.

  • Katy Murphy

    Jim is correct. The school district has not been fined for falling short of the 55 percent classroom allocation (the issue Sheila Jordan raised in the letter to the previous school board president). It was fined $1.3 million, however, for exceeding the maximum administrators-to-teachers ratio in 2006-07 — by 78 administrators.

    The district’s school redesign must have contributed to its high administrator-to-teacher ratio. Just think about all of the small schools that were created, particularly on one campus; they each have a principal, and in some cases, an assistant principal.

    I asked Troy Flint from OUSD for more details about the audit findings, as I’ve seen the $1 million fine presented as an annual cost and I wasn’t sure if that was accurate. Here’s what he wrote:

    In 2004-05 and 2005-06, the audit concluded that OUSD needed to provide a fuller explanation of how it was classifying its employees, but also determined that OUSD was in compliance with regulations. No financial penalties were assessed.

    In 2006-07, OUSD was assessed a fine of $1.3 million for being out-of-compliance with the administrator-teacher ratio. This is being contested and no payment has been made at this time.

    Given this information, I don’t think it’s correct to say OUSD is being fined $1 million a year for non-compliance. That implies an ongoing situation, or at least multiple years of the same infraction. At this point, there is a single case of OUSD being fined on this issue, and even that is being contested – no payments have been made on this issue.

    While I see what Flint is saying, I’m following up to see if that administrator-teacher ratio has changed since the 2006-07 audit finding — and if so, when. If it hasn’t changed, it’s not a huge leap of logic to presume similar penalties might be assessed for the following years.

  • Katy Murphy

    Good point, Gordon. In this case, “people” include the Alameda County superintendent, who used “classroom expense ratio” in her much-cited letter to Noel Gallo. I asked her staff for a definition of classroom expenses, but did not receive a response. I should have pushed for an answer.

  • Jim Mordecai


    I believe part of your point is correct that the term classroom expense ratio is not correct and the ratio is about teacher compensation ratio being a minimum of 55% for a district Oakland’s size.

    In the Ed Code 41372 teacher is defined as both teacher and instructional assistant. And, includes both instructors’ benefits in the calculation.

    As for what is suppose to happen when an audit shows the teacher compensation ratio is not being followed, Ed Code 41372b(3): “If the county superintendent of schools having jurisdiction over the district determines, on the basis of an audit conducted pursuant to Section 41020, that a school district has not expended the applicable percentage of current expense of education for the payment of salaries of classroom teachers during the preceding fiscal year, the county superintendent of schools shall, in apportionments made to the school district from the State School Fund after April 15 of the current fiscal year, designate an amount of this apportionment or apportionments equal to the apparent deficiency in district expenditures.”

    The County Superintendent cannot withhold funding for the District until after April 15.

    Usually the point that is being made by OEA is that the minimum amount of money required by education code to be spent on teachers in Oakland is not being spent. The OEA is saying teachers have not been the District’s priority and the budget priorities if changed would provide a raise for Oakland teachers.

    I do not believe that the money that is not spent on teacher compensation is money that is necessarily wasted–some is. But, the point that teacher compensation is not a priority is reflected in the District’s repeated failure to reach the required minimum in teacher compensation over the years.

    Jim Mordecai

  • http://www.cpa.com len raphael

    Are there comparative compensation numbers and ratios with other districts for various management and non professional staff such as janitors and clerks?

    Is there a list with amounts, descriptions and names/addresses of the outside contractors for testing and consulting?

    Some part of what is hitting the teachers is a decline in living standards that has hit many americans in a wide range of jobs. unfortunately for oakland teachers they started off behind their peers. the cost of living will drop in Oakland but not fast enough to keep starting teachers who can, leave from leaving oakland.

    it’s terrible waste of good teachers, but we’ll have to find all the raise money in cost cutting at hq because many resident home owners oppose more parcel taxes when they’re sliding down the economic ladder themselves.

    -len raphael

  • Harold

    thanks for clearing up my point, Jim and Katy. What remains true is – the district Administrative-staff is too fat. We are not asking for more state money. We are asking for the money we do have, to be properly allocated.

  • J.R.

    This is a little simplistic but I need to re-state it: The avg expenditure per child 9K per year x 30 students is roughly $2700 per class per year. Teachers make $60K of that, so where is the rest of it when each classroom is mandated to get 55% of the direct funds. The education system is too top heavy and needs to be immediately cut from the top down. Unfortunately those who control the money are also the ones who need to be cut, so there you have it. It is time to shine the light on the cockroaches in the system, and the prison system(as well)while we are at it.

  • J.R.

    OOPs! thats 270,000 per class per year roughly.

  • J.R.

    OK, new keyboard, $270,000.00 per class per year.

  • Gordon Danning


    I can’t speak of other sites, but at my school, teachers make up only about 1/2 of the adults on campus. According to the Ed-data website, in 2008-2009, we had 1807 students. Under certificated staff, we had 84 teachers, 5 administrators, and 2 “pupil services” personnel. Our counselors must be listed under “teachers.” It lists 62 “classified staff,” which includes bilingual and special ed aides, janitors, secretaries, etc. That totals 153 employees. At $60K per employee (which is probably roughly right, since benefits come to something like 10-15K per employee, that equals $9 million in employee compensation. That is $5100 per student spent at the school site for employee costs.

    Of course, this is all very rough. I’m sure that Katy can get our actual budget, or that of any school. i’m sure those are public documents

  • http://perimeterprimate.blogspot.com/ Sharon Higgins

    The current issue of The Economist, 1/23/10, has an interesting piece with a familiar ring: “The tale of Mr. Jackson: The public sector has has its fill of management consultants.”

    Re consultants: “They have frequently left devastation in their wake and have treated the public sector as dumping grounds for airy-fairy ideas such as ‘transformation’ that have been rejected by the private sector. They have built overly elaborate management structures that make it harder for people to do their jobs. And they have demotivated people who like to feel that they are working for the public good.” Sound familiar?

    As for the cure, “… if politicians were serious about ‘really reinventing government’ they would go back to first principals and ask if large parts of government needed to be there in the first place.” Sounds like Tony Smith will be doing some of that by economic necessity.

    It would be interesting to see a comparison of OUSD’s administrative organizational structure and consultant expenditures, before and after the state takeover. Right now I’m guessing more administrators were installed, and more consultants were hired.

    And by the way, any RTTT money we get won’t be going to students. The deal for states to get it requires them, and their school districts, to make changes at the bureaucratic level, new offices and administrative positions for this, and that. That money won’t be going to classrooms, it will be going to consultant and administrators salaries so they can pay their mortgages and buy new Priuses.

  • J.R.

    Thank you Gordon, that was informative and very much appreciated.

  • Gordon Danning

    You’re welcome.

  • ousd funemployed

    Perhaps someone can help to explain these numbers, which were taken from school years 2005-2006 and 2008-2009. The data comes from the Educational Data Partnership, which draws its data from reputable sources like the California Department of Education and the Alameda County Office of Education.

    OUSD 2005-2006 Enrollment (Excluding Charters): 41467
    OUSD 2008-2009 Enrollment (Excluding Charters): 38655

    OUSD 2005-2006 FTE Teachers (Excluding Charters): 2120
    OUSD 2008-2009 FTE Teachers (Excluding Charters): 2201

    So, while the enrollment dropped 6.78% in this time period, the number of teachers increased by 3.82%.

    There are fewer dollars (because enrollment is down), but there are more teachers who need to be paid.

    It seems to me, if you want to increase the average salary, you either need to increase revenue (enrollment) or reduce the number of salaries (FTE Teachers).

    I realize there are other elements to this discussion, but keeping it simple, when you have more people taking a bite out of a shrinking pie, doesn’t it make sense that everyone is going to get a bit less?

  • Oakland Citizen

    I’d love to see a similar comparison of school administrator salaries. Are we attracting effective principals and assistant principals?

  • David Laub

    Kate, rather than continue to dance around the hard data on the 15 bay area school district teacher salary and benefit compensation that you supply for comparison purposes please take the time to fully investigate the data. Figure out what is truly the actual ‘salary’ compensation, and what is the ‘benefits’ compensation-for all of the districts represented.

    Please forgive how I put what follows-

    Still, it comes off to me as either disingenuous, or simply not the work of an investigative reporter, to offer data from sources which should, comparatively, be straight forward. Take the time to get the data clear, concrete, and concise. Figure out what is salary, and what is benefits in the compensation packages. That way your readers won’t have to wonder how to interpret the data you give them. That way your readers will have the information they need to better understand the economic issues that Oakland’s teachers and certificated staff are confronting at the contract table.

    Thanks for you efforts to inform.

  • J.R.

    Ousd Funemployed,

    Those are some very startling numbers, and we as parents must insist on action NOW. The fat must be trimmed from the top down.

  • Katy Murphy

    I wish teacher compensation data were more straightforward and less messy. I tried slicing the numbers different ways — looking through contracts and salary schedules to determine benefits and entry-level pay, for example — and determined it would be a good starting point, at least, to put all of the information on the table.

    Most salary comparisons I’ve seen thus far are too concise — and leave out the question of whether health benefits are included in the package.

  • Katy Murphy

    Interesting question, ousd funemployed, and definitely one looking into. I double-checked the data you posted, and while I came up with the same non-charter enrollment count for both years, I did get different staffing numbers. Maybe we’re comparing different data sets.

    For 2005-06, I calculated 2,247 full-time equivalent (FTE) teaching positions in Oakland Unified (2,571 minus 324 charter school positions). For 2008-09, it came to 2,255 (2,676 minus 421 charter school positions).

    That’s an additional eight positions between 2005-06 and 2008-09, a 0.3 percent increase.

    Either way you slice it, it looks as though staffing levels didn’t decrease during that time, along with non-charter student enrollment.

  • Cranky Teacher

    On this last point about the number of total teachers not dropping at the rate of enrollment, it should be remembered that this is not the union’s purview. As far as I understand, our contract does not demand a certain minimum of FTEs be retained. The district has leeway to use pink slips and consolidations to maintain appropriate teacher/student ratios.

    Furthermore, those numbers are very rough — teacher/student ratios depend on a variety of things, such as special ed status, age of students, class-size reducation in different grades and for different classrooms and so on. So, for example, if your high school population decreased and your SpEd pop. grew, you would might need more teachers to teach the same number of kids.

  • Cranky Teacher

    Gordon Danning wrote: “I don’t get how a March pink slip is a layoff, if the teacher is, in fact, retained at the beginning of the next year. Districts always give out far more March 15 notices than actual layoffs, because anyone who does not get a March 15 notice must be rehired; thus, districts err on the side of caution. Yet, every year, the media refers to them as “layoffs,” which is totally irresponsible.”

    Well, the media should be more descriptive about the process, but the reality is if you get a pink slip you DON’T have a guarantee of a job for that Fall — you contract is expired. The principal can promise on the side that you’ll be back, and in normal times they would almost always be telling the truth. But these are not normal times.

    Without that Obama stimulus, most of the March layoffs last year would have become permanant. At our school eight recieved pinks and most of the non-tenured folks were NOT hired back.

  • Gordon Danning

    J.R.: The increase is in teaching positions, so I dont know that we can assume it is “fat.” It is certainly possible that the difference reflects additional funding sources, or that the district saw a lot of older, expensive teachers retire, and be replaced with younger, cheaper teachers. That would allow more teachers to be hired.

    Oakland Citizen: When Oakland High was looking for a principal last year, we were told that OUSD does, in fact, pay principals substantially less than suburban districts, and that as a result we have relatively few principal candidates

  • Nextset

    Here’s an interesting article on the economic collapse of Calif. The part about 87.5% of the state’s high school graduates not qualifying for UC admission was interesting – particularly in the context of the UC students demanding more money for UC. (I predict at least some of the UC Campuses will be closed.)

    One link to this mentioned Calif as Mad Max… probably a reference to defunding of the social service programs that kept the mentally ill from roaming the streets foraging any more than the present.

    This is not a recession we are easing into it’s a depression. It’s time to dust off the records of how people managed in the first one.

    Raises of any kind for the teachers are preposterous under these conditions. There will be huge give backs of the previous compensation agreements. Just watch..

    Eliminating or even reducing the economic cost of the illegal alien invaders to the state’s economy would go a long way in saving our social services. Wanna bet the movement to arrest/intern/expel border jumpers picks up?

    2010 will be an exciting year, but 2011 and 2012 are already being budgeted and forecast. Not going to be pretty economically, politically or socially. If the public school teachers go on strike in the urban areas like LA and Oakland – they may find that the “taxpayers” won’t care. Their kids are in other schools anyway. Strike away…

  • Nextset
  • Harold

    Nextset, why do you focus on Teacher raises (actually reallocation of funds), while dismissing the Board, Administrative, consultant and Superintendent raises?

    How did they get raises in your brave new world?

    or only Teachers subject to lower paychecks, in this recession/depression?

  • del

    fact check:
    An AP at our school was a teacher in hayward, where he was paid more as teacher with 2 years experience than as an AP in Oakland.
    The 55% teacher pay requirement ignores the fact that there are other mandates that can come first, and cause the 55% figure to become impossible (for example, OUSD’s astronomical special ed budget). Sorry, but no teacher would argue that students with special needs should come after teacher pay, but the budget reality means that THIS is where the rub is.
    Complaints of books, admin & consultant pay are red herrings. By law, the books have to be bought– yes, we know they are overpriced and not that great BUT that argument sounds a little too much like “we need pay more than the kids need books!” Perhaps it would be better to raise consciousness about the actual utility of these mandated books (or their extremely sketchy adoption process). As far as consultant pay goes, often this is the only way to SAVE teacher jobs– we need a conflict mediator, we need lunch time supervisors, we have a parent coordinator, and we have a guy who helps us fix the computers and trains kids at it. They are our consultants—not some BMW driving out of district guys recommending unreasonable changes to teacher practice. For the price of these 4 full time employees, we could ALMOST afford another teacher… but would that be worth it? Certainly, there is some waste in “consultant pay” but the huge majority are experts or community members who fill non-teaching roles and whose absence would be a far greater cost to the district. Also, one should note that consultants all need to be accounted for in the site plan that the SSC approves.

  • Nextset

    Harold: I “focus” on the teachers to the extent it seems because there are more of them and they have the most vocal union. The support service staff are likely to get fired and their functions outsourced. Not that I wish anything outsourced, in a better world the schools would have their own nurses, cooks, janitors not a contract that is passed around every year to the lowest bidder.

    The teachers on this blog also keep my interest. It will be interesting to hear them over time as reality bites. Many of them may wish they’d gone into another field.

    I am not at all happy at what is happening and what is going to happen to the public schools. We needed them to provide a route into middle class for lower class & lower middle class & immigrant students. I think this US & State Government is carefully removing these routes so that only the upper classes will be able to perpetuate their lines and the rest of the US/State will be stuck in the lower levels. All the things you need for upward mobility are now privately purchased and paid for.

    The Brave New World includes rigid social castes. Not what the USA was about from the time of founding.

    And liberals brought this all about for the most part with liberal (social) policies that gives everybody all the rope they need to hang themselves.

    The 1960s which is when the real change occurred even gave us divorce on demand (and related legislation) which ushered in serial monagamy as the US Norm. Not a good system to raise successive generations in. Welfare entitlement further greased the skids along with the higher taxes requiring a 2 income household. Throw in trashed school districts and you have teeming hordes of unsocialized people to feed the prison/industrial complex with revolving door prisons to keep them active and reproducing. A Brave New World allright, with NAFTA and the cessation of tarrifs to kill all the low skill jobs at the same time (except now the higher skill jobs are going also).

    Meanwhile the “conservatives” want to civil war over abortion of all things. Some conservatives.

    The public schools are where you protect the existance of middle class in this country. Not Charters, public schools. They are worth fighting for and worth keeping – I think. But they just seem to be on the way out. We’ll see what comes out of Great Depression II if that’s what this is turning into.

    There is still a chance that something not realized yet may be a game changer for the schools and for the job of transmitting education (if not socialization). The Internet is still a huge possibility for systematic change. With short amounts of time we have more bandwith and more broadband coverage, and the cost of the machines continues to drop.

  • Oakland Teacher

    When you make priorities, you have to sometimes be willing to make hard choices. No one ever said it would be easy to start spending 55% of the district budget in the classroom (as mandated by state law and followed by OTHER school districts). But the reality is that other districts do manage to prioritize their spending and all the other Alameda County districts do manage to pay their teachers more (even when taking benefits into account). It is just a matter of setting priorities and starting there. Teachers know the value of school site staff (noon supervisors for example), but we also know that we don’t need all of the consultants who have district-wide contracts to help us teach to the test. Those are the contracts we are talking about and they are millions of dollars. We have many layers of very highly paid administrative staff downtown that other districts do not have. Those are also included in our belief that we need to prioritize spending.

    I would not argue that any principal is overpaid (you could not pay me enough to do that job), one thing that is different about OUSD is that we have many principals who have very small schools. When you look at other districts, their schools are very large compared to ours. That does cost the district extra money, money that is subsidized by Broad and Gates foundation money the first 2 years and then OUSD shoulders forever after.

  • Union Supporter-But

    I am in the process of looking at high schools for two children. In this process, I walk in with the state standards. There are schools who do an excellent job of teaching in-depth while covering a great deal of the state standards in language arts, math and science for example. But unless a student is taking an elective none of the standards for health, visual arts, performing arts, music, PE, social studies and dance are taught – it’s as though Oakland Unified simply says “We don’t have to teach that – we refuse” and it started in Elementary School – you can look at the science and writing scores of even our “hills” schools and see how much science is taught. Our middle schools actively state they teach “the majority of the standards for language arts, math, science and social studies.” No standards taught on the other subjects.

    What I notice – with the exception of Piedmont – I will write about that in a minute – is that the school districts that pay attention to providing students with the state educational standards, where parents who are concerned to not have to supplement, pay their teachers A LOT MORE.

    Teachers salaries go up when parents who send their students to public schools can do so without supplementing thousands of dollars per year to get the education that the State of California says schools should be providing. When parents spend $1,500 per year for science camps to offset the lack of science, spend another $1,000 per year for writer’s workshops, $1,500 or more so students can learn to read music and learn the vocabulary of music, $1,000 for acting in plays after school because even though the upper elementary school standards include it, teachers refuse to teach it and it continues with drawing, painting and “clay play” lessons. And if a parent can’t afford these lessons or can’t barter to clean the studio or get a grant, then tough, they don’t get the state standards. They become part of the 87.5% of Nextsets total who are not prepared – they miss that part of the SAT or if they get in to a UC, they are incompetent in the humanities and have to catch up.

    Piedmont pays less, put provides the teachers to every student to meet these state standards – what they say is that they are not willing to pay for what is not delivered – but they value the “humanities” and tutoring for slower students, so they pay collectively out of pocket to insure that all students in their district get these needs met – and it shows – even their continuation high school scores outperform all but the top 5% of Oakland.

    I am frustrated with the low pay of our teachers – but I am also frustrated with teachers who say the day is too short, the students are too unprepared, there is no way to teach all of the standards to all students – if we started in kindergarten and ALL teachers following the standards – knew and followed the standards and skipped the Otter pops, Star Wars and Monsters Inc. movies complete with popcorn during the school day and taught all day and reduced waste in the morning and after recesses or classroom switches, more could be taught particularly IF THE UNION SUPPORTED SUCH EDUCATIONAL STANDARDS.