Correction: FUSD negotiations

Friday’s print edition of The Argus had a story about the three Fremont Unified School District assistant superintendents volunteering to take 5 percent pay cuts.

The article went on to say that the district has discussed salary reductions with employee groups but that no union has agreed to pay cuts. It turns out that the district has met with the teachers union (and negotiations are ongoing), but there has been no talks yet with CSEA or SEIU leaders.

The article has been corrected online, and a correction should appear in Saturday’s print edition.

While we’re on the topic of cuts, what do you think of the asst. superintendents’ actions? Did they lead by example? Should they — as the highest paid employees behind the superintendent — have offered to take a bigger cut? Should the employee groups agree to pay cuts themselves?

Linh Tat


  1. Employee groups have already taken pay cuts vis-a-vis furlough days spread through the school year. I believe it is seven days. It is my understanding this was put into place at the beginning of the current school year. It is also my understanding that all the representative unions, except for the teachers union, agreed to the cuts. Another round of cuts is now being considered.

    A number of positions were eliminated prior to the start of school in September including assistant directors.

  2. Teachers too a cut this year by losing training/work days. I can’t remember the exact details, but they’re working 2-5 fewer days, ones without students, and not getting paid for them. Teachers end up doing the work anyway, but for free.

  3. Public employees got a long way to go before they catch up with the gas that private employees have been sucking for years.

    it wasnt just last year or the year before that that we see benefits and salaries getting cut – – it’s been going on for a long time.

    These guys can strart digging into their pockets just like the rest of us. A lot of people in private business have lost all of their future retirements and health benefits. I said they lost thier futures. THats on top of the several years of the cut after cut after cut in thier incomse.

  4. Jon, can you address the no layoff clause in the current FUSD teachers contract?

  5. People are under the impression that teaching is a cake job with great pay and benefits. That’s not true, and there’s no Easter Bunny or Santa Claus either. Cuts have been happening in education for years while burdens have increased and freedoms reduced. The past six or so years have been horrible, mostly for elementary kids.


    I think it’s a wonderful thing, keeping cuts as far as possible from the classroom and helping with morale, which has plenty of reasons to be low. Mind you, it applies only to permanent employees, so the temps and the probationary teachers have gotten notices. Many districts without such clauses routinely layoff large numbers of teachers as an odd form of psychological torture.

  6. Jon, the continued decline of our educational system is downright scary and stupid. We are in a sense committing national suicide with these action. If we don’t provide quality education for our children this country will face a bleak and scary future. No question about it.

    Wouldn’t we all like to have a no-cut contract?

    How many professions are experiencing that psychological torture you mentioned right now?

  7. I agree, the decline is downright scary and stupid, though it isn’t coming from the classroom. No, it’s from from the top. State standards and testing are a disaster, yet will pale in comparison to the harms of national standards and testing. Kids are more and more becoming just another brick in the wall.

    Firefighters and police are the most comparable professions to teachers, and they don’t suffer the same layoff difficulties, all while getting paid dramatically more, both before and after retirement. I can’t think of any highly-skilled white-collar profession that has yearly layoffs and such suffocating working conditions. On a side not, I ask my students if they would become teachers, and most say no because of the pay.

  8. Yes, there was a time when private sector employees who burned out after 20 or 30 years in their chosen profession would move on to become educators. Less chance of that occurring now.

    I hate to use this term when referring to our country, but I sometimes think we are circling the drain.

    So many issues, so little consensus. How do we get the country moving forward again?

  9. Jon Simon –

    Can you lend some specificity to the “…odd form of psychological torture” you mention in post #5 ?

  10. For clarification, the no lay off clause does not impact removal and firing of employees. Teachers can be fired – there is a process for this that is not impacted by the no-lay-off clause. They just agree not to lay off teachers at the end of each year if they have a perm. contract – If a school site has to reduce the number of teachers it has, the teachers with the lowest seniority get put on an unassigned list – The district is so large, there are usually jobs at other sites for which they are qualified. As the spring goes forward, and into the fall, these teachers are placed at sites and in positions through out the district. This way, Fremont retains experienced teachers.

    When other districts cut back, they lay off a ton of teachers, and then are left scrambling for teachers at the start of the year when the numbers change. This leaves classrooms with subs and less experienced teachers at every school. The no-lay-off clause is a benefit for the district and the teacher – but who it really benefits is the students. Students are more likely to have a qualified, experienced teacher each year.

    and the “odd form of psychological torture” is being told each year in March that you will not have a job next year, every year, year after year. Schools cannot plan, teachers cannot prepare for the next school year. Essentially, teachers in some districts are treated like contractors – paid for the 9 months, and then set free.

  11. My older boy has seen some of his favorite young teachers laid off. It is tough for them to finish the year after getting the pink slip in the spring, not being sure if it will stick or not. Some handle it with fortitude, some just get depressed and disengaged.
    I know that the whole country is hurting right now, but the way school budgets get changed late in the year and teachers are expected to teach with a sword over the head is not constructive. Even if schools are going to be cut back long term, I think their budgets should have a longer term plan and more stability.

  12. Thanks for the clarification TR.

    With your experience with this “psycological torture” you describe in the public education system, can you characterize how the process you are familiar with is significantly different from “at will employment” – which is almost universally enforced in the private sector – and which effectively states that an employee can be terminated for any reason, at any point in time, with or without cause . . . .

  13. I’m in a field with “at will” employment. I don’t get a pink slip every spring with the threat that I might be unemployed every fall.

  14. MikeTeeVee is right –

    “At will” employees are “notified” from the moment they are hired that their job can be terminated at any point in time, for cause or not.

    Remember the little form you signed acknowledging your “at will” status ?? Re-read it . . . ..

  15. The point is, when I do get laid off, it’s right now and it’s final. And typically comes with some severance pay. Then I go on unemployment until I find a new job. In a quarter century, I’ve been laid off once, and so has my wife.

    What teachers go through, with the annual “we might lay you off” pink slip limbo every spring, and “just kidding” every fall, is quite different.

  16. Mike: well put… the lay-off notices really have an impact in the classroom.

  17. I have worked as both an ‘at will’ employee AND as a contracted teacher. The benefit to a contract from the district/student side is that the teacher cannot leave in the middle of the year, with two weeks or less notice. This protects the students from a constant flow of short term teachers. At will employment is for both the employee and the employer – The children need a teacher who is committed to be there for the school year, semester or trimester.
    And Mike is right explains the difference well – the treatment of teachers without the no-lay-off is more like ‘seasonal’ employees than ‘at will’ employment.

  18. Dear Board Members,

    Please keep class size reduction. The funding gains aren’t close to worth the educational losses. Use reserves to help pay for it. That’s what they’re for. If things get worse, such is life, but the money was spent exactly as it should be, on the kids.

    Jon Simon

    If you have your own message for the board members, here are their addresses:
    bryan@bryan4schools.com, lily@lilymei.org, larry4sb@aol.com, ivy826wu@yahoo.com, lmyork@comcast.net

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