Attraction and retention of high-quality teachers is a nationwide concern and has been an issue discussed by Natomas Unified and the Natomas Teachers Association for numerous years. We want the community to know:
· A veteran teacher can now earn $95,882 a year in salary, not counting benefits. Last year, 161 NUSD teachers earned more than $80,000 a year – that’s up from 71 teachers in 2015-16.
· NUSD made an offer to the Natomas Teachers Association last week that would have eliminated the lowest class of teacher pay, changing the minimum salary from $37,893 to $45,795. No teacher salaries would decrease.
· NUSD also offered to pay a signing bonus of $10,000 over a three-year period to attract and retain top-quality candidates for hard-to-fill positions.
· Though the district asked for nothing in return, the Natomas Teachers Association rejected those proposals.
The following is a letter from Supt. Chris Evans providing details.
January 22, 2019
Dear Natomas Community,
Through the strong fiscal management of the Board of Trustees, Natomas Unified has more than doubled the number of teachers earning $80,000/year and higher. A veteran teacher can now earn as much as $95,882 a year in salary. A veteran counselor, psychologist and/or Speech Language Pathologists work more days and can make as much as $106,000/year. Any health and other benefits are in addition to those salaries. Last year, 161 teachers earned more than $80,000/year. That’s up from 71 teachers in 2015-16. At the January 16, 2019 Board Meeting one of our teachers spoke about the need to increase compensation to retain our newest teachers (a link to her statements in video are included in this letter).
In an effort to demonstrate our commitment to attracting and retaining our newer teachers in Natomas, we presented to the Natomas Teachers’ Association (NTA) President Brenda Borge two Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) that would have eliminated the lowest class of pay (starting at just $37,893) and change the next two salary classes. The change to one group of salaried teachers would have meant increases in salary for some current teachers effective July 1, 2019. No teacher salaries would have decreased. This was not just for future teachers, it was for some current teachers as well. The district asked for nothing in return. Why? Because our teachers deserve it! Sadly, I have to report that the NTA President did not accept our offer.
For more than a year, the NTA leadership has discussed teacher retention and the low pay of new teachers in Natomas. Natomas Unified has attempted to negotiate salary increases for our newest teachers for years. We recognize that negotiations can be complex and both sides do not always get what they want. It is Natomas Unified’s belief that our newest and often youngest teachers deserve more salary as one means of support. We believe that higher salary for teachers newer to the profession is an important element to attracting and retaining new teachers while the nation sees teachers leaving the profession more than ever before. The Wall Street Journal ran a story on December 28, 2018 titled “Teachers Quit Jobs at Highest Rate on Record” https://www.wsj.com/articles/
Thanks to growth and expansion of programs, there are many new faces in Natomas. We are interested in retaining our new teachers, which we believe also increases student success. More important than a rhetorical mantra about retention is taking action to actually retain our new staff. Our offering MOUs is NOT unprecedented in recent years. In 2013, we offered to end the furlough days left over from California’s recession in an MOU. At that time, the district asked for nothing in return. That offer was accepted. Why not accept the MOU raising our newest teachers salaries? While other teachers struggle across the country for increased compensation, Natomas Unified has offered salary increases to our newest teachers, asking for nothing in return.
As an aside:
NTA President Borge’s response stated we were in a bargaining cycle and suggested an MOU would not be appropriate now. For the record, MOUs can be done at any time and we have NOT started negotiations for 2019-2020 yet. In an email to Mrs. Borge, I shared that I had hoped this offer was “…an opportunity to change the course of our relationship and agree that we can mutually support our new teachers with increased compensation.” The district asked for nothing in return.
Attached with this communication are video clips of our teacher speaking about retention in public comment, and my comments during a presentation later in the January 16th Board Meeting. The whole Board Meeting video can be viewed at https://natomasusd.swagit.com/
Here are links to videos of comments made at the Board meeting last Wednesday by:
Note: Posted below are the offers made to NTA.