Santa Barbara Unified School District Proposes 19% Raise Over Two Years in Second Round of Contract Negotiations
The Santa Barbara Unified School District (SB Unified) has proposed $22 million total compensation package for teachers during the second round of contract negotiations with the Santa Barbara Teachers Association (SBTA) on Tuesday.
In a press release, SB Unified stated, “The District is interested in reaching a fair settlement in a timely manner and to further this goal today, the District brought forward a proposal it believes can form the basis for an agreement. The District is intent on not engaging in incremental bargaining and put forth a proposal to bring an early settlement.”
SBTA’s initial proposal of November 15, 2023 was for a 20% wage increase for 2024-25 and permanent class size reduction. Together, this proposal was estimated to cost $26.2 million.
SB Unified has countered with this current proposal of about $22 million that is equal to a 19% raise over two years which includes an 8% salary increase for 2024-25 and 4% salary increase for 2025-26 along with SB Unified paying 75% of medical premiums, and retaining reduced class sizes on an ongoing basis.
SB Unified provided SBTA with data showing that the 2023-24 increase alone would result in SBUSD ranking first out of six comparison unified districts in both beginning and maximum scheduled salaries:
SB Unified also noted that the latest projections show the State Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for 2024-2025 to be around 1% (the prior projection was 3.94%). While the State’s projected COLA is 1%, the District’s proposal for that same year is for an 8% salary increase.
SBTA president Hozby Galindo stated that courtesy of their union it feels like negotiations are moving in the right direction with the district bringing forth genuine proposals.
Teachers have staged several demonstrations and rallies throughout the year to increase wages and benefits as more educators leave the area for higher pay and lower costs of living.
Currently the District covers 40% to 60% of medical benefits premium costs for teachers depending on the chosen plan. Under its new proposal, the District would cover 75% of medical benefit premium costs (including future premium increases) regardless of the particular plan chosen.
This offer would reduce monthly employee out-of-pocket costs from $102 to $406 (employee-only coverage), $340 to $736 (employee plus one) and $371 to $937 (family). Annual savings would range from $1,020 to $9,370.
For the reduction of class size, the District and SBTA previously agreed to separate year-to-year agreements. SBTA proposed to include the separate agreement – and in some cases to further reduce those numbers – permanently in the negotiated agreement.
The District agreed with SBTA to place class size reduction permanently in the contract and proposed to continue the class size reduction numbers contained in the latest side letter agreement.
These reduced class sizes have been funded by one-time funds which are expiring. This means the $6.2 million ongoing cost to maintain reduced class sizes would have to be paid out of regular District funds and represents a new, ongoing $6.2 million expenditure for the SBTA bargaining unit.
The third negotiation session is on December 12. Additional dates have been set for January 11th, January 19th, and February 6th.