Faced with a $12 million budget deficit and the , teachers, classified employees and administrators in the New Haven Unified School District are “making sacrifices for students.”
According to a press release issued Tuesday morning, teachers voted Monday to take nine furlough days, an additional 1-percent pay cut and a one-year freeze on “step-and-column” raises for the 2012-13 school year.
Classified employees and administrators made tentative, identical agreements as well, the district reports.
According to the district, members of the New Haven Teachers Association voted 258 to 76 in favor of the adjustments to their contracts. The furlough days and slight pay cut will cost the average teacher almost $7,500, the press release states.
“This is an extraordinary effort on the part of our teachers, and I applaud our classified employees and administrators for their cooperation as well,” Superintendent Kari McVeigh said. “I hope the community realizes what a tremendous sacrifice these people are making for the sake of our children.”
The agreements reached by classified employees and administrators are pending approval by the California School Employees Association and the New Haven Administrators Association. Next Tuesday, the Board of Education will vote to approve the agreements.
Middle school electives, elementary school specialists restored
The agreements reached by staff and administrators will allow the district to continue offering middle school electives and keep most of the elementary school specialists for science, music and physical education, according to the district.
In addition, almost a quarter of library services will resume in middle and high schools. The district will also continue to pay for two-thirds of the funding for afterschool sports, band and forensics programs.
All of the aforementioned programs and services were previously on the chopping block when the district issued for teachers and classified staff in March.
Under the new agreements, the school year will remain at 175 days as it was during the 2011-12 school year, which is still five days fewer than in previous years, the district said. As a result, staff will give up four additional workdays. For teachers, that includes two preparation days at the beginning of the school year, a mid-year grading day and a day at the end of the year.
Salary increase freeze could cost teachers thousands
The agreement with the New Haven Teachers Association also includes a one-year freeze on “step-and-column” salary increases, a common salary schedule that allows teachers to receive automatic annual pay increases based on work experience and educational advancement.
“Depending on their job, length of service and other factors, employees will be sacrificing several thousand dollars each to help the District maintain as much of its core academic program as possible in 2012-13,” McVeigh said.
In its press release, the district cited the following example:
For example, a teacher with 10 years of experience and 60 units of additional college credit, would earn nearly $7,500 less in 2012-13 than he or she would have earned in 2010-11, the year before employees were forced to take days off without pay.
“This isn’t pizza money that our employees are giving up,” McVeigh said. “This is the monthly car payment, a big chunk of the mortgage, child-care costs or maybe a college tuition payment.”
Despite the sacrifices teachers, staff and administrators are making, the $12 million deficit is still a huge blow to the district.
According to the press release, about 30 teachers will lose their jobs and K-2 classrooms will increase to a 30-to-1 student-teacher ratio.
“Despite the significant sacrifice that teachers are making, our schools won’t be what we had hoped for our students,” James Logan High School teacher and NHTA President Charmaine Banther said. “The school year is shorter than it should be, our youngest students are in classes of 30, and our library services have been reduced. Our children deserve better.”