CUHSD Teachers Fight Against Pay Cut

Natalie Bachman

It isn’t news that the Campbell High School Teachers Association (CHSTA) and the Campbell Union High School District (CUHSD) are in a period of tense negotiations. While the initial concern revolved around a “pay cut” according to the union, these concerns have extended far beyond the issue of teacher salaries. 

The two ends are in the final year of a 3-year contract; it promised teachers a $4,000 bonus in the first year and a $5,000 bonus in the second year. During the third year, the teachers’ union would negotiate a permanent pay raise with the district.

At the moment, CHSTA is asking for a $5,000 permanent salary increase, plus a 4% wage increase, amounting to $8,700. Given that no agreement has been reached, CUHSD reverted back to their original 2019 salary – $5,000 less than what teachers received for the 2020-2021 school year.

CUHSD claims that this alleged “pay cut” is not actually a pay cut. In fact, Kalen Gallagher, the board president, reminded the community that “Unilateral increasing of decreasing teacher salaries is illegal in the state of California.” The district also noted that the $5,000 teachers received was a bonus and not part of their permanent salary. Regardless, he insisted that teachers would likely receive the promised money at some point.

However, CHSTA disagrees with this logic. On their Instagram page, they reminded viewers that a teacher who “earned a salary of $97,124 in the 2020/2021 school year” is now “earning $92,017… that is $5,000 less, thus, a pay cut.” The $5,000 less stems from the fact that a bonus for the final year of the contract has yet to be negotiated.

CHSTA believes that the district’s $48 million in reserves could support teacher salaries. Reserves money is similar to savings, and is sometimes allocated to specific causes. “I don’t think the district has ever refuted our assertion that it has $48 million in reserves that should be used to support their… goal of attracting and retaining quality educators” commented Kim McCarthy, CHSTA president and teacher at Prospect High School.

In the past month, the union’s concerns have extended beyond the scope of the alleged pay cut. At a board meeting on November 4th, 85% of district educators voted “No Confidence” in Dr. Bravo. Their resolution stated that “Dr. Robert Bravo, Ed.D has engaged in a…” Regardless, Kalen Gallagher, CUHSD board president, extended Bravo’s contract given that “the board has full faith and confidence in Dr. Bravo’s leadership.”

“I have lost faith that the trustees are listening,” McCarthy expressed in response to the board’s decision. “ I am very concerned about our youngest teachers and those newest to the profession.  More than 44% of teachers leave the profession within the first five years. I don’t want to see our newest colleagues leave for districts that demonstrate they value their educators by keeping up with the cost of living.”

In response to this situation, the union is considering a “work to pay” situation. Teachers are only contracted to work from 7:45 am to 3:00 pm, meaning that they would refuse to work any other time (ex. grading assignments, advising clubs).

At the moment two state mediators have been assigned to help the two sides come to a resolution. In the meantime, McCarthy hopes that the CUHSD community will shine light on the relentless efforts teachers put into their jobs. “It’s not just about the money,” the union posted on their Instagram page. “It’s so much about the disrespect and the lack of feeling valued in this district.”

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