Lucia Mar preparing for teacher strike

March 11, 2015

teacher1The Lucia Mar Unified School District has hired a consultant to help administrators prepare for the possibility of a teacher strike.

District officials and the Lucia Mar Teachers Association are currently in a contract dispute. The district has offered teachers a two percent raise, but the union is threatening a strike if its members do not receive 10 percent pay increases.

On Tuesday night, the district board voted unanimously to hire consultant James Whitlock at a rate of $155 per hour.

“There is no positive outcome from a strike, and everyone will be losers — the community, the students and even the teachers,” board member Colleen Martin told CalCoastNews following the meeting.

Whitlock is tasked with advising district officials on staffing and security issues that would arise from a strike. District administrators say they have never before dealt with a strike.

When a strike occurs, new rules take effect. For instance, a nurse must be stationed on each campus in the district to handle allergy issues or illnesses that may arise because the teachers aware of the student’s health needs are on strike.

In attempt to resolve the contract dispute, the district has engaged in a fact-finding process and mediation with the teachers’ union. The fact-finding process is already complete, and mediation efforts have thus far failed to produce a tentative agreement.

The next mediation hearing is scheduled for March 25. If the hearing fails to produce an agreement, the fact-finding panel must release a report.

Though the district is preparing for a work stoppage, it has the power to temporarily stave of a strike. Regulations allow Lucia Mar officials to impose a settlement if they fail to reach an agreement with the teachers’ union.

The average Lucia Mar teacher currently receives an annual salary of about $61,000. Lucia Mar teachers received a 2 percent raise in 2012-2013 and a 4.3 percent bump in pay in 2013-2014.

If they receive just a 2 percent salary increase in the current round of negotiations, their pay will have jumped by more than 8 percent over the last three years.

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I sent a link for a Nationally adjusted link for teacher’s salaries from 1959 to 2009. It is a NATIONAL salary list, so keep in mind that California costs more to live.

Please note that the salary peaks in 1971, when a person could buy a home for 28,000, at a sweet $50,000 a year ish. The sad part is, that amount is basically what teachers seem to linger at for the next 40 years. Isn’t inflation WONDERFUL?????

I have seen this same sad occurance in other professions.

We have to keep fighting for fair wages, or we all get on welfare.

I am disgusted by the level of apathy I am seeing here.

Maybe we should make social security recipients start paying for stuff they never had to pay for and see how they like it. Pay $60 bucks a prescription. $60 an office visit. No more “senior coffees” or “senior discounts”. And when you go to Social Security and demand to know “why?”, they tell you, “because we can. Be lucky you get any money.”

What does this have to do with teachers demanding raises? Well, teachers, and people LIKE teachers, are paying for things the gripers here most likely never had to pay for. Bus service ($30/month for kids who need bussed to school), higher rates for EVERY thing, HUGE rents/mortgages. HUGE school fees.

If a teacher strikes and loses their pay, they will have no influence on the amount of their raise. So why lose the money???

It is not like the DISTRICT can give money to the TEACHERS that they do no have.

Power hungry egos are more interested in the spotlight than what is bet for EVERYBODY!!

“Power hungry ego . . .

more interested in the spotlight

than what is best for EVERYBODY!!”

What a perfect description of Jim Hogeboom!

Thanks for your support, doglover!

The total compensation package for the teachers isn’t just their salary. The value of the health insurance benefits, pension plan, and a long summer vacation must also be included. The average citizen in SLO county hasn’t had any increase in wages since the financial crisis. The average American gets only 11 days paid vacation a year.

Let’s do a test to see if the district pays fair salaries. Advertise that that we are hiring new teachers and see how many applications from qualified teachers we get. I bet that we would get hundreds of applications from qualified candidates.

So, Can them, hire some non union teachers. You surly don’t want to be last in the race to the bottom.

We are already at the bottom.

I would encourage everyone to review the below link which shows all employees of the Lucia Mar Unified School District salaries and benefits for 2013, then make up your mind where you stand on this issue…

It’s time for someone to finally stand up to these Unions. I hope they hold fast to the 2% which is close to what I received on my Social Security check. Although after the increase deduction for Medicare and the increases with all of the school bonds and sales tax increases in the county I went in the hole. Hey teachers join the crowd.

But if they do get to the 10% lets make them work the the entire year like everyone else and only take their 2-3 vacations like everyone else. That would really bring out the crying towels.

Stunned: You demonstrate a stunning ignorance of the facts. If the teachers do strike,

and they will, if the district doesn’t up its offer significantly, the “scabs” will not be compensated at

the same salaried rate as a Full-Time Educator (FTE); they’ll receive sub wages and no benefits.

If that sounds attractive to you, go for it. Lastly, the pay raises that Lucia Mar teachers have

received over the past two years 1). are simply the COLA (Cost Of Living Allowance) that they

should have received anyway, because that is how the state earmarks that money; and

2). have not raised their salaries to be even close to the salaries of their counterparts in other

districts. The Lucia Mar teachers are not greedy or ungrateful; they are simply fed up with

being told by their quarter-million-dollar-a-year superintendent that the district can’t afford

to compensate them equitably, as he sits on a 14 million dollar surplus that has been acrued

by denying his teachers their COLA for many, many years, long before the economic downturn.

Superintendents always find enough money to compensate themselves and their fellow

administrators, and to increase their number of administrators and quasi-administrators (TOSAs)

but when it comes to finding the money to fairly compensate the professionals who actually do

the teaching in their district, they suddenly develop myopia and cataracts and cannot seem

to find more than a few pennies/percents to toss to their peasants. Let the teachers eat cake,

right Jim? Don’t be stunned when Bastille Day arrives.

Many seem to be talking about the difference between administrative and teachers salaries and that teachers salaries need to be raised closer to the others. Why not push to lower the administrative salaries instead of fleecing the taxpayers for more money. We are already at our max for taxes. And just because another district may pay more and that is why a raise is needed, huh? This area’s taxpayers are maxed, there is no more to the pie, stop trying to squeeze more from us. So what if another district pays more, move there then. This area is paying what it can, the job is the job. You don’t like it, get another job. COLA is a raise, period. Join the real world that our cost of living has gone up, but others live within their means and budget, if belts need to be tighten, cut that vacation, don’t by the new gadget, keep the old car another few years, cut the cable/sat, postpone this or that improvement, whatever it takes, don’t cry for a raise.

First, you get the administrative salaries, pensions, benefits cut, and certainly use part of that money for your salaries, but leave the taxpayers out of it, we have no more money.

kayaknut: Your kayak is taking on water. Let me bail you out. Giving teachers a raise does NOT raise your taxes. It simply redistributes your tax dollars more equitably to benefit the people who actually do the job of teaching the community’s children. Isn’t that what you expect your tax dollars to do? Also, COLA is given to keep teachers’ compensation even with the increase costs of living, not to get ahead. Why would you begrudge teachers, who do so much for the future tax payers/job creators of each community, the fairly small increase to their annual salary so that their buying power does not decrease. After all, basic knowledge of economics dictates that when teachers or any other citizens have to “cut that vacation,” all of the businesses that thrive on vacationers suffer; when people hang on to that old car, the auto industry suffers, and on and on. And, by the way, the teachers are not “cry[ing] for a raise.” They are pursuing it through the proper channels, and making their case as loudly and eloquently as possible. How else does any change ever come about. Lastly, the reason that very few teachers ever switch to neighboring districts is that districts only give a teacher 7 years of service on their payscale. So any teacher with significantly more than 7 years of experience would have to take a significant paycut to switch districts; therefore, your advice only makes sense to younger teachers with fewer years of experience. And younger teachers almost never become disgruntled with their pay until they’ve been around at least 10 years, get married, start having kids, and realize how strapped they are to live a middle class lifestyle in an affluent area like Arroyo Grande/Pismo Beach etc. No teacher ever gets rich by teaching and no teacher expects to; we do it for the love of teaching and for the connection with the kids and the improvement of the community. But we are not worthless beggars who should simply be grateful for whatever scraps the district decides to toss our way. The 2% that the superintendent offered is an insult that has inspired many otherwise mellow teachers to become unhappy and “scrappy,” which will serve them well if they choose to strike.

Always love the statement “redistributes your tax dollars”, sounds a lot like “redistribute the wealth”, what society uses that statement?. The first question is then who’s salary is going down to redistribute to the teachers??, none that seem apparent. As soon as you can let me know who’s salary is being reduced then lets talk raises. Plus where did this mystical pool of money come in the first place, hint it starts with tax and ends with payer…..

I can just bet what the outcome would be if I cried to my boss that I need a raise without showing what I have done to improve the company I work for and the product they produce. Where is that in teachers? Plus if I do something illegal at my company I am fired that quickly, teachers do not have that worry.

If the teachers feel the district is just giving scraps make the district redistribute from within.

kayak – nut: Here’s how school funding works: the state receives tax dollars from its taxpayers, including teachers, by the way. The governor and the legislature decide how much will be allotted to public schools. That amount is sent to the district. District officials, primarily the superintendent and the school board, determine how best to spend that money (plus whatever they may have in reserve). It is literally their job to determine how best to DISTRIBUTE the state funding. Hogeboom and company have made some very unwise decisions in recent years, which has caused far more of the district’s funds to be distributed DISPROPORTIONALLY to administrators/TOSA’s/pet projects etc. To demand that Hogeboom RE-distribute those funds more equitably should not set off your FOX News-conditioned socialism alarm. Your example of crying to your boss does not equate to this situation. Neither individual teachers nor groups of teachers is required to “show what they’ve done to improve the students’ learning.” There are no objective measurements to determine that, since no two subjects are alike, and not all subjects are tested or can be quantified objectively. Teachers are not in the business of increasing profits for the company or making widgets; we are in the business of teaching, and inspiring, and caring for the youth of our communities, in the hopes that they will grow up to be well-rounded and well-informed citizens, who can contribute something of value to their communities, just like their teachers do, day in and day out. You’re welcome.

“Neither individual teachers nor groups of teachers is required to “show what they’ve done to improve the students’ learning.””, this is part of the problem, so no mater the quality of the teaching every teacher is treated the same, sorry the real world is much different.

And you still avoid telling us who’s salary is going to go down so you can redistribute the wealth……

If there is magical pool of money doing nothing, here’s a thought return it to the taxpayers, teachers and non-teachers would then benefit the same….

Its time to get the public-sector unions out of government.

There is no such thing as an exploited government employee.

These public-sector unions are a recipe for lack of accountability, arrogance and tyranny by government employees.

Federal, state and local government is loaded with fraud, waste and abuse.

Public-sector unions are at the rotten core of everything that is wrong with government.

NCG: How does your general mischaracterization of public employees connect in any way with the Lucia Mar situation?

Or are you accusing Lucia Mar’s superintendent/school board of a lack of accountability, arrogance, tyranny, fraud, waste, and abuse?

If so, then I assume that you support the hard-working teachers in their effort to receive equitable compensation.

In that case, thanks!

Three points to clarify for those of you who consider teachers to be greedy when negotiating for higher salaries with their districts.

1). The district has a 14 million dollar reserve that has been built up over many years of denying their teachers their COLA (Cost Of Living Allowance), which the state gives to each district, with the intention that the district administrators will pass it along to their teachers. District administrators NEVER pass it along to their teachers unless the teachers DEMAND that they do. Stockpiling COLA funds is how a superintendent, like Lucia Mar’s, can fund his pet projects, add more administrators and TOSA’s (Teacher On Special Assignment), and keep New Tech High School’s class sizes ridiculously low, while AGHS’s classes are burstin at the seams and the “technology” is so hodge-podge.

2). The district’s offer of 2% and stubborn refusal to budge on it (so far) is a complete insult, given how much the district has in reserve and how much the superintendent and his other 11 district administrators make per year. The teachers are not saying, “Give us 10% or we’ll strike”; they’re saying, “Come back with an offer that is not a slap in the face.” LuciaMar teachers are not compensated nearly as well as their counterparts in Santa Maria, SLO, or Paso Robles, yet their superintendent makes FAR more than any other super in the county.

3). Raising teachers’ salaries does NOT raise your taxes; it simply redistributes (more fairly) the per-pupil money that the district has ALREADY received from the state. This crisis has arisen due to the superintendent’s and school board’s FAILURE to distribute your tax payer dollars in a manner that is equitable and fair to the dedicated professionals who do the actual teaching, day in and day out. They deserve far better than what the district is offering, and the vast majority of parents and students agree. And the superintendent knows it. That’s why they’ll either up their offer later this month, or they’ll do so after a strike, which will forever tarnish the superintendent’s career.

Think it over, Jim. Come back with 4%; the union will say 8%; then you’ll settle on 5% or 6% and everybody will win because nobody wants a strike. But if you don’t budge, they will strike. You can bet your quarter million dollar salary on it.

Hold your ground! Nobody wants to take your jobs without union backing nor are many of them qualified. .

Do you want the school board to cancel the million dollar athletics program and redistribute the athletics money to the teachers?

doglover: Lucia Mar doesn’t have to take one dime away from its athletic programs.

The district already has $14,000,000 in reserve; unfortunately, the superintendent

is choosing to spend an exorbitant amount of money on New Tech High (his pet project),

on numerous and needless district administrators, and on TOSA’s, who used to be in

the classroom actually teaching children but are now scurrying about their schools,

doing the bidding of administrators. Meanwhile, for each former teacher “elevated” to

the useless role of TOSA, the district has hired another Full Time Educator (FTE) to

do the actual teaching, thus diluting the funds that could have been channeled into

better compensation for the FTE’s already employed by the district, long before this

TOSA virus began infecting CA schools. Talk about a total waste of tax payer dollars.

Ok. All jokes and snide comments aside. Our kids went through the Lucia Mar system and are doing very well. The school system was one of the reasons we relocated here. I won’t argue one way or another as to whether the teachers deserve a 10% raise, but I know I wouldn’t work for $61K a year. At least not at this point in my career. But I bet if we as a whole respected teachers more it might go a long way in solving this problem.

I am going to call Lucia Mar and get paid some sweet $$ to sit at a desk and monitor some kids. I am more qualified to determine if little Johnny’s blood glucose is accurate or not. Is that number dangerously low, or can I give him some juice? That has always been a nurse’ s job and not a teacher’s job anyway.

Glad all the social security recipients are weighing in. It’s ok that THEY get an annual COLA to go with their medicare and all that, but teachers can’t ask for fair pay?

I know at my employer, we have had 6.4% in COLAs compared to 14.6% that Social Security recipients have recieved from 2008-2015. I would totally be agreeable to striking. There are lots of nursing jobs to be had.

Old folks don’t seem to realize that a one bedroom apartment in SLO or south county costs about $1050 a month. My parents bought a home in 1978 for $32,000. My dad had nothing but a high school diploma. My mom was a “homemaker”. Their house is paid for, and that house here on the Central Coast would have a sale value today of about $475,000. I wonder if a high school grad and a homemaker by TODAY’S standards have the same opportunities..

If teachers, nurses, firefighters, garbage collectors, etc stop fighting for fair wages, our employers would be totally fine with paying out “Sweat Shop” wages. And yet CEOs, Upper tiered management, make HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS of dollars per year, millions for the CEOs.

It is not that easy to recruit to the Central Coast. Employers are not paying that much for educated people, and the cost of living does not reflect this increase cost.

We need to raise our children to be productive members of society, not deliquents. We need tax payers to cover the costs of old people. A good teacher in a child’s life can be life changing. My personal experience with the Lucia Mar School District has been WONDERFUL. I see these educated professionals try so very hard to meet each family’s needs so kids can be successful.

How about less Panga boats and more fair wages?