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Recruiting and Retaining Teachers in Sac City

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Sac City Needs to Recruit and Retain Teachers
How and Why the District Should Raise Wages Immediately   
Two weeks before school started this summer, our District had more than fifty teacher vacancies to fill:  23 in general education and 28 in special education.  Six weeks into the school year, vacancies remain. Perhaps the biggest recruiting impediment is the lack of competitive wages our District pays teachers.
To make things worse, several well-respected, experienced and dedicated teachers left the District to take positions in neighboring districts.
Why?  For some it was because class sizes in neighboring districts are lower.  For example, at Elk Grove K-3 classes are already at 24 to 1.
For most, however, it’s because pay for educators at Sac City is well below regional and statewide standards.
The graph below shows comparable wage data from 2013-14 (the most recent year available).  Sac City teachers at Step 12 (just as one example) earn 12 to 26% less than teachers in Elk Grove, Folsom-Cordova, and San Juan.
Including more recent wage settlements,  Sac City teachers are even further behind:  from 18 to 31% below area standards.
Unfortunately, the District also fails to measure up when compared statewide.  Looking at the twenty-five districts in California that have 30,000 or more students, Sac City is 24th out of 25th when compared to other teachers at Step 12.  As the graph below shows, Sac City teachers are paid 49% below Anaheim and 18% lower than even Fresno.
Ironically, after trying to attack our benefits for the past year, the District is now trying to justify paying lower wages because of how good our benefits are and now argue that those benefits help to attract and retain teachers in the District.  We agree that our benefits are good and should be left alone, but the District’s argument regarding wages is not supported by the facts.
Even including the cost of benefits, the average Sac City teacher lags behind the average Elk Grove teacher by 10%, Folsom Cordova by 5.4% and San Juan by 10%.
If teachers are paid below market, how does the District treat top administrators?
Of the 25 comparable statewide districts, Sac City is in the top third (7th out of 25th) on the percentage of District’s budget spent on Administrators’ salaries.  See the graph below.
Even more pointedly, while Sac City teachers are the lowest paid among the school districts in Sacramento County, our superintendent–at $290,000 per year–is the highest paid, earning from 7 to 18% more than his counterparts.
 
The District’s vastly improved economic status provides a real opportunity to correct these misplaced priorities.
The District is in the best financial position it has been in for a generation.
This year alone the District will receive an increase of more than $45 million in revenue over and above last year.  $29 million out of that $45 million are ongoing, rather than one-time, dollars.
While we were both surprised and disappointed that the District rejected our proposal to accelerate class size reduction, our re-opener on wage enhancements gives the District the opportunity to begin to address the significant teacher recruitment and retention crisis.
It’s time for the District to do the right thing; it clearly has the resources to do so.
We have proposed to the District an immediate five percent (5%) wage increase, retroactive to July 1, 2015, a proposal that we believe is both fair and reasonable and one that the District can afford.
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