Wage Dispute Heads to Fact Finding
The District’s failure to address the shortage of teachers in our District is reaching crisis proportions as our wage dispute heads to fact finding. Under fact finding, the Union and the District each appoint a representative who together with a neutral third party forms a fact-finding panel. The fact-finding panel hears presentations from both sides then makes a recommendation, which neither party is obligated to accept. Once the fact-finding panel has made it recommendation, the union then has the legal right to engage in a strike. On a separate track, the union may also take collective action if the District is undertaking unlawfully activities like bargaining in bad faith.
The number of posted vacancies in the District has swelled to over 150, with more expected as educators look leave Sac City for surrounding districts where salary schedules are as much as 30% higher. The number of vacancies will also increase as more teachers retire between now and the beginning of the new school year.
In the meantime, while the District continues to report improved finances, the elected board is dragging its feet on making wages for credentialed teachers in Sac City more competitive.
For example, the board accepted a second interim budget on March 18, 2016, that includes a report that the District has spent $3.6 million less on staff salaries and benefits, primarily because the District is using less costly substitutes to fill open vacancies. The District is still reporting it has $12 million it still has not allocated how to spend.
In short, more and more students are in classrooms lacking fully certificated educators, while the District is in the best financial position it has been in in its history.