No raise for LASD teachers this year

Two-year deal promises 2.5% salary increase in 2019-20

There will be no raises this school year for employees working in the Los Altos School District.

District officials reached a tentative agreement with their two employee unions that does not include any salary increases for the 2018-19 school year, following gloomy budget projections showing the district's reserves drying up in the coming years.

But the agreement, which will be voted on by members of the Los Altos Teachers Association (LATA), does come with a silver lining -- it lasts two years, and provides a 2.5% raise to teachers for the 2019-20 school year. Classified employees would also get a 2% raise in the upcoming school year, Assistant Superintendent Randy Kenyon said at the May 28 school board meeting.

Like past years, the tentative agreement addresses employee raises for the current school year that ends in June, meaning any pay raise would be retroactive to July 1, 2018. Unlike past years, this is the first time the district's teachers didn't get any salary increase -- however small -- since 2011, according to data compiled by the California Department of Education.

Roberta Pyne, a third grade teacher at Oak Elementary School and member of the bargaining team, said teachers will be voting on whether to ratify the agreement in the coming days, and that it will need to win support from a simple majority of teachers. Though the focus was based largely on salaries, she said teachers have a vested interest in future changes to health care payments and work conditions.

"We have created more time for teacher-directed planning, which is very important for us to complete our job," Pyne said.

While LATA representatives have praised the strong labor relations between district administrators and Los Altos teachers and acknowledge the district's financial constraints, salaries in the district continue to fall behind neighboring school districts -- and fall even farther behind the rising cost of living. Teachers' salaries range from $55,116 to $105,105 depending on education level and tenure in a county where the median income for a family of four is $125,200.

At a teacher town hall meeting last year, Los Altos teachers told stories of tight budgets, long commutes and big compromises in quality of life just to make ends meet. A kindergarten teacher at Almond said she moved back in with her parents, while an art teacher in the district described spending half of her salary on a mortgage and sleeping on a couch so her son could have the only bedroom. Multiple teachers described how two hours of commuting each day takes a toll on their ability to participate in after-school activities and spend time with students.

But granting even the 2.5% raise in the upcoming school year is spending down money -- about $700,000 -- that the district can barely afford. Prior to discussing the tentative labor agreements, the district's Citizens' Advisory Committee for Finance presented troubling data showing the district is in a "weak financial position" despite several years of strong property tax growth. Barring cuts or new sources of money, deficit spending in the district is projected through 2022 even without employee raises.

Part of the problem is that the district's budget hasn't grown nearly at the same rate as other districts serving Mountain View residents. Since 2015, the neighboring Mountain View Whisman School District has seen its annual revenues rise by 23%, from just under $62 million in the 2015-16 school year to $76 million today. The Los Altos School District, by comparison, remained flat over the same period, from $65.7 million to $66.6 million in total annual revenue.

Mountain View Whisman's teachers have received raises averaging 5.7% since the 2014-15 school year, compared with 2.6% for Los Altos teachers.

School board members are expected to vote to finalize the tentative agreement on June 10.

What is democracy worth to you?
Support local journalism.


1 person likes this
Posted by Bored M
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 31, 2019 at 12:10 pm

The economy is doing terrific, land values haven't stopped going up for about a decade and teachers will have to go without raises? Great job, LASD! Any teacher in LASD, good or bad, should be leave in protest. There are plenty of teaching jobs and from what's reported above, it's pretty easy to be treated better.

4 people like this
Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on May 31, 2019 at 2:25 pm

LongResident is a registered user.

There is a signficiant data error in this article. LASD's revenues back in 2015-2016 were similar to MVWSD's, not more. They were $60.1M versus the $64.0M reported in the story ($61.8M for MVWSD). $64M was the LASD revenue just last year 2017-18. So LASD's revenues increased 10.8% over the period vs MVWSD's increase pf 23%.

But there's more to the situation. MVWSD saw a change from 5094 to 5110 in enrollment, so about flat. But LASD went from 4638 students to 4246, a drop of 8% in the number of students. On a per student basis, the changes were about the same. LASD gets $15.7K per student now and MVWSD gets $14.9K per student. Back in 2015-16, LASD got $13K per student and MVWSD got $12.2K per student. In both school years LASD drew in $800 more per student. So LASD per student revenue increased 20.8% and MVWSD increased 22.1%

The district with more to worry about is MVWSD. Neither district's revenues go up based on an increase in enrollment. MVWSD is more likely than LASD to see an increase in students going forward. LASD actually dropped off. MVWSD was flat. In the next few years with added housing units and added affordable BMR units, the effect will be felt more in MVWSD.

By the way, Dataquest teacher staffing numbers aren't out for this year yet, but last year MVWSD was at 289 and LASD was at 259. MVWSD had 17% more students than LASD but only 11.6% more teachers. That's the reason they can more easily afford raises even with less funding per student. It will be interesting to see the teacher staffing levels that were in effect this year 2018-19.

Like this comment
Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on May 31, 2019 at 2:41 pm

LongResident is a registered user.

Since last year, LASD's enrollment declined by 157, and MVWSD's declined by 22. I'd imagine MVWSD kept the same number of teachers this year, and LASD should have reduced by a few teachers with 157 fewer students. That's why seeing this year's actual teacher staffing numbers would be informative.

Like this comment
Posted by Kevin Forestieri
Mountain View Voice Staff Writer
on May 31, 2019 at 2:58 pm

Kevin Forestieri is a registered user.


Thanks for raising your concerns. Total revenues for 2015-16 (documented in the link below on page 10) was actually $65,703,970 that year, rather than the the originally reported $64,293,529. Turns out the latter figure was for expenditures that year, and there is a discrepancy between the two. The story has been updated.

Web Link

Like this comment
Posted by Overpaid
a resident of Monta Loma
on May 31, 2019 at 3:06 pm

Teachers have been overpaid. It's about time they stop increasing their salary. Most teachers I know in the area are paid an average of $100K per year, and they work about 25 hours per week max, plus summer off, plus 20 days off in December, plus Winter break, plus Spring break....cry me a river!!!

Like this comment
Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on May 31, 2019 at 4:27 pm

LongResident is a registered user.

The numbers that should be used to compare districts and to compare revenues from year to year are the ones reported to the CDE and displayed in Dataquest. Technical accounting concerns cause LASD to list in their budget money as "operating revenues" which actually result from transfering between various separate funds. In 2015-16 they made a lot of transfers from the Building Fund which are always very inconsistent from year to year. See page 109 of the PDF (numbered 103) for the extreme variability of the Building fund uses from year to year. Basically both building and capital funds are long term funds drawn on for work which has a long useful lifetime, not really operating expenses.

8 people like this
Posted by @ Overpaid
a resident of another community
on May 31, 2019 at 5:51 pm

Are you kidding me?!?!? You think teachers work 25 hours per week? Maybe at Monta Loma (I’ve been there, maybe that is true). At our LASD school our current elementary school teacher works 7-7, is always upbeat, happy, and the kids absolutely adore her. She’s a gem but the school is filled with them. She also works many sundays. So, that’s about 70 hours if she goes home on time one day.
This is the kind of respect MVWSD gives their teachers from the top down, which may be one of the reasons for the turnover.

4 people like this
Posted by ResidentSince1892
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 31, 2019 at 7:21 pm

ResidentSince1892 is a registered user.

“Overpaid” must earn by the hour for shoveling BS out of a bull pen. Unfortunately many many cranks in the post Reagan era believe that teachers and other hard working public sectors employees are not deserving of competitive pay rates. What a mindless maroon. “Overpaid” sounds like the disgruntled “tech” workers who post here making $80K per year when the average among local “tech” workers is more like $125K. Hey, guess what: your n=1 experience is “exceptional” — buck up, pardner

8 people like this
Posted by Tech pay
a resident of another community
on May 31, 2019 at 9:03 pm

Actually I think a lot of tech pay is $250k-300k with stock options around here. Which is much more than half of teachers. Who work much more than 3x 25 hours. The disrespect of teachers is just beyond me. I’m sure Overpaid doesn’t want to spend his whole day teaching 22 kids!

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

All your news. All in one place. Every day.

Why is it becoming increasingly impossible to open a restaurant on the Peninsula?
By Elena Kadvany | 27 comments | 5,208 views

Electric Buses: A case study
By Sherry Listgarten | 3 comments | 2,231 views

Helping Partners Become Couples (vs. Helping Couples Become Partners)
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 600 views

Sugar Detective
By Laura Stec | 2 comments | 294 views



On Friday, October 11, join us at the Palo Alto Baylands for a 5K walk, 5K run, 10K run or half marathon! All proceeds benefit local nonprofits serving children and families.

Register now