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Impasse in teacher salary talks

Original post made on Sep 24, 2014

Tension between the Mountain View Whisman School District and its teachers union has reached a tipping point. The Mountain View Educators Association reported today that the district and the teachers union are at an impasse, and that teachers will no longer work outside of their contract hours while they await mediation.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, September 24, 2014, 1:52 PM

Comments (119)

13 people like this
Posted by Greg Coladonato
a resident of Slater
on Sep 24, 2014 at 2:32 pm

Greg Coladonato is a registered user.

We want sunshine, not being kept in the dark. Give us sunshine on October 2nd.

Open Letter to the MVWSD Board of Trustees

Dear Trustees,

I strongly suggest that you call a Special Meeting in the immediate future to explain what this “negotiating impasse” means for District schools, students, teachers, and families, and to justify the District’s negotiating position with hard numbers and budget projections. Next Thursday, October 2nd, at 6 PM would be an ideal day and time to hold this meeting, if not sooner; it is a normal Board Meeting date and time which happens to be available.

The District’s positions on key negotiating terms should be “sunshined”, that is, clearly explained in public, open sessions, as soon as possible. This is a core element of good public governance. We should not have to rely on our local newspaper for critical information about our school district’s operations. The Community has the right to hear how the District’s negotiating position stems from the District’s Strategic Goals, displayed on the walls throughout the District Office as well as on the cover of every Board meeting agenda packet. I would also invite the teachers’ union, the Mountain View Educators Association, to explain their own values at this Special Meeting, and how their current negotiating position is grounded in these values, and how the district’s position is incompatible with these values.

As the article states, for several weeks now, multitudes of parents and teachers have been in attendance at District Board meetings, expressing their displeasure with current district policies. The MVEA circulated a flyer asserting that teacher pay in the MVWSD is ranked 26th out of 32 school districts in Santa Clara county.

Many in our community were surprised to hear this. The Administration may have been surprised as well, as Superintendent Goldman remarked publicly: "I'm hearing that we're at the bottom. But what I've seen is that we've been moving up, and moving up steadily. And I don't know when there's a statement in a flyer that says we're 26th out of 32 Santa Clara County districts, I don't know what data point is being used. We're a data driven district. I don't know if that's the lowest salary, the highest salary, 10 years plus 60." (Source: Web Link)

The District circulated a table showing how teacher pay compares to a subset of districts in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. The two datasets don’t seem to correspond at all. And neither one shows the monetary value of the benefits the Superintendent Goldman asserts are among the best in the county.

During the board meeting of September 18th, after an hour-long closed session discussion of ongoing negotiations, the only explanations given to the audience of 100 or more people were “I hope this doesn’t carry over beyond when we wrap up negations, which I hope will be very soon, we’ve got some really good offers on the table,” and "I don’t know if the public’s aware, but because there are ongoing negotiations, we are limited in what we can say about this issue."

These sentiments are well intentioned but not sufficient.

For anyone who needs reminding, it is not a breach of negotiating confidentiality to explain the negotiating positions one has taken, or the reasoning for those positions. Our publicly-elected Board has a duty to explain its position on these matters directly to the electorate, and why the district’s methodology is the right one.

Furthermore, I don’t believe Superintendent Goldman’s claim in this article that the union “has decided to terminate the negotiation process.” is correct. Negotiations actually do continue during impasse and fact-finding (Source, see slides 39 and 44 of Web Link).

The MVWSD Community deserves to not be kept in the dark any longer, and the information this negotiation is centered on should be “sunshined” immediately.

Yours in good governance,
Greg Coladonato
Candidate for School Board


7 people like this
Posted by Not representing the community as you should
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 24, 2014 at 2:47 pm

Mr. Goldman makes over $200K per year.


10 people like this
Posted by Alan Wessel
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 24, 2014 at 2:53 pm

Does Craig Goldman really want us to believe he was surprised to find out that teacher salaries would be a major issue in negotiations this year? That comment makes all of his other remarks suspect!

The district made it through many tough years in great financial shape and I commend him for this, but this was not just his financial acumen. During these lean years our teachers helped carry this financial burden. Now it is time for the district to step up and adjust salaries to a competitive level.

I fully support the teachers on this and hold the School Board and Goldman responsible for the current impasse. Unfortunately, all of our children (I have two in the district) will bear the burden of any work-to-rule slow-downs.

Craig Goldman has been a polarizing figure and has completely alienated teachers (and parents) by his comments at the Sept 4 Board meeting. (Watch for yourself; the video posted on the District website.) I strongly urge the School Board to ask him to recuse himself from future negotiations. In the past the Superintendent has not participated in such negotiations and I feel his presence is currently quite counterproductive.

Resolving this issue is the number one concern I have for this school year. I call upon the Board to make it theirs as well.


5 people like this
Posted by MVWSD Parent
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 24, 2014 at 3:08 pm

I just received an email from Superintendent Goldman with details of his position. Just posting here for information, not an endorsement of any info or position.

===========================================

Dear MVWSD Parents, Students, and Community Members,

Today, the Mountain View Educators Association (MVEA) declared impasse in negotiations between MVEA and the Mountain View Whisman School District. This declaration was made following an offer from the District that would have enabled many teachers to see an increase of 9 to 11% over their 2013-14 salaries.

The District’s offer included several components. In addition to automatic raises that teachers have already received as a result of credit for years of service (up to 6.56%), educational units (1% for every 5 semester units), and the District’s CalSTRS pension contribution (increase of 0.63%), the District offered an ongoing 3.25% cost of living raise (retroactive to the start of the school year) and an annual $1,000 stipend for a teacher with any of the following: (1) a masters degree, (2) National Board certification, (3) an assignment requiring bilingual or special education certification, or (4) an instructional coaching assignment. This $1,000 stipend translates to a raise of 1.1% to 2.0%, depending upon the individual teacher.

MVEA and the District began negotiating revisions to their current agreement last spring, but salary negotiations have been limited to a meeting on September 5 and today’s session. On September 5, the District’s last proposal included an ongoing 3% cost of living raise beginning October 1 and a one-time payment equal to 1.2% of each teacher’s base salary. MVEA rejected the offer and proposed a 7% cost of living raise and a $1,000 master’s stipend.

The District did not propose any concessions with respect to benefits. The District continues to cover the cost of health benefit premiums on the following basis: (1) 95% for single party, (2) 90% for two-party, and (3) 85% for families. This can result in a District contribution of over $24,000 per teacher.

The District began today’s session by increasing its offer as specified above. MVEA chose not to make a counteroffer, instead declaring an impasse in negotiations.

District administration is disappointed that MVEA, at the direction of California Teachers Association (CTA), has decided to terminate the negotiation process. We had hoped to reach an agreement today, and we don’t understand why MVEA chose not to continue to bargain.

MVEA will submit the impasse petition to the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB), which will certify that the parties are at impasse and then appoint a neutral mediator from the State Mediation and Conciliation Service. The District welcomes the assistance of a state mediator, who will meet with the District and MVEA and objectively review the bargaining positions of the parties in an attempt to find common ground and reach an agreement. Should the impasse not be resolved in mediation, a fact-finding panel would be appointed to analyze proposals and the District’s budget.

In addition to declaring impasse, MVEA has also stated that they will start “work-to-rule” beginning this Monday. Because our agreement with MVEA is based upon the concept of a “professional workday,” and the professional responsibilities of our teachers extend beyond the time they are expected to be on the school site, it is not clear what “work-to-rule” means. The president of MVEA has communicated that teachers will not be coaching after school, not attending District committees, not taking school work home, and not working in the Beyond the Bell program. We encourage parents to be in communication with any extended day programs, and to be prepared to adjust schedules, as necessary.

The District has made it clear that it is committed to attracting and retaining a diverse, effective, and caring workforce, including teachers, classified staff, and management. The District seeks to work collaboratively with its employee associations in order to provide competitive, equitable, and sustainable salaries and benefits, and it is particularly proud of the improvements it has made over the past four years as other districts were cutting salaries and implementing furloughs and program cuts. The District has a long history of successful negotiations with the Mountain View Educators Association. Unfortunately, this year appears to reflect a change in tactics by CTA, which has demonstrated a statewide focus on public school district reserves.

Nevertheless, we look forward to a speedy resolution of any remaining contractual differences between MVEA and the District. In the meantime, we will do our best to minimize the impact on our students and families, and we deeply apologize for any inconvenience this situation might cause.

Sincerely,
Craig Goldman
Superintendent


11 people like this
Posted by unfortunate
a resident of another community
on Sep 24, 2014 at 3:53 pm

It is so unfortunate that Mr. Goldman can't seem to tell the truth. A step and column increase is something that school districts negotiate with their teachers and cannot be counted as a "pay raise." I seem to recall the union saying something about Mr. Goldman receiving automatically a 5% increase. What other perks does he receive? Why is he paid so much more than other superintendents?


14 people like this
Posted by MVWSD Parent
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 24, 2014 at 5:51 pm

Generally, I think we should be paying the MVWSD teachers more. However, to judge the details, I would like to see more information:
-- Where would the 3.25% increase put the MVWSD teachers relative to the other school districts (I understand that they are currently in the range of 23-31 out of 33 rankings)? Where would the 7% increase put them?
-- Is there a total compensation ranking? Are there benefits that MVWSD offers that other school districts do not or vis versa?
-- How much would the 3.25% vs 7% increase affect the overall MVWSD budget? Would we start using reserves to pay this increase?
-- What are the long term impacts on pensions?

I think this would help put the negotiations in perspective and make it clear whether the MVWSD is being prudent or excessively tight with the teacher salaries.


5 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 24, 2014 at 6:03 pm

Ah - the elusive truth. As if there were just one. Mr. Goldman does make 2 1/4 time the Total Compensation (TCOE) of his highest paid teachers (those with over 10 years experience in this district.) Is that reasonable? Is it of issue in this matter? Goldman was voted a contract increasing his base salary by 5% within the last year (with automatic increases, 2% or so, for the following two years of his contract). I was the lone Trustee vote AGAINST that contract.
A 3.25% salary scale contract increase does exactly that, the 16 year teacher (like the Teacher of the Year from Crittenden, who talked to us Trustees) would get a 3.25% salary increase, a corresponding pension contribution increase (+ the District's state mandated increase on that rate 0.63%). So, a 16 yr exemplary teacher would get 3.25% (none more next year) and the Superintendent 5% (guaranteed 2% more next two years). Each also looses, a small % to their increased pension contributions each year (mandated).
Mr. Goldman is sadly and truly misinformed if he thinks locals of the CTA are controlled. This union local, like the San Jose Unified CTA local, votes and acts as THEY choose. It is as utterly foolish - and disrespectful of truth - for Mr. Goldman to say MVEA is controlled by CTA, as it would be for me to say "Goldman is controlled by the Association of California School Administrators".
Mr. Goldman, could be removed from the MVWSD negotiating team - by a simple majority vote of the Trustees.
Steven Nelson is an elected Trustee of the MVWSD, and did not get pre-approval from Board President Lambert to write this, his own opinion.


11 people like this
Posted by MVWSD Parent
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 24, 2014 at 6:22 pm

I don't think Goldman's compensation is excessive or particularly relevant to this discussion. It is excessive that corporate CEOs make 300 times the average employee salary, but 2 1/4 times does not seem terribly excessive. However, I do think teachers should be paid more -- especially as local cost of living has risen significantly. The question is what the MVWSD can prudently afford? More information would be helpful in judging that.


16 people like this
Posted by frustrated parent
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Sep 24, 2014 at 8:06 pm

Mr. Goldman's letter to district parents was indeed misleading and unfortunately he has the 'advantage' in that many of the parents will read only HIS side of the story. I, too, would be thrilled with a 9-11% pay increase. But that is NOT what is being offered. The 6.56% earned for additional years of service and 1% for furthering their own education as teachers are in the existing framework, not a newly-offered incentive as Mr. Goldman is claiming.

Board of Trustees, you've allowed Mr. Goldman an awful lot of freedom in the process thus far. The time to right this ship is NOW, before even more damage is done.


8 people like this
Posted by another frustrated parent
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 24, 2014 at 8:34 pm

To all parties involved,

Knock off the public drama, and get back to the negotiating table. A 3.75% difference is not worth bringing school families into it.

In the meantime, I would appreciate our children continuing to receive their right to a public school education.

Thank You.


7 people like this
Posted by fire them
a resident of North Whisman
on Sep 24, 2014 at 8:55 pm

Teachers are being paid at a professional's salary level, but will only work their 30 hours/week?? Not grading student homework and tests?! The administration should ensure that each teacher keeps up with their work and if they don't, initiate termination proceedings. Bring in new, younger and more passionate teachers. They will be cheaper too! Win-Win!


8 people like this
Posted by member
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 24, 2014 at 9:35 pm

I am angry that the the union did not offer a counter to the district's 3.25% increase, but instead terminated the process, that doesn't seem to be negotiating in good faith. I'm appalled they are so self-centered to take their fight out on children and providing quality education. I would like to see the teachers get a reasonable increase that doesn't put the district in fiscal jeopardy, but not at the expense of children.


8 people like this
Posted by RealityCheck
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 24, 2014 at 9:51 pm

Member- the MVEA did not terminate the process. Mr. Goldman is quite mistaken. Impasse simply changes the parties involved- a third party (the state) to review the numbers and arguments. The teachers must be confident in their position, which mind you is not self-centered. The only MVWSD teachers I know are dedicated, passionate, and selfless. Compared to recent agreements by Districts in Los Altos and San Mateo (10% and 7%), the MVEA is more realistic in this economic landscape. 3.25 from 3%? Furthermore, regarding counter offers, there must be more to the story here. Wasn't that obvious? Perhaps it would be prudent to temper reactions while waiting for a response by the MVEA.


3 people like this
Posted by ba
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 24, 2014 at 10:06 pm

> Compared to recent agreements by Districts in Los Altos and San Mateo (10% and 7%), the MVEA is more realistic in this economic landscape.

So I support the teachers, but nobody knows the details of the negotiations except for those directly involved in the meetings, so one cannot grab a number from another district and compare it against ours. We have no idea from what salary range Los Altos and San Mateo started. Could be that they were extra low to begin with, hence 10% and 7% were justified in those particular districts.


9 people like this
Posted by Kevin Bourrillion
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Sep 24, 2014 at 10:18 pm

"member", please spare us the tired "taking it out on the children" argument.

As if devoting your career to the cause of teaching our children means you should give up the right to stand up for yourself and what YOU deserve anymore. That's an incredibly disturbing idea.

And it's senseless to lay all the blame for the impasse on one side of the table. It takes two to agree, and it takes two to disagree.


8 people like this
Posted by another frustrated parent
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 24, 2014 at 10:18 pm

RealityCheck, I'm sorry, but by going to a "work to rule" mode, the teachers have done more than just change the parties involved in the negotiation. They've brought our kids, and parents, into it. One can only assume that after-hours e-mail communication, which is a key part of parent-teacher communication these days, is off-limits. Many of us would love to support teacher pay, but these kind of tactics stink.


12 people like this
Posted by Kevin Bourrillion
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Sep 24, 2014 at 10:26 pm

Isn't it strange how Goldman closes with "we deeply apologize for any inconvenience this situation might cause" ... after just having finished *taking zero responsibility* whatsoever for his part in the situation?

My 8-year-old does that.


18 people like this
Posted by Sad Teacher
a resident of another community
on Sep 24, 2014 at 10:45 pm

I have been teaching at MVWSD for 10 years now. The 6+ percent raise in the step and column that Mr. Goldman refers to doesn't apply to me (or any teachers who have been teaching for more than ten years.) I didn't receive any raise between this year and last. It is very important that this be know. The jump that he refers to from the last negotiations and this is a .25% increase. The offer went from 3% COA to 3.25% COA. My rent went up so much in the past three years that I was forced to move to San Jose and now have an up to one hour commute home each day.
Please also let it be known that NO ONE hate the Work to Rule more than the teachers. We became teachers because we want what's best for the students not for the money and today was a day of mourning when we realized what we are being pushed into doing. If you are a parent, please please be understanding of what the teachers must do and don't think for one second it isn't hurting us.
PS: The teacher salary schedule is public knowledge, so you are welcome to see these giant raises Mr. Goldman talks about all of the teachers getting for yourselves.


15 people like this
Posted by Frustrated Parent
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Sep 24, 2014 at 11:00 pm

Let us remember these teachers are not seeking a raise, but compensation for their time. I was at a school yesterday and saw several teachers leaving at 7:00. When I asked them why they were around so late. The y said Oh we always have to work late to get prepared for our daily lessons." Again, it 's the district who implements programs, and the teachers who have to spend extra time to prep for the use of these programs. Give the teachers a fair compensation for their time.


15 people like this
Posted by MVmom
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 24, 2014 at 11:01 pm

Earlier today I received a very disturbing email from Craig Goldman. He basically put the whole incident on the teachers and took none of the blame for the situation. I was at last week's board meeting when he apologized for his irrational behavior at a meeting before and said that he didn't want any of us to think that he did not support teachers. His letter today was completely contradictory to his speech. Maybe Steve Nelson is right. Maybe if we could remove him and start fresh, then my children's teachers could get the respect they deserve. I stand with the teachers and will help in any way that I can to help them during this stressful time.


4 people like this
Posted by Kevin Bourrillion
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Sep 24, 2014 at 11:08 pm

Indeed. That email, btw, is quoted above as comment #4 to this article.


11 people like this
Posted by Parent_of_3
a resident of North Whisman
on Sep 24, 2014 at 11:13 pm

It's ironic how these people in power were once educated by teachers such as the ones that are currently being underpaid, especially in our district. These are the same people who once educated and motivated children that go on to be influential individuals that mold into Doctors, Lawyers, Engineers, businessmen, and every other high-paying salaried individuals that you can think of. Has it not been for these "heroes" of society, the same ones who lead our children to the right path of education and inspire us to do our best, none of these people in power would be there today. Teachers are the greatest people in the world. To be self-serving to our children 5 days a week is not an easy task and takes a lot of patience from all age levels. This is the harsh reality that I always hear about that teachers are being underpaid, yet these same individuals love what they do and are humble human beings. We all know that it's unrealistic to lock-down salaries and be contented, but when other factors drive up the price around us, salaries have to be increased as well. Everybody wants more of this and more of that, which in turn affects everyone else around us. It's a never-ending battle and will never cease to any sort of satisfaction or limitation point. The level of education in our city is one of the best in the area. We should be damn proud of preserving it too!! It's time to come to a fair negotiation between the highs and the lows and we should put the money aside to good use- invest it into our teachers and in turn will be passed onto our children. The real investment is not only from a money stand-point, but from the quality and result of education our children will inherit from happy teachers.


11 people like this
Posted by thewholestory
a resident of Shoreline West
on Sep 24, 2014 at 11:14 pm

Mr. Goldman is playing with words. Negotiations began last year and included several meetings in which compensation was discussed. At those meetings, the union attempted to negotiate. When Mr. Goldman states in his email (shared by MVWSD parent) that the union went to an impasse after only two meetings, he is being less than honest. He is only counting this year's negotiation meetings. He is discounting the several meetings that occurred last year in which he made no attempt to negotiate in good faith. Mr. Goldman--tell the whole story!


17 people like this
Posted by Parent from Landels
a resident of Willowgate
on Sep 24, 2014 at 11:14 pm

With the wealth gap increasing, and many in Silicon Valley reaping the benefits of that wealth; I find it disturbing that our teachers are not paid well. What this article and many of the comments do not mention is that are many charter and private schools on the Peninsula that are pulling students from the MVWSD. The competition for good teachers (and we have some great teachers at Landels) is fierce, and the ridiculous housing prices makes it impossible for teachers, police, firefighters and many community members to stay within the community. Many teachers live in other districts and must commute along busy freeways--they are taking time away from their families to educate our children. The district representatives need to wake up and appreciate our teachers with more than words.

Wondering how supportive Mr. Caldanado is of our teachers if he doesn't send his children to his neighborhood schools?


14 people like this
Posted by mr_b
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 24, 2014 at 11:47 pm

@MVWSD Parent
"I don't think Goldman's compensation is excessive or particularly relevant to this discussion. It is excessive that corporate CEOs make 300 times the average employee salary, but 2 1/4 times does not seem terribly excessive."
Please don't compare publicly funded positions with privately funded ones: apples and oranges. Performance and compensation of public employees in leadership positions, including harmony with the staff they lead, is part of the discussion.

@another frustrated parent
"Knock off the public drama, and get back to the negotiating table. A 3.75% difference is not worth bringing school families into it."
Clearly you've not tried to live in Silicon Valley, much less Mountain View, on a teachers salary with a family to support. There's plenty of drama when you are trying to pay your own bills, support your own children, AND put your own money into the classroom for supplies not provided by the district or donations. Your comment is dripping with a lack of empathy; I urge you to reconsider your tone.

@fire them
"Teachers are being paid at a professional's salary level, but will only work their 30 hours/week?? Not grading student homework and tests?!"
You clearly don't understand work-to-rule.
"The administration should ensure that each teacher keeps up with their work and if they don't, initiate termination proceedings. Bring in new, younger and more passionate teachers."
Not sure if bringing in inexperienced teachers is the answer - especially at the salary schedule's lowest step and column. They won't be able to afford here for long and you'll just end up with another batch of new and inexperienced teachers. But if that's how you propose supporting a community ... prepare for plunging home values.

@ba
"We have no idea from what salary range Los Altos and San Mateo started."
Salary schedules are available on district websites and if you can't access previous schedules or data about them you can easily do the math on current schedules to arrive at the previous values.

@another frustrated parent:
"...by going to a "work to rule" mode, the teachers have done more than just change the parties involved in the negotiation. They've brought our kids, and parents, into it."
And by doing so they remind everyone what time they put into the job outside of contracted hours. This is a clear sign of teacher frustration. To not let that trickle out to the community is what they've been doing for a while. It's probably more fair to say this move by MVEA is more of a surprise to the community than it could have been, but then we don't know all that went on in the negotiations.

@Sad Teacher
"We became teachers because we want what's best for the students not for the money and today was a day of mourning when we realized what we are being pushed into doing."
The teachers I know *do* worry about money and did so when they chose the profession. Teachers I know also would discourage people from entering the profession right now because of the increased difficulties new teachers will face including financial stress. A bachelors degree with a post-graduate teaching credential doesn't pay in Santa Clara County and the pittance of $1k extra for a masters degree ... just plain embarrassing. I'm sad for the teachers in being pushed into making the community aware of their plight this way, but the wider and mostly-uninformed community needs to feel what value teachers bring in to the classroom beyond their professional contract. Yes, most teachers don't like work-to-rule, but they've also quietly turned the other cheek so many times...

@Parent_of_3
"It's ironic how these people in power were once educated by teachers..."
It's ironic how the Superintendent used to be a teacher.
"... when other factors drive up the price around us, salaries have to be increased as well."
Wouldn't it be nice if there was some source of funding, like property taxes, that would scale and provide that income? Too bad Prop 13 took care of that.

@Parent from Landels
"...ridiculous housing prices makes it impossible for teachers, police, firefighters and many community members..."
Starting salaries for a:
- MV police officer: ~$87,912 + overtime
- MV fire fighter/paramedic: ~$88,644 + overtime
- MVWSD teacher: ~$47,808 + fixed stipends, no overtime
With the maximum salary for a MVWSD teacher (step 19, max units & MA) at ~$88,217.76 you begin to approach the starting salaries of the others.
Just who is better positioned to live here? Do you think teachers put in less of an effort?

@Craig Goldman, Superintendent
"Because our agreement with MVEA is based upon the concept of a "professional workday," and the professional responsibilities of our teachers extend beyond the time they are expected to be on the school site, it is not clear what "work-to-rule" means."
As you earned a law degree and spent many years in the classroom, you should have a better idea of what work-to-rule means. Maybe you meant you don't know what form it will take by the MVEA membership on Monday, but it's interesting you are hinting at your teaching staff as being unprofessional before work-to-rule has even begun. Maybe you are trying to limit extremism, in which case: fair enough. OR maybe you are trying to frame your opponents (the entire teaching staff?!) as unprofessional which would be bad form and doesn't engender any faith in your leadership.


6 people like this
Posted by fire them
a resident of Whisman Station
on Sep 25, 2014 at 2:10 am

Mr. B wrote:
"Starting salaries for a:
- MV police officer: ~$87,912 + overtime
- MV fire fighter/paramedic: ~$88,644 + overtime
- MVWSD teacher: ~$47,808 + fixed stipends, no overtime
With the maximum salary for a MVWSD teacher (step 19, max units & MA) at ~$88,217.76 you begin to approach the starting salaries of the others.
Just who is better positioned to live here? Do you think teachers put in less of an effort?"

Absolutely teachers put in less of an effort than the police, fire fighters, and paramedics. Are you KIDDING ME? Almost anyone can become a teacher, but there is some serious vetting for cops. Firefighters have even a higher bar. They are both very dangerous jobs to hold and any mistakes they make could result in lives lost. Not only themselves and their co-workers, but the general public. So, of course peace and safety officers should be paid more. A LOT more.

But, it seems that teachers want to be paid the same? That makes no sense.

By the way, the police and fire are constantly evaluated, graded and tested. Very tight supervision. Contrast that with teachers. They pretty much have carte blanche to do what they want and only fairly recently has there been any attempt to objectively measure performance. Of course, that is met with extreme resistance by the unions. Or, even worse, the teachers are training the students to do better on the standardized tests, rather than improving their teaching skills and delivery. What a crock! (Of course, they blame the testing for this, rather than their own laziness.)

So, yes... teachers' current pay is fair.




4 people like this
Posted by Educated Parent
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Sep 25, 2014 at 4:17 am

It's good to see Goldman putting forth stipends of teachers with MA degrees and national board certifications. My bet is that the union is against those professional incentives since they only reward teachers that seek to improve themselves in structured degree and national board programs. Currently teachers can earn units and higher pay by just by attending conferences--no tests, no research involved. Higher pay should go to teachers with higher credentials directly related to their profession and not just college units beyond their BA degree.


10 people like this
Posted by EducatedTeacher
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 25, 2014 at 6:02 am

Educated Parent needs to be educated on the fact that it was MVEA, the teachers, that asked for MA stipends. They've been asking this for years as MVWSD ranks 32 of 32 in the County for incentives/stipends for a Masters. Educate yourself and look it up. This was provided by Trustee Chiang's comments on 9/8. Goldman was always against "putting forth stipends" as you say. There is your education. Thank you.


16 people like this
Posted by Jonathan Pharazyn
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 25, 2014 at 6:34 am

Below are quotes from the superintendent's message to parents. Then the reality from the MVEA's perspective.

"Today, the Mountain View Educators Association (MVEA) declared impasse following an offer from the Mountain View Whisman School District (District) that would have enabled many teachers to see an increase of 9 to 11% over their 2013-14 salaries."

MVEA: An increase of 9 to 11% is complete deception. He is padding his “offer” by including step and column increases from the existing framework.

"The District’s offer included several components."

MVEA: The District’s offer is two components: (1) 3.25% increase (2) $1000 advance degree stipend, which was a proposal by the MVEA.

"In addition to automatic raises that teachers have already received as a result of credit for years of service (up to 6.56%), educational units (1% for every 5 semester units), and the District’s CalSTRS pension contribution (increase of 0.63%)"

MVEA: These are part of the existing framework, not new as Goldman is suggesting.


"the District offered an ongoing 3.25% cost of living raise (retroactive to the start of the school year) and an annual $1,000 stipend for a teacher with any of the following: (1) a masters degree, (2) National Board certification, (3) an assignment requiring bilingual or special education certification, or (4) an instructional coaching assignment. This $1,000 stipend translates to a raise of 1.1% to 2.0%, depending upon the individual teacher."

MVEA: This is the true offer, not 9-11% as he misleadingly suggested. Again it was the MVEA proposal to have a stipend for advance degrees, as is the norm in most districts.


"MVEA and the District began negotiating revisions to their current agreement last spring, but salary negotiations have been limited to a meeting on September 5 and today’s session. On September 5, the District’s last proposal included an ongoing 3% cost of living raise beginning October 1 and a one-time payment equal to 1.2% of each teacher’s base salary. MVEA rejected the offer and proposed a 7% cost of living raise and a $1,000 master’s stipend."

"The District did not propose any concessions with respect to benefits. The District continues to cover the cost of health benefit premiums on the following basis: (1) 95% for single party, (2) 90% for two-party, and (3) 85% for families. This can result in a District contribution of over $24,000 per teacher."

"The District began today’s session by increasing its offer as specified above. MVEA chose not to make a counteroffer, instead declaring an impasse in negotiations."

"Superintendent Craig Goldman stated, “I’m disappointed that MVEA, at the direction of California Teachers Association (CTA), has decided to terminate the negotiation process. We hoped to reach an agreement today, and we don’t understand why MVEA chose not to continue to bargain.”

MVEA: We did NOT terminate the process. We are still in the process of negotiations. We feel that the District is not bargaining in good faith, so we declared impasse to involve a mediator. If the district was present a fair equitable proposal, we would return to the table.

"MVEA will submit the impasse petition to the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB), which will certify that the parties are at impasse and then appoint a neutral mediator from the State Mediation and Conciliation Service. The District welcomes the assistance of a state mediator, who will meet with the District and MVEA and objectively review the bargaining positions of the parties in an attempt to find common ground and reach an agreement."

MVEA: We are confident that a state mediator will find that the teachers are bargaining in good faith, and will encourage transparency by having the District demonstrate that they cannot financially sustain the increase that the MVEA feels is fair and prudent.

"Should the impasse not be resolved in mediation, a fact-finding panel would be appointed to analyze proposals and the District’s budget."

MVEA: The facts are that surrounding districts have long since surpassed us in salary rankings while they continue to agree to increases ranging from 7-10% in San Mateo and Los Altos School Districts respectively.

"The District has a long history of successful negotiations with the Mountain View Educators Association."

MVEA: Current survey results demonstrate the teachers’ negative perception of their employer, partly due to increases in cost of living, poor working conditions, lack of prep time and other mitigating factors; all which have greatly plummeted the morale of Mountain View teachers.

"Unfortunately, this year appears to reflect a change in tactics by CTA, which has demonstrated a statewide focus on public school district reserves."

MVEA: As Trustee Nelson pointed out, MVEA is not controlled by CTA. Our teachers have all, for their own reasons, come to the same conclusion about their working condition and lack of compensation. Superintendent Goldman is again, sadly underestimating the intelligence and the will of his talented workforce.

"The District has made it clear that it is committed to attracting and retaining a diverse, effective, and caring workforce, including teachers, classified staff, and management."

MVEA: How has the District made this clear? MVEA sees quite the opposite.

"The District seeks to work collaboratively with its employee associations in order to provide competitive, equitable, and sustainable salaries and benefits, and it is particularly proud of the improvements it has made over the past four years as other districts were cutting salaries and implementing furloughs and program cuts."

MVEA: How does this District work collaborative when its leader berates and belittle the Negotiating Team of teachers, suggests that veteran teachers of 10+ years hold no value, walks out of negotiations, and then misleads the public with his claim of an “offer of 9-11%”?

The teachers of the MVWSD need the public's support for a fair and just compensation.
Jonathan Pharazyn MVEA President, 5th grade teacher at Monta Loma


17 people like this
Posted by QuestionAuthority
a resident of another community
on Sep 25, 2014 at 6:59 am

The tone of Mr. Goldman's press release and communique with the parents supports Dr. Anthony Muhammed's findings from last year. Allow me to elaborate and educate...

Last year, the district hired the services of Dr. Anthony Muhammed to evaluate school climate. (You can find more information about Dr. Muhammed at newfrontier21.com) Dr. Muhammed evaluated the climate of individual schools, the climate within the District Office, and the climate between the District Office and it's teaching staff. Effective communication was an essential component of the evaluation process. Upon the completion for Dr. Muhammed's evaluation, each school site spent at least one staff meeting discussing the report and some of our schools began making plans to improve the environment. The teachers were told that the areas of weakness seen at the site level, primarily surrounding communication, were also determined to be an areas of weakness at the district level. Unfortunately, the report regarding the district office, their personnel, and the relationship between the district office and teaching staff has neither been shared with the employees nor has there been any plan discussed to improve the climate in our district. Did the School Board read and review the report?

The fact that Mr. Goldman left the negotiation session, created not one but TWO missives to the public, and emailed them out before the end of the instructional day, leads me to believe he already had them written and they were waiting in the wings. It feels like climate in the district continues to be a low priority for Mr. Goldman. His actions lead me to believe he intentionally put his teachers in an uncomfortable position of answering parent questions at yesterday's dismissal, as he sent his emails out while WE WERE STILL TEACHING. A very calculated tactic, to be sure.

It is time for honesty, integrity, and transparency. Our MVWSD school board has the obligation of modeling these three core values to every student, parent, and employee of the district...not to mention the voters who elected the board to serve.

If Mr. Goldman is unable to guide the district with honesty, with integrity and providing real transparency, perhaps it's time he either step down or the School Board prohibit him from participating in negotiations.


19 people like this
Posted by parent/teacher
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 25, 2014 at 7:23 am

Yesterday was a difficult day for me at my school. Teachers are sad/frustrated by the most recent offer. The press release quoted above is 'factual' but clearly intended to mislead. I am a 13 year teacher and as such do not receive an 'automatic' 6% raise. I have already taken the maximum number of ongoing units so I no longer receive an additional 1% per 5 units. So if you deduct the 'automatic' 6% and the educational incentive of 1% then I am NOT EVEN CLOSE to being offered a 9-11% increase as he states. The math is pretty basic.

9-7=2
11-7=4

so in reality I am looking at a 2-4% salary increase with the most recent offer.

For what it is worth, I found our old salary schedule dated 2007-2008. After looking at the difference between 2007 and 2014 I have increased my pay by approximately $1.00/hour per year.

$1.00/per hour a year for the last 7 years.....with a 41% reserve, 22 million dollars in the bank, 12 million of which is unrestricted...we can do better for our teachers.


19 people like this
Posted by mr_b
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 25, 2014 at 7:33 am

@fire them
"Absolutely teachers put in less of an effort than the police, fire fighters, and paramedics. Are you KIDDING ME? Almost anyone can become a teacher, but there is some serious vetting for cops. Firefighters have even a higher bar. They are both very dangerous jobs to hold and any mistakes they make could result in lives lost. Not only themselves and their co-workers, but the general public. So, of course peace and safety officers should be paid more. A LOT more."
Here we see how you've confused effort with physical/legal risk. Police and firemen have risky jobs; there is a term hazard pay which covers this. It is not called effort-pay, but rather hazard pay.
Most people agree that they deserve hazard pay or some form of compensation or perhaps support based on actual hazards experienced. From your definition of effort, most everyone is overpaid because they are not in dangerous positions.

Having had both police and teachers in my family, and having worked directly with both types, while both are difficult jobs and take specific types of people, it seems a little more difficult to simply become be a teacher - especially in MV. Police need some college and academy training, but aren't required to have a degree and post-graduate certification (I'm not as familiar with firefighter reccomendations but according to a recent job description for MV, a high school diploma/GED seems sufficient along with EMT-1 certification). Both undergo a background check. A more extensive background check has never been a reason for higher pay either, it is used to weed out those with unacceptible risk factors of their own. Both require ongoing education and extensive skills in working with the public. Maybe that's easier for someone with deeper experience with both jobs to see than someone who only interacts with them on an as needed basis.

Teachers also have to be trained in many, many educational interventions, classroom management (keeping kids behaving, safe and on task - not as easy as people think, try it), manditory reporting, keep abreast of changing educational standards (currently undergoing an upheaval with the introduction of common core), and a myriad of other tasks and skills which must all be performed at the same time and done well. As "student teachers" they work under a master teacher who helps them figure out ways to keep all the balls in the air just so you can *begin* instruction and even then not all student teachers are approved or hired. Police have similar supervision in the first periods after they're hired. Teachers aren't allowed to carry a weapon and, after Sandy Hook, are being told to fend for themselves.

In their lifetime, kids that aren't provided a good educational environment are statistically more likely to meet a police officer in their life in a bad way. One could make the arguement that increasing crime can be due to our lack of support for schools and teachers.

"But, it seems that teachers want to be paid the same?"
I didn't say that. You did. I pointed out the disparity in pay and referenced the effort put forth by teachers which, in my opinion, is at least equal.

"By the way, the police and fire are constantly evaluated, graded and tested."
By the way, teachers are regularly evaluated too. However, since the nature of their job is a bit more complex, simple tests can't be used, so similar to some portions of police officer evaluation, they are personally reviewed. Just because *you* don't know it happens doesn't mean that it doesn't happen.

"They pretty much have carte blanche to do what they want and only fairly recently has there been any attempt to objectively measure performance. ... Or, even worse, the teachers are training the students to do better on the standardized tests, rather than improving their teaching skills and delivery."
Also very untrue. There are many, many evaluation points teachers need to meet, including educational standards (or teaching goals) to impart to students, laws to follow, etc. It seems as if your information is based purely on media coverage and not actual classroom experience. You also want to characterize teachers as lazy and uncaring but, to use your words, "are you KIDDING ME"? Can you recount any meaningful relationship with a teacher? My guess is no, exhibited by your lacking understanding and sweeping generalizations of the profession.


9 people like this
Posted by FIRE Wheeler & Palmer!
a resident of Waverly Park
on Sep 25, 2014 at 8:28 am

Goldman has been doing whatever he wants and our current Board of Trustees have been letting him. We have an opportunity to vote out the 2 current board members, Wheeler & Palmer, and bring in Mirza & Coladonato this November.

Mr. Coladonato, do all of your children attend MVWSD schools?


10 people like this
Posted by new trustees needed!
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 25, 2014 at 8:51 am

Ditto! Replace the passive rubber stamp trustees with new independent thinkers, vote in NEW trustees!


4 people like this
Posted by fire them
a resident of Whisman Station
on Sep 25, 2014 at 10:50 am

mr_b, you are completely incorrect in most of what you said.

You are completely wrong about my own experience. I have MANY teachers in my family and while many of them are quite excellent in their profession, they complain constantly at the laziness of their associates. There is no question that there are SOME good teachers at there. And a FEW great ones. Unfortunately, their pay does not reflect a significant differentiation from their peers. Instead, everybody is paid about the same and the salaries simply go up over time. The evaluation methodology is a joke--every teacher that is being honest will tell you this. The unions have the goal of maximizing compensation and job stability for their clients. There is a cost to be paid and our younger citizens are picking up the tab.

I have a friend on a police gang taskforce and I can tell you in no uncertain terms that they put in more of an EFFORT than any teacher I know. By the way, in case you didn't know this, why should jobs be paid on the EFFORT? Why not the RESULTS? Or just use competitive market pricing? The fact is that there are a surplus of teachers, because it is easy to become one and the compensation is very high for the level of EFFORT + RISK. The only way for teachers to push their higher-than-market-level-pricing is to go on strike or do these unprofessional "slow-downs." Teachers are not unhappy with their compensation or they would quit and find other jobs. Why don't they? Because where else can they get that high level of compensation for low risk and effort? Where?!

Parents: Keep an eye on your kids next week and if they indicate the teachers aren't doing their job, document it and file written complaints with the school district. Now, THAT'S accountability!


9 people like this
Posted by Dismayed Huff Parent
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 25, 2014 at 12:31 pm

Excellent post, Greg Coladonato. I second the call for more transparency.

I would also reiterate the great post made by another Cuesta Park parent:

"Generally, I think we should be paying the MVWSD teachers more. However, to judge the details, I would like to see more information:
-- Where would the 3.25% increase put the MVWSD teachers relative to the other school districts (I understand that they are currently in the range of 23-31 out of 33 rankings)? Where would the 7% increase put them?
-- Is there a total compensation ranking? Are there benefits that MVWSD offers that other school districts do not or vis versa?
-- How much would the 3.25% vs 7% increase affect the overall MVWSD budget? Would we start using reserves to pay this increase?
-- What are the long term impacts on pensions?"

Where are the district's financial analysts? Why are they not supplying this basic information to Mr. Goldman (or maybe they are and he's not sharing it)?

Mr. Goldman's email to parents stating that he "doesn't know why" teachers have walked from the table is totally absurd. He knows exactly why. Either the data bears out their position or they're assuming that it does. A few hours of analysis would make this clear. Why is the district wasting everyone's time by not supplying this information?


4 people like this
Posted by Old Steve
a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 25, 2014 at 12:50 pm

The MVWSD budget adopted in June already shows deficit spending for this and the next two school years. After that, program expenses will already need to be dropped if state revenue growth does not replace the Prop 30 tax increase, which will expire. Over the next ten years the percentage of salary (on top thereof) contributed to Teacher Retirement will roughly double. Based only on those PUBLICLY AVAILABLE facts, I fail to see where MVEA plans for the money to come from. I suppose we could increase class sizes, thereby reducing the number of teachers required. In merging two districts a decade ago we already eliminated any "extra" district positions, though folks on here seem to want more financial analysis rather than less. I believe there is some salary increase between the current offers that could work for everyone. I also believe that declaring Impasse was unnecessary, and based on the number of these comments is already having a negative impact on our community.


5 people like this
Posted by How about the Unions
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 25, 2014 at 1:13 pm

How about the unions think of the 80 billion pension liability they have, before thinking of giving over bloated salary payouts?


6 people like this
Posted by @ Jonathan Pharazyn
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 25, 2014 at 1:24 pm

Reality is not as you suggest in your comment "the reality from the MVEA's perspective." Your perspective is just that - the teacher's union perspective. There are many perspectives in any given negotiations as each side filters information from their own experiences. The reality is usually someplace in the middle.

Please also explain how step and column increases don't amount to a raise or increase in salary for a teacher in addition to any cost of living adjustment that is negotiated. I would be thrilled to receive an automatic increase each year based solely on how long I had been at my job in addition to any cost of living increase that my company chose to offer.

I think you should check your "facts" on the Los Altos raise. Teachers got 10% OVER THREE YEARS - not one year.


7 people like this
Posted by @ Jonathan Pharazyn
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 25, 2014 at 1:24 pm

Reality is not as you suggest in your comment "the reality from the MVEA's perspective." Your perspective is just that - the teacher's union perspective. There are many perspectives in any given negotiations as each side filters information from their own experiences. The reality is usually someplace in the middle.

Please also explain how step and column increases don't amount to a raise or increase in salary for a teacher in addition to any cost of living adjustment that is negotiated. I would be thrilled to receive an automatic increase each year based solely on how long I had been at my job in addition to any cost of living increase that my company chose to offer.

I think you should check your "facts" on the Los Altos raise. Teachers got 10% OVER THREE YEARS - not one year.


5 people like this
Posted by Patrick N
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 25, 2014 at 2:02 pm

To build on Old Steve's questions, I'd like to understand if increased property tax revenues are already baked into MVWSD's budget assumptions. Based on what I saw in the Jan 1, 2014 assessments (prior to this year's run-up in home prices), parts of MV are still below their Prop 13 limits. The 1/1/15 assessment should reflect this year's home market, and will probably cause local property to hit the Prop 13 limits across the board, meaning another increase in tax revenues.... never mind all the new construction that's opening up, and which will continue to open up in an increasingly pro-housing city. How much of this flows into MVWSD is for someone who understands the complex funding formulas to explain to the rest of us.

If additional revenues are already baked in, or if this money just goes someplace else, then Old Steve is raising a very good point about whether or not the District can afford the change that many of us (self included) would like to see for teacher salaries, without new ONGOING sources of revenue. Let's remember that there are already conversations about opening new schools in Mountain View, and we need to be able to attract and retain new teachers there. MVWSD also has to pick up its share of teacher pensions that the state has shifted to the local level. Operating savings from things like sustainability investments would be nice, but can't cover the gap, and the last thing I would want when we're in the middle of massive capital improvements to our schools is for us to be replacing or eliminating District staff as a cost savings measure.

This is hard. Staying positive and solution-oriented is key... something that all parties should keep in mind.


5 people like this
Posted by Old Steve
a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 25, 2014 at 2:13 pm

@ Patrick,

I am certainly not an expert, but from the budget presentations I have seen watching board meetings (which one can now choose to do from home) our revenue projections would still fall below the LCFF funding formulas, rather than making us a "Basic Aid" district. PAUSD and MVLA are exceptional basic aid districts in terms of revenue, and should not be used for any comparison.

Los Altos, Cupertino, and Sunnyvale are the closest K-8 districts, but their revenue streams and demographics vary widely.


23 people like this
Posted by Former MVWSD student
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 25, 2014 at 3:18 pm

@ fire them

The fact that you think that just anyone can become a teacher is offensive to me. And even more, the fact that you have the nerve to call teachers lazy. Sure, I have had some teachers that could put in a bit of extra work, but I guarantee you that I, personally having gone to both Huff Elementary School and Graham Middle school, have had the most incredible experience with teachers that go above and beyond to help their students. These are people that care about their profession, and have a passion that extends beyond teaching the course material.
Of course firefighters and police officers deserve to be paid well, they protect our community and put themselves at risk to do their job. But we should all be incredibly grateful that we have such passionate teachers in our district. Teachers are responsible for educating my generation, and if that isn't a good enough reason to give teachers a raise to satisfy the cost of living, I don't know what is.


6 people like this
Posted by an outsider on the inside
a resident of another community
on Sep 25, 2014 at 3:49 pm

It's interesting how the teachers who cannot afford to live in the district also cannot vote in their interests about who serves on the board.

It seems like a clear time to vote those board members out who do not truly serve the community's interests. Hopefully it's clear who should go.

And ineffective teachers are not the issue here, but definitely something that needs to be resolved. Get rid of tenureship! There are some complacent worthless teachers that need to go flip burgers instead of 'teaching' your children! The lack of competition breeds laziness and that is NOT what you want for your kids. You know who you are.


14 people like this
Posted by @Former MVWSD Student
a resident of Willowgate
on Sep 25, 2014 at 3:59 pm

Well said! Thanks for sharing. I would like to hear from more students.

I too have many teachers in my family, *Fire Them* and they are all incredibly hard workers. In fact, most of them work at least 3 weekend days a month. It sounds like the teachers in your family are hard workers and the teachers in my family are hard workers, maybe it is a select few who are not working hard. I know that there are also fire fighters and police officers that are not hard workers as well, despite the fact that most work very hard. Hmmm, kind of seems like a stupid point to me.


12 people like this
Posted by LivingWage
a resident of another community
on Sep 25, 2014 at 9:12 pm

I hope the district recognizes the importance of offering teachers a TRUE cost of living pay increase. These teachers deserve better.


9 people like this
Posted by An observer
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Sep 25, 2014 at 10:48 pm

I, for one, agree with "fire them". You should fire all the teachers who are taking a stand and who might be hurting our students. In fact, anytime the teachers bring up issues to complain about we should fire them and bring in new teachers, ones who will be passionate the way we want them to be passionate.. And if they forget their place, fire them too. It's how it works in private industry, right? Anytime someone requests a raise, I fire them and bring in someone newer and cheaper, which always means better.

Or we could realize that trained professionals are generally worth more for a reason and that we get what we pay for, and retain those we show we appreciate.

I do agree that this process needs to be much clearer for our community to make decisions, and that this data driven district needs to give us the data, all of it, not just what they think we're too stupid to double check.


8 people like this
Posted by Spartan made by Eagle
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 26, 2014 at 2:41 am

...Educators...teachers SHOULD be at the top salaries over any job career and work place....Firemen? Policemen? to help serve and protect? So..................teachers don't fit in the top 3? BS! @FIRE THEM-- Firing and replacing all new teachers would only start a new batch of burnt cookies....stupid idea because the teachers who already care and know about "HOW TO TEACH" know what they're teaching and how to educate a student....AND. Is willing to meet the criteria of before school hours....after school hours....not to mention the weekends of devoted time to further care and educate the students....your child/children. It starts in the home yes....but when a child/children step foot into the MVSDs in todays "society" (call it what you want) these teachers have earned every penny and raise no matter what they are teaching......its imperative because its YOUR KIDS who are being molded by them....its a responsibility to "mold" a young mind.....so pay up! Goldmen and the other people who are acting like Helen Keller in their dispositions of "not knowing about"....forget the increase on the bennies.....and give these teachers money. Like I said...I cannot fathom what I've been reading in this newsletter....no one wins if you don't educate and if the educators don't teach because of no well deserved incentive....whats the problem?
The only problem thats there is NOT showing the money. You pay to get a good education so pay the educator first....it starts there...no fighting no mess no hassles. Hell, I'm a graduate of '86 and have a relative who is a K-12 teacher of Willow Glen....this might be her last year because of what teachers DESERVE as well as NEED. These kids are super lucky to have younger teachers who have been teaching for 10+ years and still think with a young mind and attitude. Its simple:
Support your Teachers....give them that raise.


3 people like this
Posted by Spartan made by Eagle
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 26, 2014 at 2:41 am

...Educators...teachers SHOULD be at the top salaries over any job career and work place....Firemen? Policemen? to help serve and protect? So..................teachers don't fit in the top 3? BS! @FIRE THEM-- Firing and replacing all new teachers would only start a new batch of burnt cookies....stupid idea because the teachers who already care and know about "HOW TO TEACH" know what they're teaching and how to educate a student....AND. Is willing to meet the criteria of before school hours....after school hours....not to mention the weekends of devoted time to further care and educate the students....your child/children. It starts in the home yes....but when a child/children step foot into the MVSDs in todays "society" (call it what you want) these teachers have earned every penny and raise no matter what they are teaching......its imperative because its YOUR KIDS who are being molded by them....its a responsibility to "mold" a young mind.....so pay up! Goldmen and the other people who are acting like Helen Keller in their dispositions of "not knowing about"....forget the increase on the bennies.....and give these teachers money. Like I said...I cannot fathom what I've been reading in this newsletter....no one wins if you don't educate and if the educators don't teach because of no well deserved incentive....whats the problem?
The only problem thats there is NOT showing the money. You pay to get a good education so pay the educator first....it starts there...no fighting no mess no hassles. Hell, I'm a graduate of '86 and have a relative who is a K-12 teacher of Willow Glen....this might be her last year because of what teachers DESERVE as well as NEED. These kids are super lucky to have younger teachers who have been teaching for 10+ years and still think with a young mind and attitude. Its simple:
Support your Teachers....give them that raise.


3 people like this
Posted by Spartan made by Eagle
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 26, 2014 at 2:41 am

...Educators...teachers SHOULD be at the top salaries over any job career and work place....Firemen? Policemen? to help serve and protect? So..................teachers don't fit in the top 3? BS! @FIRE THEM-- Firing and replacing all new teachers would only start a new batch of burnt cookies....stupid idea because the teachers who already care and know about "HOW TO TEACH" know what they're teaching and how to educate a student....AND. Is willing to meet the criteria of before school hours....after school hours....not to mention the weekends of devoted time to further care and educate the students....your child/children. It starts in the home yes....but when a child/children step foot into the MVSDs in todays "society" (call it what you want) these teachers have earned every penny and raise no matter what they are teaching......its imperative because its YOUR KIDS who are being molded by them....its a responsibility to "mold" a young mind.....so pay up! Goldmen and the other people who are acting like Helen Keller in their dispositions of "not knowing about"....forget the increase on the bennies.....and give these teachers money. Like I said...I cannot fathom what I've been reading in this newsletter....no one wins if you don't educate and if the educators don't teach because of no well deserved incentive....whats the problem?
The only problem thats there is NOT showing the money. You pay to get a good education so pay the educator first....it starts there...no fighting no mess no hassles. Hell, I'm a graduate of '86 and have a relative who is a K-12 teacher of Willow Glen....this might be her last year because of what teachers DESERVE as well as NEED. These kids are super lucky to have younger teachers who have been teaching for 10+ years and still think with a young mind and attitude. Its simple:
Support your Teachers....give them that raise.


3 people like this
Posted by Spartan made by Eagle
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 26, 2014 at 2:41 am

...Educators...teachers SHOULD be at the top salaries over any job career and work place....Firemen? Policemen? to help serve and protect? So..................teachers don't fit in the top 3? BS! @FIRE THEM-- Firing and replacing all new teachers would only start a new batch of burnt cookies....stupid idea because the teachers who already care and know about "HOW TO TEACH" know what they're teaching and how to educate a student....AND. Is willing to meet the criteria of before school hours....after school hours....not to mention the weekends of devoted time to further care and educate the students....your child/children. It starts in the home yes....but when a child/children step foot into the MVSDs in todays "society" (call it what you want) these teachers have earned every penny and raise no matter what they are teaching......its imperative because its YOUR KIDS who are being molded by them....its a responsibility to "mold" a young mind.....so pay up! Goldmen and the other people who are acting like Helen Keller in their dispositions of "not knowing about"....forget the increase on the bennies.....and give these teachers money. Like I said...I cannot fathom what I've been reading in this newsletter....no one wins if you don't educate and if the educators don't teach because of no well deserved incentive....whats the problem?
The only problem thats there is NOT showing the money. You pay to get a good education so pay the educator first....it starts there...no fighting no mess no hassles. Hell, I'm a graduate of '86 and have a relative who is a K-12 teacher of Willow Glen....this might be her last year because of what teachers DESERVE as well as NEED. These kids are super lucky to have younger teachers who have been teaching for 10+ years and still think with a young mind and attitude. Its simple:
Support your Teachers....give them that raise.


7 people like this
Posted by Spartan made by Eagle
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 26, 2014 at 2:41 am

...Educators...teachers SHOULD be at the top salaries over any job career and work place....Firemen? Policemen? to help serve and protect? So..................teachers don't fit in the top 3? BS! @FIRE THEM-- Firing and replacing all new teachers would only start a new batch of burnt cookies....stupid idea because the teachers who already care and know about "HOW TO TEACH" know what they're teaching and how to educate a student....AND. Is willing to meet the criteria of before school hours....after school hours....not to mention the weekends of devoted time to further care and educate the students....your child/children. It starts in the home yes....but when a child/children step foot into the MVSDs in todays "society" (call it what you want) these teachers have earned every penny and raise no matter what they are teaching......its imperative because its YOUR KIDS who are being molded by them....its a responsibility to "mold" a young mind.....so pay up! Goldmen and the other people who are acting like Helen Keller in their dispositions of "not knowing about"....forget the increase on the bennies.....and give these teachers money. Like I said...I cannot fathom what I've been reading in this newsletter....no one wins if you don't educate and if the educators don't teach because of no well deserved incentive....whats the problem?
The only problem thats there is NOT showing the money. You pay to get a good education so pay the educator first....it starts there...no fighting no mess no hassles. Hell, I'm a graduate of '86 and have a relative who is a K-12 teacher of Willow Glen....this might be her last year because of what teachers DESERVE as well as NEED. These kids are super lucky to have younger teachers who have been teaching for 10+ years and still think with a young mind and attitude. Its simple:
Support your Teachers....give them that raise.


6 people like this
Posted by fire them
a resident of North Whisman
on Sep 26, 2014 at 10:21 am

"An observer" said: "It's how it works in private industry, right? Anytime someone requests a raise, I fire them and bring in someone newer and cheaper, which always means better. Or we could realize that trained professionals are generally worth more for a reason and that we get what we pay for, and retain those we show we appreciate."

Requesting a raise is absolutely fine in private industry (or in public). If the employee fails to their job to punish their employer for not giving them that raise is NOT. The teachers have threatened to stop grading homework, attending student-parent meetings, etc... in order to force a higher raise. This is not ASKING.

All you hi-tech workers... Let's try an experiment. Go in on Monday and ask for a 10% raise. If your boss declines, tell them that you will only be in the office from 9am-5pm and will not answer any e-mails or phone calls off those hours until you get your raise. Let's see how long you last at your job. Some of you are saying that being a schoolteacher is just as important as firefighters or policemen. When these professionals are at odds with their employer, do you think they answer 911 calls slower? Or course not. Clearly, there is a DIFFERENCE between the two professions.


11 people like this
Posted by Kevin Bourrillion
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Sep 26, 2014 at 12:26 pm

"fire them" simply reveals that he/she does not understand the basic concept of labor unions and collective bargaining in the first place.


8 people like this
Posted by fire them
a resident of North Whisman
on Sep 26, 2014 at 1:11 pm

labor unions and collective bargaining? I probably understand them better than you Kevin. They helped wonderfully in the sweatshop era of our country. Factories and farms that would push unhealthy and unsafe workplaces on their employees. But...when have teachers been abused to the level of sweatshops?!

My whole point is that teachers should not damage the students' education simply to get more money for themselves. If they want more money, then they should campaign for it, not hold us hostage. Or, they can quit.


8 people like this
Posted by Simple Minds
a resident of Bailey Park
on Sep 26, 2014 at 1:31 pm

So should they quit or should there be a mass firing?
Good lord, I hope you never have to manage an actual work force. Its quite a simple solution though...some can only think of simple solutions.


6 people like this
Posted by fire them
a resident of North Whisman
on Sep 26, 2014 at 3:23 pm

"So should they quit or should there be a mass firing?"

Yes, your mind is indeed simple if you think that is what I wrote. What I actually wrote was: "If they want more money, then they should campaign for it, not hold us hostage."

Perhaps you don't understand what I mean by "campaign?" What I DON'T mean is to stop doing their job in a "I'm going to take my marbles and go home" strategy. Rather, reach out and talk to the taxpayers and explain how they would like more money. Ultimately, that is there the funds come from.


5 people like this
Posted by Patrick N
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 26, 2014 at 5:05 pm

People like "fire them" probably wouldn't be out here posting if the Work to Rule tactic hadn't been put in place. Personally I think it's counterproductive to continue it, and now that the central issues have gotten PLENTY of people's attention, the best thing MVEA could do is ask people to show up Monday, rescind the Work to Rule decision, and have a normal day... as a gesture of good faith.

Campaigning for more money is an interesting idea. I look at what LAEF raises for their schools and where their money goes (things like reducing student/teacher ratios), and I wonder whether or not MVEF should be setting its bar higher. And if the funding formulas are working as Old Steve described earlier (i.e. our teachers don't benefit when having good schools - which they helped make happen - drives up property values), we have some campaigning to do in Sacramento...


3 people like this
Posted by ba
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 26, 2014 at 7:47 pm

Does anyone know what happened at the Special Board Meeting this evening?


13 people like this
Posted by @ba
a resident of Castro City
on Sep 26, 2014 at 9:30 pm

I went to the meeting. It was just 10 minutes and then they went to closed session. Several parents and a student spoke. The student was a sixth grader from Huff and she was absolutely adorable. The parents were touching and spot on as well. The trustees were given a chance to speak. Ellen Wheeler said bitterly, "I just want to go to closed session so that we can talk." Steven Nelson said he was inundated with emails, appreciated them and would read them. Phil Palmer's was by far the best. He was very understanding, said he has read every word of every email that he has received and has taken it all in. He also joked that he brought his sleeping bag and was willing to stay all night if need be to "get it done." Chris Chang said that there are so many things that they could spend the extra money on (Not that they are spending it on anything) and that Craig Goldman doesn't drive a BMW (Does anyone know what he does drive?) Bill Lambert expressed interest in getting to closed session and coming up with a solution. He asked Mr. Goldman if he would like to speak. Mr. Goldman pursed his lips and vehemently shook his head no as he grabbed his things to go. It was very reminiscent of a child who was having a tantrum after being told to go to bed.


3 people like this
Posted by Ellen Wheeler
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Sep 26, 2014 at 9:41 pm

@ba - There was nothing "bitter" in my comment. What I said is that I wanted to get into closed session so we could talk as a board. Negotiations are confidential. Nothing could be done to move anything forward without getting into closed session. I wonder at your characterization. I believe all of the trustees have read all the emails that have been sent to us. (I know I have.) We had all told President Lambert that we were prepared to spend all evening in closed session if need be. Our closed session was 4+ hours long.


4 people like this
Posted by @ Ellen Wheeler
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 26, 2014 at 9:46 pm

I apologize if I misread your message. Thank you for your time.


3 people like this
Posted by mom
a resident of Waverly Park
on Sep 27, 2014 at 12:20 am

@ba says:

"Mr. Goldman pursed his lips and vehemently shook his head no as he grabbed his things to go. It was very reminiscent of a child who was having a tantrum after being told to go to bed."

@ba, I really resent and object to your personal attacks on the superintendent. I've known Craig Goldman for 14 years and find your description implausible. Purse his lips, shake his head, like a child having a tantrum? That's just rude, and it's definitely not Craig. While he may not be as forthcoming as I'd like, he's certainly not immature.

If you are trying to get someone to agree with you, you're not going to get very far with that approach.


8 people like this
Posted by mr_b
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 27, 2014 at 3:02 am

@fire them

Your teacher family (of who you say only "many are quite excellent" - woe to those who aren't) should be offended at how you characterize and disrespect their profession with flippant comments. I know many teachers and administrators too that in no uncertain terms are absolutely putting in at least the same effort that police officers put in if not more and there are parents and children who would be hurting desperately without their efforts. But that kind of argument doesn't move anything forward.

Don't you understand why it is ok for some unions to have work slow downs or strikes while emergency service providers can't do the same thing (homework: look up President Reagan and the air traffic controllers)?

I love how you compare asking for raises in private sector high tech positions to the public school environment. LOL! That's right people: put down your free, company-provided lunches and ask for a raise for 10% higher than your already well-above-median income after the across the board multi-thousand dollar bonuses and stock options have been handed out. We'll give you a reply as you enjoy a ride back to your car in wi-fi capable, company-provided shuttles after our company-contracted laundry service has delivered your clothes to you. Of course, this is exactly how teachers experience their work environment! C'mon! Not even police officers or fire fighters (or their unions) can pull that one off! Either explain to us how a school district can go public on a stock exchange or drop the ridiculous public/private comparisons with funding and compensation. There is NO argument that you can put forth to alter the reality of publicly funded services.

Then there's your RESULTS based merit pay where we'll be paying Teacher Pat more than Teacher Chris because Pat got much better RESULTS from their students than Chris. (Shh... let's not tell anyone that Pat's students were all GATE students from english-speaking households with college degree holding parents in high paying jobs while Chris' class consisted of students with either a learning disability, a non-english speaking home environment, kids with one-or-more parents in prison for a gang-related crime, kids who travel with their family for extended periods to other/home countries, kids with unaddressed behavioral problems, etc... or some combination of the above. It's ok since the teacher/administrator team that made up the class assignments are all friends with Pat.) So, it's really still fair, right? 'Cause it's only about RESULTS while inputs, support, and accountability at all levels doesn't matter. Neither the parents nor the rest of society will care about what Chris faces both in the students assigned or the political connections to make the assignments happen, right? Oh, and since pay is competitive, we won't mind if that squelches teacher collaboration.

So, let's just fire Chris and get a newbie and give them the same students, but y'know, not too many newbie firings in a row 'cause we'll have to let go of some of our Pats as they either get too expensive for our district or because they job hop to another district that pays better. It's not like after a while the word will get out and teachers won't be willing to work in our district without monetary incentive$. Wait, where are we going to get the money for this again? And why are people discussing school district funding with sports terms like "salary caps"?

So "fire them", why don't you explain just what a valuable teacher is in your estimation? Don't just complain in generalities: offer specifics so we can (try to) understand how you arrive at your point of view. Why don't you post just exactly how you believe teachers should be evaluated with actual examples related to real teaching skills or tasks. What about some details of a fund-able compensation scheme?

Or can't you?

Otherwise, we get it. You think police and fire services are more valuable public servants than educators (sorry kiddies - the people that arrest you are more valuable than the people who can help you stay out of the justice system's bad side). You think teachers are wrong for asking for more pay and that the job is somehow attractive and thriving at it's current pay levels in Mountain View, CA. Oh, and you don't like unions either (except maybe police and fire unions?).


3 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Willowgate
on Sep 27, 2014 at 8:15 am

Does anyone k ow the result of the closed session?


17 people like this
Posted by MVWSD Parent
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 27, 2014 at 8:20 am

Using the Santa Clara County school districts salary information provided by board member Christopher Chiang in another comment thread Web Link

I calculated the MVWSD salary rankings for 3.25%, 7%, and 10% raises.
A 3.25% raise (as offered by the district) would still see our teachers' salaries consistently below average, with rankings for the salary steps at 18, 19, 19, 27, and 20 out of 33.
A 7% raise (as requested by the teachers) would still see our teachers' salaries mostly a little above average, with rankings for the salary steps at 12, 13, 14, 22, and 14 out of 33.
A 10% raise would put our teachers' salaries consistently above average (but not in the top 25%), with rankings for the salary steps at 8, 11, 12, 16, and 9 out of 33.

My conclusion from just looking at this competitive salary data is that the 7% raise requested by the teachers is very reasonable and if we wanted to pay our teachers consistently above average, we should offer them a 10% raise.


8 people like this
Posted by MVWSD Teachet
a resident of another community
on Sep 27, 2014 at 8:32 am

Thanks for spending the time to do that MVWSD Parent. You have no idea how much the teachers find the support for parents and community members like you and Mr_B.
It's priceless.


7 people like this
Posted by Jonathan Pharazyn
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 27, 2014 at 8:45 am

I want to clarify that "work to rule" will last for 1 week, 9/29-10/3. Conferences, which start the following week at the middle school level, will not be affected. Teachers whose schools have science camp next week, will be attending camp and staying over night as we normally do.

We are not happy doing "work to rule". Our goal is to demonstrate how important, essential teachers are. How much we do after our "official" work day is over. This goal can be accomplished in 1 week. More than that, and it becomes a big negative for students, families, and teachers.

As of now, we have heard nothing with regard to yesterday's emergency school board meeting. we would welcome an offer that could get us back to the bargaining table. We appreciate all of the community support!

Here's an interesting article one of our teachers found with regard to the role of a superintendent in negotiations:
Web Link

Jonathan Pharazyn, MVEA President


4 people like this
Posted by MVWSD Parent
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 27, 2014 at 10:41 am

By the way, here is a link to the spreadsheet with my additional rows at the bottom showing the 3.25%, 7%, and 10% increases and new rankings: Web Link

There were also some errors in the formulas used for the calculations of ranking and averages that I corrected. For example, most of the averages were excluding many of the rows.


4 people like this
Posted by fire them
a resident of North Whisman
on Sep 27, 2014 at 10:43 am

@mr_b: You are ranting and raving now. It sounds like you are a teacher yourself? You believe that every high-tech job in the valley is cushy? Free lunches? Sorry buddy, but most are not. In fact, if you are a teacher, why don't you quit your teaching job and go get one of those high-tech jobs? I'll tell you why not--because you are unqualified. There are quite a few scientists and engineers that have left their field and entered the teaching profession, but how many teachers leave their field and go tech? Very few. How many teachers quit and become police and firefighters? Few to none. Doesn't that tell you about the qualifications and qualities of teachers vs other better paid jobs?

That's how the free market works. If teaching was truly an undesirable job, then fewer would apply and prices would go up. However, it is a desirable job, so the compensation isn't at the top. Rather than quitting though, they have to punish the students and families. Doesn't that tell you anything??

@Jonathan Pharazyn: Thanks for clarifying the Work to Rule action you are taking. It sounds like it is time limited: 9/29-10/3, but is that really true? If the district (taxpayers) refuse to give you the 7% raise will the teachers continue to perform at less than a professional level?
What would happen if several teachers ignore Work To Rule and continue to service their students in a professional manner? Is there actions that could be taken against those teachers?


4 people like this
Posted by ba
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 27, 2014 at 10:58 am

The 7% MVEA is requesting: Is that just for this year, or will it be 7% every year going forward? If it's just one year it doesn't seem all that unreasonable, just so we can catch up with other local districts, if we really are not on par with them.

And how do the overall benefits package compare with others? From what I understand Los Altos School District schools do not have weekly minimum days, for example.


8 people like this
Posted by @Jonathan Pharazyn
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 27, 2014 at 11:04 am

Thank you Mr. Pharazyn. This piece you shared is quite concerning:

"As the Chief School Administrator, one must keep in mind that you must maintain a positive relationship with your staff. Sitting at the table during negotiations can present a negative image of the superintendent. Although your input is important to the Board of Education, it is better not to be directly involved in negotiations meetings. It is more productive to be sitting in your office during negotiations meetings, instead of at the bargaining table. The perception of the superintendent at the bargaining table, in my experience, is negative and harmful to staff relations."

If in fact, the Supertintendent does sit at the Table and if what MVEA claims to be true about his demeanor toward teachers during negotiations, perhaps it would be in the best interest of this community for the Board to vote to remove him from Negotiations permanently.

@mom
Unfortunately, I found @ba's characterization of Mr. Goldman to be spot on. If you take into consideration his misleading press release on Wednesday and his demeanor at recent Board Meetings, one must begin to consider that perhaps his removal from the Table would benefit all stakeholders.


6 people like this
Posted by @Jonathan Pharazyn
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 27, 2014 at 11:04 am

Thank you Mr. Pharazyn. This piece you shared is quite concerning:

"As the Chief School Administrator, one must keep in mind that you must maintain a positive relationship with your staff. Sitting at the table during negotiations can present a negative image of the superintendent. Although your input is important to the Board of Education, it is better not to be directly involved in negotiations meetings. It is more productive to be sitting in your office during negotiations meetings, instead of at the bargaining table. The perception of the superintendent at the bargaining table, in my experience, is negative and harmful to staff relations."

If in fact, the Supertintendent does sit at the Table and if what MVEA claims to be true about his demeanor toward teachers during negotiations, perhaps it would be in the best interest of this community for the Board to vote to remove him from Negotiations permanently.

@mom
Unfortunately, I found @ba's characterization of Mr. Goldman to be spot on. If you take into consideration his misleading press release on Wednesday and his demeanor at recent Board Meetings, one must begin to consider that perhaps his removal from the Table would benefit all stakeholders.


7 people like this
Posted by Voter
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Sep 27, 2014 at 12:55 pm

@Jonathan Pharazyn

Where can we get lawn signs for the Trustee candidates endorsed by MVEA?


4 people like this
Posted by Christopher Chiang
a resident of North Bayshore
on Sep 27, 2014 at 1:10 pm

The board's official response to the situation can be found at
Web Link

Below is my personal statement and not that of the school board or school district.

I am grateful for MVEA’s decision to end “work to rule.”

While I serve as a board member for our community, I speak personally as a middle school teacher that work to rule causes suffering among teachers as well as families.

Teachers start each year excited about the experiences they want to share with our children, so even a week’s interruptions weigh heavy on the heart of a teacher.

While teachers end “work to rule,” and their sacrifices become less visible, make no mistake that those sacrifices will still exist.

MVWSD receives $9,900 per pupil. Palo Alto, $4,600 more per student. Our very own high school district over $6,000 more. As a result, in the same city where it pays its starting high school teachers $68,200, a starting elementary and middle school teacher is paid $47,808. The highest paid teacher in the high school district is paid $128,873. The highest paid elementary and middle school teacher is paid $88,218.
Parents in our elementary school foundation volunteer thousands of hours to raise half a million for our schools; a generous amount, yet our high school parent foundation raises twice ours, and Palo Alto’s parent foundation ten times ours.

Comparing District Finances
Web Link

It is my personal opinion that we should first identify which programs need to be funded for our children, and then, every last dollar and cent left over should be given to our teachers with an apology that we know it will never be enough, because the funding difference between our city’s two districts is so great.

Our teachers and administrators bare this inequity so the children and parents do not see it, but how long can they bare it?

I continue to be impressed and grateful for the love both district administrators and teachers have for our children in Mountain View. Seeing this shared goal, it pains me that we fight each other when the underlining forces that cause this inequity is created by decisions outside our MVWSD family of administrators, educators, and parents.

While other districts around us easily pay for new initiatives to help their children and teachers, our district needs to plan very cautiously. Our district is hostage to wide fluctuations in our budget that can easily cause great disturbances for our teachers and children.

What initiatives our reserves should be used for is a public discussion and I personally welcome people’s input. In fact there has been no formal decision on what the reserves are being allocated for, so public input is more than timely. I understand that it has been very hard for the public to understand our district’s finances.

As a teacher, and not an accountant, I needed to create for myself a way to visualize what different budget scenarios look like. Below I share these personal calculations I made for myself. They are my own personal calculations, and not that of the board or school district. They show different financial scenarios based on our current finances and use different programs as placeholders to see what impact different polices would have. One may see the impact of changes by deleting any given number in it. To be clear, I am not advocating for against any of the programs below, nor are they in the works by the district, they are used for me to understand what are the hypothetical consequences of various scenarios.
Google Spreadsheet Web Link
Excel Dropbox
Web Link

A school is its teachers, and no matter what amount is agreed to, it will never be enough to make right the inequity that is beyond our district’s control. For that, I will always be grateful for the educators of the Mountain View Whisman School District.

Christopher Chiang
Mountain View Whisman School Board Trustee
Email: cchiang@mvwsd.org

The views expressed herein are my own and do not necessarily represent the views of the Mountain View Whisman School District or the school board.


5 people like this
Posted by mr_b
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 27, 2014 at 1:32 pm

@fire them
So instead of providing a substantive response, you're trying to put me in some convenient box for your unsupported rhetoric.

I wrote a lot because I gave specific examples and was pointing out some of the gaping holes in your statements. You're the "fire" starter.

BTW: You couldn't be more wrong about who I am. I am not and never have worked as a teacher. I have however worked in high tech - on the technology side even! But that's all you'll get because none of that is relevant and you don't need to be more wrong than you already have been.

I also wrote to give information not just opine which is all your responses amount to. Good luck with getting people to follow you on that journey.


6 people like this
Posted by MVWSD Parent
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 27, 2014 at 4:52 pm

Thank you board member Chiang, I really appreciate the data you have provided. I think the discussion is much more fruitful with some facts to support the sometimes voluminous rhetoric.

I do have some questions about some of data you have provided:

In the Comparing District Finances:
1. Why are there only 7 districts in here rather than the 33 in the salary comparison?
2. What accounts for the additional revenue per student that other districts report? Is it all from foundation fundraising or are there differences in revenue from the state? The Revenue Limit Sources column is particularly vague.
3. What accounts for the difference between revenue and salary ranking? For example, Sunnyvale EL receives less total revenue ($9,393 vs $9,954 MVWSD), but it's salary is ranked higher than MVWSD (15-19 SEL vs. 23-29 MVWSD). And Los Altos EL receives more revenue ($11,070), but it's salary is ranked (21-28) about the same as MVWSD.

In your hypothetical scenarios:
1. Do I understand it to say that the 2013-2014 MVWSD budget has a ~$5.9 million surplus?
2. Each 1% is salary increase would increase overall salary costs $200,000 yearly? So the 7% requested by teachers would use $1.4 million of the $5.9 million surplus?

I realize your hypothetical scenarios cover a lot of other possibilities (e.g. possible fall in revenue, other expenses), but it does not appear that the 7% increase is a huge risk.


16 people like this
Posted by MVWSD Teacher
a resident of another community
on Sep 27, 2014 at 6:16 pm

Almost 50% of teachers leave the profession by their 5th year and here is a good article that explains why. I love teaching, but it is a thankless job. We are generally a selfless group of people who are taken advantage of often. I'm proud that we're finally standing up for ourselves.

Web Link


12 people like this
Posted by QuestionAuthority
a resident of another community
on Sep 27, 2014 at 6:31 pm

To Trustee Chang: Yes. We love our students. That love, however, does not pay the bills nor does it put food in our bellies. When the school board gave Mr. Goldman a raise back in March of 2013, public comment supported teachers receiving an adequate raise when the time came. The time has come.

Consider the top four positions and their salaries:

Superintendent: $220k
Assistant Superintendent #1: $151k
Assistant Superintendent #2: $151k
Assistant Superintendent #3: $151k

These figures do not take into account perks or benefits. Our highest paid teacher, however, who has significantly more than 10 years experience, earns 88k under our current pay scale, again without considering perks and benefits. That is a hard pill to swallow, Chris. And it makes living in Mountain View nearly impossible.

We do love our students, but that love and commitment are coming at a great personal cost. Here’s another reality: I will love my students whether I’m working at MVWSD or down the road. Are you really going to force your teachers to make that choice? I agree with the parent who spoke at Friday’s emergency board meeting. Losing teachers has a destabilizing effect on the community. As a teacher, you KNOW that!

The best comment you’ve made so far is the one you made at the September 4th school board meeting wherein you stated the huge reserves we have in the bank was made on the backs of the teachers. Yes. It was. And it continues to be under the current situation.

I am anxious to learn about the “improvement of the district’s previous proposal” and look forward to hearing from the Board at Thursday’s meeting.


8 people like this
Posted by Disgudted with Administrators
a resident of Bailey Park
on Sep 28, 2014 at 6:00 am

Bloated overpaid administrators grabbing all our tax dollars to stuff into their bulging pockets, then after they get theirs, they can tell the people doing the REAL WORK in OUR schools that they'll remain some of the worst paid teachers in the area...all while sitting on an overly maxed out rainy day fund of $21M...larger than allowed. That is our money...your money. It is NOT the administrator's money.

I'm so angry at these self important administrators with their FALSE sense of superiority in these maters. I truly hope I don't come across one of them in public. They will definitely get a loud ear full and a darn good look at the tip of my index finger.


4 people like this
Posted by MVmommy
a resident of Castro City
on Sep 28, 2014 at 12:44 pm

from now on, every time a school, teacher, or whoever in the district ask me, a parent to volunteer, i will simply ignore them. We also have work and do we ask them to do out job? I don't think so. I was shocked to see teachers asking parents to grade papers!!!!


3 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 28, 2014 at 7:53 pm

@Discussed with Administrators (sic) I guess irrational flaming is OK? "Question Authority" IMO has a better hold on how Public Policy should be reported. The majority of the Board considered the Administrators' salaries (and TCOE) Total Cost Of Employment reasonable over the last two years. And have voted 4:1, 5:0 and 4: 1 over this time to increase their compensation.
The place to get full data on public employee compensation particularly the Total Cost Of Employment, is the Bay Area News Group 'public employee salary database' MVWSD is in there for the 2012 and 2013 Calendar years [ Web Link ]
[ Web Link ]
Note Jan-Dec salary is not the same as school-year salary schedule! Most - but not all Districts are also there.


18 people like this
Posted by anotherMVmommy
a resident of Gemello
on Sep 28, 2014 at 9:03 pm

@MVMommy. How sad you will be missing out on enriching your child's education. No matter what a teacher asks me to do, I try to accommodate. You are right, we all have jobs to do, but their job is educating our (YOUR) children. If they need a little extra help, so they can focus on spending more time teaching my child, then I will do it. Teachers do not have assistants to help them with these things, therefore they appreciate the little things we do to help them out, so they can do what they are trained to do....TEACH. You are the one that will be missing out on being a part of your child's education, your school community, and letting your child know you care about their education. I personally know many educated, trained professionals that help their child's teacher do things from photocopying, filing, even cutting things out, so the teacher can work in small groups with the students or have more time planning meaningful lessons.


10 people like this
Posted by a3rdMVmommy
a resident of Jackson Park
on Sep 28, 2014 at 9:55 pm

Amen AnotherMVMommy! I couldn't agree more. I am a college professor and I too have a lot of work that I take home but it is important to me to help out my child's classroom and nothing is beneath me. I can't come into the classroom with my schedule but I gladly take things home to cut, grade, tear out. Whatever the teacher needs. I support our Mountain View teachers and all of the hard work that they do. I hope that they receive the money that they most definitely deserve!


4 people like this
Posted by Greg Coladonato
a resident of Slater
on Sep 29, 2014 at 8:54 am

Greg Coladonato is a registered user.

The MVWSD Board just released a statement concerning their Friday Special Meeting, and announcing another Special Meeting for this Thursday, October 2nd: Web Link

I am pleased that the Board has responded to community pressure to provide more transparency into their budget projections, and how they relate to this round of contract negotiations. I encourage all the commenters on this story and prior stories to bring your great questions to the meeting this week.

Details about Thursday's meeting:

As an opportunity for the community to learn more about the district’s budget we invite the public to attend a Special Meeting of the Board at 5:00 PM on Thursday, October 2, 2014, at which time the district CFO, Terese McNamee, will present a report on district finances and provide an opportunity for community questions.


3 people like this
Posted by ba
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 29, 2014 at 10:45 am

Actually the special meeting is on Thursday, October 9, not October 2. The district just sent out another notice correcting that date.


8 people like this
Posted by yet one more concerned parent
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Sep 29, 2014 at 1:44 pm

As a mother of 3, I am concerned with the recent turn of events. There are always two sides to any negotiations, which I'm sure we are all aware of. What I would like to say at this point however to MVEA is - we parents have support the teachers, we understand the needs, and you have proven your point. If the district is willing to return to negotiations as the board has said then please drop the work to rule and negotiate in good faith as you have said you are. It is as frustrating to many of the teachers I've talked to as it is to the parents.

I have also written my letters to the board in the teachers' support. However, that being said - I don't necessarily support union tactics in getting what you want. Since I don't have an email address for the union - I post this here.

The union and the district are not listening to each other. Everyone is a stakeholder in this - the teachers, the district, the parents, the community and the children. Drop all the rhetoric, work out the numbers, and please start listening to each other. Isn't that what we all teach our children in the first place through project cornerstone and many of the other wonderful programs we put in place? Bullying gets us no where and neither does getting everyone riled up.

As the community we only have part of the picture and each side is only presenting bits and pieces to their advantage. Please settle down and work it out.

Thanks for listening.


5 people like this
Posted by Hmm
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 29, 2014 at 4:41 pm

"basic concept of labor unions and collective bargaining"

Is that why the teachers liability and pensions are 80 billion? Geez the Unions are so great, NOT!


3 people like this
Posted by ba
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 29, 2014 at 6:01 pm

To "yet one more concerned parent":

Very well said! *applause*


6 people like this
Posted by MVEA Member
a resident of another community
on Sep 30, 2014 at 8:16 pm

MVWSD Board has said that they have "authorized" an improvement on their previous offer. Please know that the MVEA has NOT been contacted to come back to the table. MVEA is waiting for such contact.


10 people like this
Posted by Frustrated MVEA Member
a resident of another community
on Oct 1, 2014 at 6:54 am

For months, MVEA has offered their evidence and justification for how a 7-10% increase in compensation is not only sustainable, but deserved. In the spirit of good faith negotiations, the teachers have been open to sharing and exchanging data at the Table.

Just before impasse was declared on 9/24/14,(after several public requests at previous Board Meetings)the MVEA Negotiating team asked the MVWSD to provide financial data that shows how a 7% is not sustainable.

Not only did the District NOT provide the data, the MVWSD did NOT even bother asking looking at MVEA's evidence.

NOW we are told MVWSD is holding a special Board Meeting to discuss District finances on 10/9/14. Is this the meeting where the District finally provides their data??

**If so, then the question is: Why was this data NOT provided at the Bargaining Table, which would have prevented Impasse and Work-To-Rule?

**If not, then the question is: Does data even exist that can show how a 7% is not sustainable?


3 people like this
Posted by parent
a resident of Waverly Park
on Oct 1, 2014 at 9:14 am

Posted by Frustrated MVEA Member
a resident of another community
2 hours ago
"For months, MVEA has offered their evidence and justification for how a 7-10% increase in compensation is not only sustainable, but deserved."


Where can we find the MVEA data? I'd like to see your numbers?

I agree a raises is needed, would need to see data to support that it is sustainable, given the increase in STRS contributions, re-opening of Whisman, and other upcoming district expenses.

Not saying teachers shouldn't get a raise, just saying "show us the numbers"


5 people like this
Posted by Old Steve
a resident of Rex Manor
on Oct 1, 2014 at 9:41 am

Since many members of MVEA seem to want to negotiate with MVWSD via this forum, perhaps one of them should publish data that shows how a 7% across the entire salary schedule is sustainable beyond the expiration of Prop 30 revenues while still leaving the district a 3 year reserve in the range of 12-15 percent. The district needs to present the figures supported by the board, but the MVEA needs to analyze their demands against the district's publicly available budget figures.


4 people like this
Posted by @Old Steve @parent
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 1, 2014 at 10:18 am

@Old Steve
"Since many members of MVEA seem to want to negotiate with MVWSD via this forum"

I'm not sure how you come to this conclusion. As I read, it is MVEA's stance that they are "waiting" to be called back to the table with the District's newly authorized improvement.

@parent
Neither the MVEA bargaining teams, nor the MVWSD are going to present their data in this forum. Nor should they. Contractual bargaining is for the representative stakeholders. The parents' representative is the Board of Trustees, who are not present at the table, but should be directing the District.

@Old Steve @parent
The community shouldn't be making demands of MVEA, but of their elected Board officials. Email them. They will respond.

So why the games?

I agree with previous posts in that both sides need to get back to the table, especially if the district is willing to share their data. MVEA has stated this week that they are waiting. Apparently, MVWSD wants to present their numbers publicly next week? Odd, considering they can just end impasse now and return to the Table. Odd, considering that these numbers were not (allegedly) previously shared and discussed at the bargaining table.

If you're looking for some data to help put some of this in perspective, I found Trustee Chiang's posting of his (9/27) Google spreadsheet to be helpful. Keep in mind that, in Chiang's words:"To be clear, I am not advocating for against any of the programs below, nor are they in the works by the district."


4 people like this
Posted by another concerned parent
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Oct 1, 2014 at 7:15 pm

I am very concerned about the turn of the event, the attitude of the teachers reflects poorly not only on parents but also on kids. My kids came back wondering why their teacher are so lazy. I am sorry but I am also a teacher, and we know when we sign up for the job that we will have to grade paper after school hour and on WE. I am a HS teacher and I would never ever ask parent to volunteer in my class as they do in ML or even grade paper as some teacher do. A good way to know you students is also trough the work they do! you know where they struggle and where you need to reteach...last but not least apparently , but I wish a teacher form the district here or a board member to clarify, teacher at MVWSD even have insurance! this does not happen in many districts I know of. I come from another state and there teacher did not have insurance and would never ever ask a parent to grade paper. I think it also poorly reflects on the profession, giving the impression that other than teacher can grade, thus parents could take over and get paid! I do a lot of volunteering at school but this does not encouraging me to continue...


4 people like this
Posted by another concerned parent
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Oct 1, 2014 at 7:21 pm

and yes, I too would rather see the superintendent and his assistant be paid less and give more to the teachers. Is it possible to see exactly what teacher earn in this district? what benefits? insurance?


6 people like this
Posted by Member at Large
a resident of Monta Loma
on Oct 1, 2014 at 7:31 pm

To all the teachers whether from MVWSD or else where. Your comments with poor English, poor spelling, and poor grammer make you and your peers look bad. I suggest that you use a word document when writting and do a review check of what you have written before you post it.

I wouldn't give you a raise either if your posted comments are any way, shape, or etc. of how you teach.


8 people like this
Posted by @member at Large
a resident of Monta Loma
on Oct 1, 2014 at 8:49 pm

Irony


8 people like this
Posted by @ another concerned parent
a resident of another community
on Oct 1, 2014 at 9:32 pm

I question the validity of Another Concerned Parent. There is such poor grammar that I can't imagine it was written by a teacher. Also, if she or he is a teacher, how is this person able to volunteer so much?
If this is in fact a teacher, I am grateful that he or she doesn't work in MVWSD.


5 people like this
Posted by to@member at large
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Oct 4, 2014 at 5:56 am

I despise grammar nazis but if you insist "member at large"
indeed the irony. Look at your spelling too. You are so wrong as well, "writing" / "elsewhere" ... you/your (??) ....your last sentence is not even clear! but perhaps you would blame your teacher...

To the other person who criticized my poor grammar (my apology by the way, I am not a native speaker) : no worries, I don't even use my English to teach, I teach in a foreign language. An thanks to my quadrilingual ability (not to mention Latin and Greek), I am able to teach at a higher level...and I am surrounded with more open minded people too.
Back to the topic: I hope that the issue will be resolved soon, because it pains me to see the situation. Unhappy teachers = unhappy kids and parents.


6 people like this
Posted by Information, please...
a resident of Monta Loma
on Oct 4, 2014 at 11:05 am

Before I support a guaranteed annual 7% cost of living raise for the teachers, I want to know *exactly* what else they are asking for.

I've seen references to "step and column" raises. I've seen references to "seniority" raises.

What is the actual raise schedule that includes *everything* the MVEA is expecting on top of this minimum guaranteed raise?

Amazingly, I've seen no official communication from MVEA anywhere, other than sniping that Goldman is "padding his offer" when he says teachers are actually getting 9-11% in the offer rejected by the teachers, and demanding that the District prove to THEM that their demands are not sustainable. How about the teachers come with some data that shows that they deserve to make such demands?

Oh, they did put forth a self-administered survey of their own group that found that some are considering leaving the district. Oh, really? That is a shocking result! /sarcasm.

Are the teachers going to give back some benefits in exchange for more money upfront? Goldman says the benefits package is top 3 in the county.

I'm all for people being paid fairly compared with their peers, but until the teachers actually make a defendable case for what they're asking for, they won't get my support. In my mind, all they've accomplished up to this point is irritate parents with this work to rule garbage.

Something tells me they're getting some bad advice from their union leaders. Not a good strategy at all.


4 people like this
Posted by @Information please...
a resident of Monta Loma
on Oct 5, 2014 at 11:56 am

"Before I support a guaranteed annual 7% cost of living raise for the teachers, I want to know *exactly* what else they are asking for."
How could they ask for more than that? I want to know too. I want to know all their demands before I support a raise. Do I get a vote in this?

"What is the actual raise schedule that includes *everything* the MVEA is expecting on top of this minimum guaranteed raise?"
I've been searching for this for years. It seems that in other school districts, the teacher salary schedule is readily accessible on the district website, not so in MVWSD. What are they hiding? I bet these teachers are making more than they are claiming! Something must be up.

"Amazingly, I've seen no official communication from MVEA anywhere"
Seriously, where is the OFFICIAL COMMUNICATION from our elected teacher representatives? What?! Are they too busy grading papers? Attending their students' ball games and concerts? Preparing for a new common core curriculum? Oh! Let me guess! They're tending to their own children and families?! C'mon! Communicate with the community who put you in office, teachers!

"...other than sniping that Goldman is "padding his offer" when he says teachers are actually getting 9-11% in the offer rejected by the teachers..."
Outrage. How could they walk away from a 9-11% offer?!? Are they nuts? The 9-11% WOULD have been one of the most significant ongoing compensation increase offer in Santa Clara County in years! Yet, they "walked away" and instead told the public they want less in 7%! Forget how the District will cover the 9-11%, justify the 7% teachers! Now this is all makes A LOT of sense.

"How about the teachers come with some data that shows that they deserve to make such demands?"
Right? I'm sure they, the teachers, DID NOT do this months ago at the bargaining table. I'm sure they have NOT attempted to SHARE this information with the District. I'm sure Superintendent Goldman was willing and able to share with MVEA all of the MVWSD's projected budget plans for the next several years, their justification for their 3%, now 3.25% increase, and ANY other data that would allow both sides to make sound and rationale offers in the spirit of good faith negotiations. Why do the teachers seem to make such ridiculous demands without providing evidence? I'm glad you were at the bargaining table @Information please and aren't making any assumptions. Thank you. I suspected all along that these MV teachers had NO BASIS WHATSOEVER for a 7% increase and were just trying to take advantage of what would've been one of the most generous offers ever (9-11% increase) by the MVWSD. The teachers haven't done their homework.

"Oh, they did put forth a self-administered survey of their own group that found that some are considering leaving the district. Oh, really? That is a shocking result! /sarcasm."
Thanks for pointing out your sarcasm, I almost missed it. Yeah, I too like to jest about the personal financial struggles of our MV teachers. They should just leave if they're unhappy and struggling to support themselves and their families. The District will hire a newly credentialed teacher who will still harbor that ridiculously idealistic, but naive, view that they will make a difference in the life of a Mountain View student. C'est la vie teachers.

"Are the teachers going to give back some benefits in exchange for more money upfront?"
Sadly, no. The teachers gave up some of their benefits the last time benefits were negotiated. Hopefully, we can rip those benefits from the teachers in 2016 when they will be on the table again.

"but until the teachers actually make a defendable case for what they're asking for, they won't get my support."
From what you're saying, they have NOT, at any point, made a defensible case to the MVWSD AT the bargaining table at all- Not back in the spring, not at the end of summer and certainly not just before impasse was declared. I'm guessing, they have no case. Who would turn down a record 9-11% increase and then turn around and ask for a 7% instead and then call impasse?

"Goldman says the benefits package is top 3 in the county."
I too wish that when Goldman speaks, the teachers, like us,would just fall in line, conform, and not question! This is 21st Century Common Core critical thinking! How dare they challenge his words and press releases. The MV teachers probably teach their STUDENTS to stand up for what they believe in too. Maybe they just need to shut up and go back into their classrooms or better yet, leave.

"Something tells me they're getting some bad advice from their union leaders. Not a good strategy at all."
As a critical thinker, I too agree that the STRATEGY OF BAD ADVICE is a BAD strategy. I can't stand when groups employ THAT strategy.

Thank you for not only enlightening me, but all of the community with your insider knowledge and sage critique of the Mountain View Whisman School District teachers. HOPEFULLY, the rest of the community can get on board with and begin to demand more from these teachers! It's time the parents and taxpayers understands that these teachers are NOT the pillars of our community of Mountain View children.


3 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 5, 2014 at 5:51 pm

@ another concerned parent, the Bay Area News Group does provide a data base (calendar-year and not school-year) of all the public salaries for all public school teachers in the Bay Area (yeah Mr. Peel) Or rather the Salaries, the Benefits, the Penson (STRS) payments, the Other etc. The Total Cost Of Employment (what it costs the Budget) 2012 Web Link 2013 Web Link

The MVWSD Administration has now, finally, posted the basic tables (school-year) for the various salary schedules.
Web Link

It does not go into dept on benefits-costsl. $22,000 or so, seems typical? (per year) from the BANG data base provided by MVWSD for 2013. You can 'sort on column' by double clicking on the top. The data is there for you to wallow in.

Steven Nelson is a Trustee of the MVWSD and is posting - VERY gingerly (that Brown Line)- some links to unprocessed data to allow the public to 'program as it may' (Program = Data + Algorithms)


3 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 5, 2014 at 6:21 pm

I don't think it would surprise you to know Steven often got Cs in Spelling. And in-line spell checkers (and quick posting) don't help that much. oq6P9
if there is a 5 place random code, and each digit can be LETTERS/letters/digits, how many combinations are there? If you can't answer this correctly- you still may be a good, smart person :)


6 people like this
Posted by Sam Player
a resident of Gemello
on Oct 6, 2014 at 12:17 pm

I agree with most of Information, please’s points. I’ve posted on the MVEA Facebook page similar questions, and got no response other than “send me an email and I’ll share you our numbers privately”.

The “@Information, please” rebuttal seems to be a teacher, or at least a teacher sympathizer. That post doesn’t answer any of my questions either.

The issue I have with this whole situation is the teachers are using Facebook, Twitter and even our kids (the Crittenden survey) to elicit the support of the community, yet not providing any information to the community as to why we should support them, aside from “Goldman’s statement is full of half-truths; trust us, we’re teachers; of course we’re underpaid.”

If the teachers think they don’t need to share their position/arguments with the public, that’s their choice. But they can’t expect us to just jump on their bandwagon and blindly support them.

The 7% COLA is what is most unclear for me. If that’s a one-time thing, I think it’s great. In fact, if the teacher’s data shows that they are so underpaid compared to other districts, maybe 7% is not large enough for a one-time adjustment.

But if they’re asking for 7% guaranteed COLA every year, on top of step up increases, and perhaps merit increases (do those even exist for teachers?), then that’s when I want to know more information. Correct or not, most people see public employees as being paid from their tax dollars, so if an increase to teacher pay impacts the amount of money I’m going to owe, I want to know more details about it. Is this an unreasonable ask?

IMO, expecting the general public to go view various district websites to research the compensation tables is asking too much of people. I went to the MVWSD site myself, found many different schedules, with terms I’m not familiar with. To the untrained eye, it’s not clear what you’re looking at.

As I’ve told numerous teacher friends, if the data is in their favor, and they covet the support of community, they should be screaming their findings to the heavens in simple to understand terms to try to win the court of pubic opinion. So far that hasn’t happened. I hope it does soon.


6 people like this
Posted by Alex Lopez
a resident of North Whisman
on Oct 7, 2014 at 12:36 am

Letter to the Trustees: We Need Leadership Not Hired Hands

======================================================================
Dear Trustees,

I am deeply disappointed and disheartened on how the contract negotiations are being handled. What I see here is a lack of leadership but rather hired hands there to do a job, with no consideration for those they are suppose to oversee. This was evident on the September 4th Board meeting, where Craig Goldman responded after teachers and parents shared their views on the contract negotiations. He had no clue on how disheartened, discouraged, discontent and unappreciated they have been for some time. As he spoke in response to the comments made, he was surprised to hear that so many were unhappy. He continues on to share how the teachers in the district were well taken care of and appreciated, yet the testimonials and the expressions of the teachers and parents faces painted a completely different picture. If Craig Goldman didn't have a clue on the condition of the teachers in his district and they have been unhappy for a long time, this brings up the question, is he is the right person for this job? Even if this was the first time Craig Goldman was aware of this, this brings up the question why hasn't anyone approached him about how unhappy the teachers have been for years under his watch? Maybe the teachers are afraid to approach him or they did and he was unwilling to listen or respond. Either way this points back to the superintendant. It is his responsibility that the teachers are taken care of; we get the best ones in the district and keep them.
We Need Leaders Not Hired Hands

1. Leader's greatness is determined by how much he helps those around him grow. From what I have seen and heard from multiple teachers from different schools in our district, they are not getting enough support and training. This results in teachers using their own time outside of work and money to get the proper training to best do their job. Because the school board refuses to invest in them and their growth, it leaves them feeling unappreciated, which in turn reflects how the School Board/Trustees sees our children, our families and our community. Building another school doesn't make a better school district, just like a new office building doesn't make a company better. The organization grows based on investing in the people in it. Investing in the teacher’s growth, means investing in our children and the future of our community. Based on the teachers' turnover rate and those wanting to leave the district speaks loudly of how little superintendant and trustees value our children, and the future of our incredible community in Mountain View.

2. A leader and those he oversees have a unified purpose and goal. What is the purpose and goal? I spoke to several teachers before the September 18th School Board Meeting and ask teachers from different schools why they became teachers and why they continue to do what they do. All of then said it is their passion. They love teaching young people seeing them learn and grow. They are visionaries for others to help these boys and girls find their own vision and purpose. For someone to have that kind of passion, it goes beyond monetary fulfillment, if it didn't they would have chosen a different profession that paid more, it's about purpose and people, specifically the children. While those involved in the negotiations see dollars, stats, accounts, taxes, etc., we the community, the parents, the teachers see the true investment are the children. It seems the superintendant and the trustees see things differently, you focus on the logistic and administrative factors (which are important) above people. What the teachers are asking for isn't what I would call exuberant and unfair, they just want their wages to be comparable to other districts and to have sustainable cost of living in the county. MVWSD is building a poor foundation for the future. On top of the teachers being unhappy for the lack of support, they are under compensated for their work (lowest in Santa Clara County). This leads to teachers staying for short term, others leave to pursue a different career or they retire early. This is really bad, we need the experienced teachers to stay to help and train new teachers and support them. If teachers are unwilling to stay because they are unhappy, this doesn't build a growing school district, but a stagnant one, which will eventually in turn lower the quality of the schools, which will ultimately hurt the children and eventually the community. One of the main reasons we chose to live here in Mountain View like other families is the great schools and community. We all want to continue building a great community here in Mountain View for many more generations. Yet, one of the most important parts in building a great community is investing in our children's future. It won't happen if we can't keep good teachers and turning potential ones away. This will have a negative social and finical affect. People will look elsewhere to live to raise and build their families. Local businesses will feel it and will less likely to attract new ones. Your decision in these contract negotiations will not just affect the teachers but the children, the families, the whole community and the future of Mountain View.

In conclusion: Base on the current situation and the response (or lack there of) from the trustees specifically the superintendant Craig Goldman. These positions are not suited for the current leadership, if they do not coincide with the rest of the community. We need people in these positions who can care less about their position, instead are passionate about serving others, specifically our children.
These quotes below should answer that question for you: Look in the mirror, read these to yourself out loud and ask yourself: Is this who I am?

"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader." - John Quincy Adams

"If you want to be a great leader, remember to treat all people with respect at all times. For one, because you never know when you'll need their help. And two, because it's a sign you respect people, which all great leaders do." - Simon Sinek

Sincerely,
Alex Lopez


7 people like this
Posted by Lets clear the road block
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Oct 7, 2014 at 7:43 am

Craig Goldman should NOT be involved in the negotiations. It is unusual for a Superintendent to be involved in such negotiations, because it can sink into a battle of ego. Guess what has happened and why we are at an impasse.
Mr Goldman should not be involved in the negotiations. Please sign the petition when it comes around.


4 people like this
Posted by oh brother...
a resident of Waverly Park
on Oct 7, 2014 at 6:26 pm

@Mr b - your comments so typify the union mentality. The poor teachers are never paid enough. Never mind that they only work 3/4 of the year or that they have 6-6.5 hour work days. They still should be paid comparable salaries to those high tech workers that get free lunches, coach service, bonuses and stock options (never mind that they have student debt up the wazoo for the time they spent lounging around at MIT and such, earning their masters degrees)? Do you think that the hi-tech work days begin at 8am and end at 5pm?

The complaint that teachers have work to take home with them is ridiculous. In which professions (which pay as well as teachers) do employees not have work to do after their "paid" work day ends? The teachers (as a group)are the whiniest group I've ever encountered regarding salaries and "extra" work time. I've known many college graduates start their first jobs at $25K per year and work their tails off to climb the corporate (or industry) ladder. They don't get automatic raises and they certainly don't look forward to getting pensions which guarantee them almost full salary in retirement. The pedestals that teachers are perched upon are far too high. There are some teachers that are worth their weight in gold but I agree with Fire Them - anybody can become a teacher (the educational requirements are pretty minimal and can be obtained at ANY college) and many of them are woefully inadequate and lazy yet they collect the same salaries of those that are dedicated to their profession.

Refusing to work past their contracted 6 hours per day as a negotiation tactic is very disappointing and very unprofessional, rather it demonstrates a union mentality that "professional" don't employ. It validates the image of the greedy, lazy teacher. If we could eliminate tenure the teachers would be on a more level playing field with the rest of society and salaries could be viewed differently. But until then, these auto-raises for all are tough to justify. Remember that one of the main attractions to the profession are LOTS of holiday + summers off.


11 people like this
Posted by Sundar Subbarayan
a resident of Shoreline West
on Oct 7, 2014 at 8:10 pm

I just came back from a meeting of several MVWSD parents and a pressing need was the need for information. Several commenters here have also asked for it.

I spent a few hours to not just collect all information, but also to synthesize and summarize the current position of MVWSD teachers and our school district's budget and tried to put it in simple terms. Here is the link to the document Web Link

Hope this helps
Sundar


4 people like this
Posted by Alex Lopez
a resident of North Whisman
on Oct 7, 2014 at 8:48 pm

Sundar, I looked over the information you gathered, this is very helpful. Thank you for making the time for this and putting it in layman's terms. Thank you for all your work.

I highly suggest others look this over to get a better grasp of the teachers' salaries in our town as others.


3 people like this
Posted by @Sundar
a resident of another community
on Oct 7, 2014 at 11:00 pm

This is wonderful, thank you so much! Exactly the type of impartial, quantitative analysis that is needed.


3 people like this
Posted by Data
a resident of North Whisman
on Oct 7, 2014 at 11:15 pm

I posted this in another thread, but it will be useful in this discussion as well:

The data is pretty clear. About fifty teachers in the school district are making over $100k in total compensation.

Click on this link: Web Link

That should bring up a table that shows the teachers that will be sorted by the last column (the rightmost column) labeled: "Total pay & benefits", which is another term for total compensation.

Here are some examples of the 50+:

Camille L Michaud TEACHER $146,546.36
Thomas D Sayer TEACHER $122,578.06
Linda K Lopez TEACHER $120,328.66
Gregory R Cima TEACHER$113,945.20
Donna L Campbell TEACHER $113,698.40
Judith A Dinges TEACHER $113,471.08
Jennie R Spence TEACHER $113,427.78
Jennifer L Timmins TEACHER $113,427.78
Harriett D Applegarth TEACHER $111,728.98
Pearl K Okawachi TEACHER, OTHER INST. STAFF $111,659.60
Jonathan P Pharazyn TEACHER $111,523.67
Merlene R Saunders TEACHER $111,145.10
Susan N Papson TEACHER $110,031.73
Linda S Snyder-Hoyer TEACHER $109,899.20
Lily Jian TEACHER $109,857.79
Colleen M Walsh TEACHER $109,781.40
Eugene F Wood TEACHER $109,522.76
Susan L Mitchell TEACHER $109,426.31

Hope that helps!


5 people like this
Posted by Patrick N
a resident of Monta Loma
on Oct 7, 2014 at 11:17 pm

@Sundar: Nice work, and well-stated. Great to see someone framing the budget tradeoffs and putting some real numbers behind them (which hopefully will be validated by MVWSD). It's also good to help voters understand the future tradeoffs they may asked to weigh in on - there's definitely a difference of opinion amongst candidates regarding opening another school, so that's one choice voters can make, and there's also the possibility of future state and local ballot measures.

Another tradeoff to consider in the interest of supporting teacher pay (and one where parents can make a big difference) is the amount of community engagement work that MVWSD funds, in the form of paid staff positions (some of which were only recently added). These are important roles, with great people behind them, but I'm not convinced that the funding for them needs to come from the District (vs. a stronger MVEF drive or corporate grants), and stronger PTAs could also play a role in supporting some of this work on a volunteer basis. A tough choice, for sure, and one which I'd rather not force someone to make, but your document clearly shows there are no easy choices.

I also wouldn't put a lot of faith in being able to develop new revenue sources from taxes... the state's pension and bond obligations are huge, infrastructure is aging, and eventually the state is going to need to do something about tax rates in order to redevelop its business base (lest we lose more factories to Nevada).


5 people like this
Posted by mr_b
a resident of Monta Loma
on Oct 8, 2014 at 12:55 am

@Sundar
Thanks for putting that all together! Very helpful in understanding where things are.


@Data
Interesting. Do you have information for the breakdown of funding sources for their incomes: how much from Fed, county, special programs, and general funds? What about years of service, degrees held, etc.? From a quick googling, Michaud looks like an SDC teacher, Sayer is a history teacher but also runs a special TV production and journalism program... I'm not sure dollar figures alone tell us enough about these teachers or their pay.


@oh brother...
I've never worked a union job and I've worked my 80-hour workweeks in tech without all those silly perks, so trying to lecture me on that is a waste of time. I've also seen the self-studied run circles around Stanford, Berkeley, and MIT grads, so sheepskins and debt don't automatically impress me.

An attentive reader would also notice that I didn't suggest that teachers should make the same as tech workers and that the comparison was apples to oranges.

Also, it's easy to simplify anyone's job when you don't understand what exactly it is that they do. You pick at vacation times and number of hours worked and don't consider their work day and job skills as they really are. Maybe you think it is simply day care, or maybe you don't address it because it really IS a difficult job and you can't explain it/do it even if you wanted to.

If you want me to take your comments seriously, you'll have to offer more comprehensive solutions that aren't simply throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Move the conversation forward: don't just go in circles complaining.


4 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 8, 2014 at 8:44 am

@Data is correct in the extract of the database Sup. Goldman mentioned on Sept. 4.
The reason there is not data of this quality (@Sundar) from MVWSD - the Superintendent, as head of Administration, has refused to do this! On the third Board meeting of the year (the first we were having Closed Negotiations discussions) the Superintendent, on my inquiry, stated that there would be no distribution of written information to the Trustees at that Closed Meeting. That reply was sent to ALL Trustees, and is a Public Record.

Was there written information distributed then? I can't say (it was a Closed Meeting). What do you think?

@Data - totally confuses TCOE (Total Cost Of Employment) with take-home, + future pension. I assume Data counts Health Care Contribution + Social Security + Employer IRA match when adding to Salary for his(her) own compensation. That is what TCOE is in these databases. You cannot pay rent with OTHER and with STRS.
I find it really pretty lax public administration when Trustee Chiang has to pull together data into his own private spreadsheet (It's different but like @Sundar). But voters - that is what the Majority of this Board has taken as acceptable. If we ever reconstitute a MVWSD Budget Task Force with residents, Sundar Subbaryayan will be my first recruiting effort!

Steven Nelson is an elected Trustee of the MVWSD, he did NOT get pre-approval for this posting from the President of the School Board. If you want to see a copy of the email exchange between Nelson, Superintendent (cc: Trustees) you may file a Public Records Request with the MVWSD. This exchange was not CONFIDENTAIL.


4 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 8, 2014 at 9:39 am

@ Sandar. Wow. Combined with Trustee Chiang's individual work, this almost looks like a draft report from a well run Compensation Committee! The only things really technical, and basic, is the Addition of Health (Insurance) to the Salary as a basis of comparison [1st order]. There are districts with 'less generous' health insurance, and in that case it becomes a bigger burden to the employee out-of-pocket each month or year.
The TCOE also folds in the non-Take-Home (deferred compensation future STRS pension costs). Although not Take-Home, this TCOE is what hits the Budget. The STRS increase for District is NOT at all optional. Year to year until it gets up to 18%.(?). Guaranteed cost-of-Teacher increase.
Sandar "B" without revision and easily an "A" with one revision. I wouldn't quite know how to distribute that credit, since it is shared with Chris. :) Chris obviously has exceeded any other Trustee!

The Board has 5 voting member who will decide this. The Administration - does not have any Votes.

The "power of documents, of numbers, of knowing how politicians spend money" The Economist, Jan. 14, 2014. Ms. Babinets, a founder of a famous whistleblower website in The Ukraine.


5 people like this
Posted by Old Steve
a resident of Rex Manor
on Oct 8, 2014 at 10:47 am

Since the meeting Trustee Nelson mentions was a "closed session", as a voter I consider his leading reference above to be inappropriate. Has it ever occurred to any readers that Trustee Nelson does not have the individual right to "demand" any particular work product from Superintendent Goldman or his staff? Neither Trustee Chiang nor the other private information gatherers posting here on had to juggle their individual work with the daily demands on the jobs of others, they both just decided to do it. As folks marvel at the level of transparency Trustee Nelson seems to demand, imagine how you would feel seeing your TCOE posted in the local newspaper! If we make such demands of public agencies, shouldn't we at least consider them for publicly traded companies?

Be careful what you wish for.


5 people like this
Posted by Observer
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 8, 2014 at 10:57 am

@ Steven Nelson - since you love to quote the Brown act - I agree with Old Steve that you seem to have violated the confidentiality of closed session with your comment above.

Also, why do you think you have the right to grade people on their efforts? Since you seem to think it is OK, I and many other members of the community would give you an "F" for your behavior on the Board.


5 people like this
Posted by Sundar Subbarayan
a resident of Shoreline West
on Oct 8, 2014 at 11:10 am

@Steven Nelson: Fair point on total compensation. I looked at TCOE and added how we do on benefits to the summary doc Web Link

Cheers
Sundar


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