Administrators get raise; teachers wait

The same salary disparity causing a brain drain of young teachers to other school districts has also made the recruitment of talented managers difficult in the expensive, highly competitive Peninsula, San Mateo-Foster CitySchool District officials said.

The district has approved a 5 percent increase to the salaries of principals and department directors — approximately 50 employees — for an increase worth $229,494. The plan also includes an “equity adjustment,” bumping up the salaries of directors and middle school principals, who are currently all on the same pay scale with elementary school teachers, by one additional percentage point.

“It’s been hard recruiting directors, so we’re hoping this will level that out a little,” Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Mary Willis said. “The advice from the state was that our salaries are too low.”

Salaries for managers, confidential classified employees and teachers in the district, which covers 20 schools ranging from kindergarten through eighth grade, fall short of those offered at other local districts, Willis said.

“We can’t compete, with our revenue limit base, with those other salaries, but we try the best that we can,” she said.

A similar salary disparity compared with other districts — and the high cost of housing in Foster City and San Mateo — has also led to the loss of more than 175 teachers in the last two years.

The teachers union, the San Mateo Elementary Teachers Association, is at an impasse with the district on salary negotiations. Association President Carole Delgado said the union is waiting for the district to answer a number of questions related to budget figures and assumptions.

“I think it’s in poor taste to be talking about these raises [for principals and directors] now,” Delgado said.

The district maintains that the 15 percent increase the teachers have asked for — to bring them within the top districts in the area for pay — would result in depleted reserves and necessary cuts in less than five years.

The teachers have said the district’s offer of 4 percent raises, plus a 2 percent one-time increase and a 0.5 percent stipend for teachers with special credentials, will not slow the exodus of educators.

No new offers were exchanged during the last round of negotiations on June 12.

“We’re trying to get at least one date together for the summer,” Delgado said. “We would love to reach even a tentative agreement as soon as possible.”

jgoldman@examiner.com

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