District deficit may choke negotiations

More than 200 of The City’s public school principals, assistant principals and administrators are trying to get better benefits out of their current contract, despite a $61 million deficit the San Francisco Unified School District is facing during the next two years.

United Administrators of San Francisco represents 245 administrators who are in their third year of a three-year contract. The Board of Education voted this week to reopen the contract, scheduling an informational hearing Oct. 13 for three bargaining items.

The union cited three reasons that prompted the renegotiations: to increase salary and benefits; to change procedures for appointment transfer and reassignment; and to change procedures for evaluations.

But union President James Duerke said that due to the deficit he won’t focus on salary increases, instead looking into health benefits and early retirement incentive programs.

“The district has one set health plan and it’s kind of geared for certain things. It doesn’t address administrators as much as teachers. We have different needs than the teachers do,” he said.

It’s routine practice for both the United Educators of San Francisco, which is the teachers union, and the administrators’ union to try to bargain every year for a better contract. However, teachers opted out this year knowing there’s nothing for the district to give, union spokesman Matthew Hardy said.

The Parent Advisory Council will remain neutral on the union’s contract, Director Ruth Grabowski said.

“Parents really recognize the importance of teachers and principals and all the school staff being fairly compensated, but they also know that our district doesn’t have any money,” she said.

Duerke said a specific problem is that a universal health care program does not keep in mind that the administrators are usually older, since they have been in the system longer.

“We get $1,500 for a year of dental care,” he said.” That’s really great if you’re just getting your teeth cleaned, but if you’re an older person and you need a crown, it’s not so great.”

When veteran Board of Education member Jill Wynns heard the administrators union might ask for better benefits, she was skeptical.

“Yeah, that’s probably not going to happen,’’ she said.

kkelkar@sfexaminer.com

 

What they take home

Salaries for SFUSD school administrators are based on how long they have been part of the union and how many students are enrolled in their schools. Here’s a range of salaries for principals and assistant principals:

Principals
  • High school, $88,710 to $114,586
  • K-8 and middle school, $86,658 to $112,335
  • Elementary school, $81,587 to $107,605
Assistant Principals
  • High school, $75,491 to $98,516
  • K-8 and middle school, $73,690 to $94,713
  • Elementary schools do not typically have assistant principals

Source: United Administrators of San Francisco

 

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