Teachers want pay increase for curriculum work

Teachers in the Redwood City School District are negotiating for pay increases to cover the additional work hours they claim they’ll face when new districtwide curriculum changes take effect in September.

Those negotiations have been under way since the school board approved funding for the new curriculum in February, but leaders with the teachers union say they may reach a deal Tuesday. The district has already agreed to pay per diem stipends for teachers training this summer so they can teach the new Houghton-Mifflin and Prentice Hall curriculum this fall — designed to help district schools meet federal No Child Left Behind assessment benchmarks, Assistant Superintendent Liz Wolfe said.

But teachers say that, aside from the training, the new curriculum creates more work for them and they should be compensated, said Bill Crow, president-elect of the Redwood City Teachers Association, representing the district’s 515 instructors.

“The teachers are afraid this [change] will cause a lot more hours of work,” Crow said.

For example, teachers who teach combination-grade classes will now have to teach from textbooks for both grades, rather than using the one for the higher grade, he added.

“[The district] has been flexible when offering training and paying for it, but it’s been tough getting extra money for extra work, because we don’t punch a time clock,” Crow said.

So far, 100 district teachers have gone through the training; most will do it this summer, a time when their salaries do not cover the cost.

Paying teachers’ per diems — an average of $400 per day for five days of training — could cost the district $400,000, although some of that money may be reimbursed by the state, Wolfe said.

While sweeping curriculum changes were approved five years ago, the board didn’t approve funding until February of this year, according to trustee Shelly Masur.

Both sides agree on training compensation, but salary changes have not yet been approved, Assistant Superintendent John Baker said. The teachers union would not disclose pay increase figures.

bwinegarner@examiner.com

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