By Karen Billing
The Rancho Santa Fe Faculty Association made its initial proposal to the Rancho Santa Fe School board on its new three-year contracts on May 3, requesting increased salary and benefits and a continuation of the board policy to allow faculty children to attend R. Roger Rowe School.
Steve Rossier, faculty association representative, said the last three years have been “remarkable” for the teachers, enduring the construction and temporary classrooms and finally moving into their “beautiful new campus.”
He said that teachers have continued to exceed the district’s high standards with additional responsibilities and duties added with no salary increase and “the continued erosion” of their benefits.
“From an analysis of our budget, the percent the district spends on teachers’ salaries ranks the lowest of basic aid districts in San Diego, while the percent the district spends on classified salaries ranks the highest,” Rossier said. “The percent spent on benefits for teachers is also at the bottom of the county for basic aid. This has occurred while the district has the second highest percent of reserves of any district in San Diego County.”
Rossier said that their analysis shows that the district can get through any potential economic challenges, adequately compensate the teachers, and still keep sufficient reserves.
In addition to increasing salary and benefits, Rossier said the teachers are also asking that the board policy be renewed to allow teachers’ children at Rowe. The policy was first enacted in 2006 and is renewed yearly.
The teachers are grateful for the policy and hope to increase the number of faculty children allowed from 10 to 15.
“A principal from a North County school told me a few years ago, ‘There is no more powerful statement of support for teachers that a district can make than to let the teachers’ kids attend their schools’,” Rossier said.
The teachers’ initial proposal is a jumping off point for negotiations.
Teacher contract negotiations are expected to begin in mid-May. The teachers plan to have the negotiations completed by the end of this school year. The board will not renew the policy allowing the children of teachers to attend R. Roger Rowe School until contract negotiations are complete, so the timing of the contract negotiations is important, according to Rossier.