Oceanside Unified Labor Negotiations 2023-2024

As I write this (November 17th, 2023) our district is engaged in negotiations with the Oceanside Teacher’s Association.

Given the potential impact of any decision on this, which could have a budget impact exceeding $20 million, it’s important we know the facts that are relevant to consider when making that decision.

Below is a summary of those relevant facts. I’ve separated out opinion (which, of course, I have) clearly below. You are welcome to a different opinion, but the facts are the facts.

In the last decade, from 2012 to 2023, in Oceanside Unified per student spending has gone from $8,810/student in 2012 to $23,112/student in 2023.  That’s an increase of $14,302/student or 162%%, a 9.16% increase per year. 

This is a fact, according to CA Dept of Education and OUSD budget data.

From 2012 through 2022 inflation in SD County has averaged 2.97%.  2023 through July the number is 2.2%..  This is a fact, per CA State figures.

If the 2.2% holds for the year, then total inflation 2012-2023 will be 2.90%. 

This means funding has gone up at a rate 3.16 times faster than inflation. 

Last year academic performance in the district, as measured by the state’s standard for this – the Smarter Balanced (SBAC) testing – reached new lows.  59% of Oceanside kids were judged not proficient at English, 71% not proficient at Math. 

This is a fact, according to the state’s SBAC website.

In 2023 average OUSD class size was 25.83/class.  $23,112 * 25.83 = $596,983, which means our district gets almost $600,000 per classroom to educate our kids.  This is a fact, per OUSD data obtained under public records request.

Since then class sizes have gone up, the 2024 number is 27.57. 

In 2022, the median total compensation of a full-time certificated OUSD employee was $128,651

This is a fact, from actual payroll records obtained from OUSD via public records act request. Here are the details on the methodology used to analyze the records.

Pay only (excluding the money given to their retirement accounts) median was $95,845.  

Neither number includes the impact of last December’s bonus raise given to teachers, which adds a total of 4.83% to these numbers, making them $134,865 and $100,474 respectively.

For those who would like to claim the data posted by Transparent California is inaccurate, keep in mind you’re accusing the school district of having responded to a legal request illegally. You are welcome to make the same request to them or provide a redacted W2 (showing only name and total pay, as is already posted on the website) to prove your case, otherwise your challenge is invalid.

We often hear that the yardstick for “fair pay” is how much a teacher would make if they went into private industry with the same education. 

In 2022, comparably educated San Diego County residents made $91,902.   

This is a fact, according to the CA Dept of Ed data on educational attainment of OUSD teachers and the US Census Bureau’s “American Community Survey” on pay by education.

This means in pay-only, an OUSD teacher is currently making $8,572 more than they would make if they had chosen some other career on graduation. 

That number does not include the additional money contributed to their retirement plan. 

Teachers receive 19% more in contributions to retirement than private employees, which makes for a total of about $19,000/year. 

This is a fact, according to the CalSTRS retirement plan and, for private employee figures, Vanguard – the world’s largest provider of 401K plans.

To make enough money to contribute equally to their own retirement and take home the same spending money as a teacher, a private employee in our county would need to make $119,000/year.  That means an OUSD teacher currently makes $27,098 more than a comparable private employee.

The latest Union proposal asks for a 12% raise.  If that were approved, total compensation would jump to $151,048 and total pay to $112.531.

And, as a side issue, we often hear higher pay is needed “to attract and retain teachers.”

OUSD publishes a “personnel report” in every regular board meeting agenda documenting the employees who have resigned – separated between classified and certificated. The district also publishes the total number of full time employees in their annual budget documents.

A compilation and summary of that data can be found here. That data shows in 2022-2023, the rate of voluntary turnover (“resignations”) was 6.36%. During this same period the US Bureau of Labor Statistics data showed the total turnover in the education sector as a whole was 18.80%, which means OUSD turnover is about 1/3 as high. These are facts, from OUSD and US BLS records.

Additionally, transfer from OUSD to other districts is difficult because of what are called “seniority caps”. These caps determine the maximum number of years of seniority that can be transferred in to a new district. That means any teacher who has worked in OUSD for a time exceeding the cap value would move into a new district at a lower level in their salary schedule, which usually means a lower pay level.

The seniority caps are determined through union negotiations in each district and varies from district to district, but is usually somewhere between 6 and 10 years, which means a teacher with more than 10 years of seniority would see a reduction in pay.

All of the above are just facts, based on data from verifiable sources.  You are welcome to challenge them, I’d love to hear it if you find something different. info@sandiegoschools.net

———————————- What follows is opinion ———————————– 

Oceanside Unified has great teachers, and I’m very glad we can pay them well for what they do. 

I have never suggested we pay them less.  As a matter of fact, I suggest we pay starting teachers more – something I’ve said to our board many times (which the district, board, and teachers union have ignored….)

Teachers are on a salary schedule.  That schedule gives them annual increases of 3.63% per year overall.  That increase rate has exceeded inflation every year in the last decade (sometimes double) except 2022.  If the current 2.2% inflation rate holds, just the normal annual increases will result in raises of 1.65x inflation. 

I think normal raises that exceed inflation are fine, but at this moment given the crises in education we need to focus on using our money to improve the education of our kids, not ever-higher bonus raises for adults.

At the last board meeting we heard the Union President, Tiffany Ortega, tell the board we should be your first priority.   We can see from the pay growth numbers that adults have clearly been the district’s first priority for some time now, which offends me as a parent.  I disagree with her. I think our kids should be their first priority.

My point in this is to demonstrate regardless of whether teachers were underpaid in the past, they are now being paid fairly. And now would be a good time to spend our education dollars on things that benefit the education of kids, not the bank accounts of adults. 

Perhaps those reading this think holding the education of kids hostage for personal financial gain is OK, but I feel a union that would do this is reprehensible

The Union may be made up of teachers, but I truly believe it does not represent the actual values of those teachers. Teachers prioritize the education of kids far more than the Union does. The fact the Union doesn’t care about anything but money does not mean teachers feel that way.

Teachers who disagree with their union on this are now welcome to opt-out of union dues and save themselves over $1000/year. Since 2018 they are no longer required to provide money to an organization that does not share their views and values, I would encourage them to do that.

I would like to see education funding spent on things that would improve academic performance and help teachers teach.

Like smaller class sizes – which would benefit both kids and teachers.  What teacher would not want smaller classes, and who can claim having fewer kids to manage would not allow teachers to provide better education to the kids?

If half the money asked for by the Union was devoted to class size reduction, we could reduce class sizes by about 4 kids per class, in one year.  If we did this two years in a row class sizes could drop below 20 per classroom.

Like higher pay for starting teachers.  Starting pay IS too low. Let’s fix that.

If just 2% of the money demanded by the Union were devoted to raising the pay of 1st and 2nd year teachers, we could give them a $5000/year raise.  We hear all the time that we need higher starting wages to incentivize good people to become teachers.  I agree starting pay should go up. 

Like giving our teachers classroom discretionary funding for supplies, so they don’t have to buy them out of their own pockets. 

Spending just 6% of the Union demands on discretionary funds would give each teacher about $500 to spend on their classrooms.  As a parent, I’m tired of hearing the pitch for post-it notes and paper towels, and embarrassed that our teachers have to do that.  Let’s give them some money to spend.

We hear, all the time from our schools that these poor results are because of a “lack of funding”.   You can decide if $600K/classroom, and an increase rate over 3 times inflation represents “lack of funding.”

I feel there is plenty of money in the system to properly educate our kids. The problem is our education system is laser-focused on providing ever-increasing pay and benefits for adults, with actual education of kids much farther down the priority list.

We need to fix that. Our leadership on the Board owes their position to the Union, and we can see that in their votes – 5 to 0 on every issue that benefits the Union. It’s going to take effort by the parents of Oceanside to fix that. I hope it can be done.

For our kids.