Recently the Davis Teachers Association voted to ratify a tentative agreement with the Davis Joint Unified School District. This agreement brings about a 2% increase to our members’ salary scales along with a 2% one-time payment. It is the first increase in the better part of a decade, and it comes after a 2.7% salary reduction a few years ago.
This is not truly, however, a raise but a partial cost of living adjustment. What this increase does is cause our teachers and other members to fall behind the cost of living a little more slowly. As we stated to the Board of Education in public comment at the beginning of this school year, “…tonight’s consent calendar contains an unaudited actuals report that shows that ‘The Total General Fund ending balance of $11.9m is better than projected by $2m.’ It is a good thing to have a favorability, especially coming out of a severe fiscal crisis.
But our members have seen no favorability. For the better part of a decade we have seen our salaries stagnate, with no increase to the salary scale at all, and in that time a one year cut of 2.7%, during which year the District actually increased its reserves. In reality, each year our salaries have declined in real dollars as the cost of living has increased. This does not even take into account the increased out-of-pocket costs of health care premiums, with some of our members paying more than $1,000 a month out of pocket for their benefits. It also does not include increased class sizes, responsibilities, caseloads, expectations, and many more concerns piled upon us as we were told to do more with less.”
The District is now financially better off than it was when it showed that $2,000,000 favorability. While we hear the District’s affirmations that the new state funding formulas still do not make the District whole, neither does the 2% increase make our members whole—far from it.
Now that DTA and the DJUSD have made a start, we urge the District to make its employees and their compensation a priority in the upcoming years as the District’s financial outlook has improved. We urge that they show how much they value their employees, heeding the words of Thomas Paine: “What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly.”
DTA Executive Board: Blair Howard, Frank Thomsen, Cathy Haskell, Ruthie Bowers, Connie Alexich, Tim Paulson, Gail Mitchell