Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Berkeley Teachers Pull Down 3.5 Percent Raise

By Doug Oakley
Staff Writer
Bay Area News Group

BERKELEY -- The school district's 800 teachers will get a 3.5 percent raise and a 2 percent one-time bonus, the district and the teachers union announced Wednesday. 

The raise includes the fiscal year going forward starting July 1 and the previous year retroactive to July 1, 2013. Last year the two sides agreed upon a 2.5 percent raise retroactive to July 1, 2012, plus a 2.5 percent bonus. 

Berkeley Federation of Teachers President Cathy Campbell explained that there were no raises from 2008 through 2012, so the last two contracts included retroactive raises from the previous years. 

In terms of pay, she said teachers still have not recovered from the recession when state funding to education was cut during those years. 

"With the state promising to get back to 2007 levels by 2021, it's going to take us a while to catch up," Campbell said. "We basically had a wage freeze that affected everybody in the state for four years." 

As part of the contract, middle school teachers agreed to increase the time they teach each day by 20 minutes. She said she's not sure how schools will implement it, with longer class time or increased advisory time. 

"Their overall time at school doesn't change, but the percentage of time they are at school with students will expand," Campbell said. "Some teachers will see it as more work, and some will see it as more time with students." 

Campbell added that the raise will boost morale at a time when teachers are having to learn new teaching strategies with the Common Core standards. 

Teacher pay in Berkeley ranges from $39,500 to $82,000 a year, she said. 

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