Campbell School District and teachers reach contract agreement after months of protest


January 21, 2022

The Campbell Union High School District and its educators have reached an agreement after more than a year of negotiations and months of protests.

The deal, approved at a school board meeting on Thursday, includes a $5,000 base salary increase for all teachers, retroactive to last July, and a 3% increase in salaries scheduled to start Jan. 1. . Educators will also receive additional pay for attending more than 12 special education meetings outside of their work day under the new contract.

The deal comes after months of picketing by teachers, who have flooded school board meetings in red shirts with “Ask me about my pay cut” pins since October 2020. Many educators said the district had not listened to their concerns during one of the most difficult times fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’m not one to dwell on the past, but there are lessons from the past few months that I hope we’ve all learned,” said Kim McCarthy, Prospect High School teacher and president of the Campbell High School Teachers Association, adding that she was grateful to students and parents for their support of the union. “I hope that as we look to the future, we can also find ways to build communication and trust between the board and teachers in the district.”

The Campbell High School Teachers Association and the district ratified the contract this week. With an 85% turnout, the union voted to approve the contract. The school board adopted the new agreement unanimously on Thursday.

The neighborhood and its educators fought over the contract for more than a year. Educators said the district does not value them, with salaries failing to keep up with the cost of living. District officials have disputed that the district has no money for raises, even though it is sitting on $48 million in reserves.

In 2019, the school district and the union entered into a three-year contract that gave teachers a one-time bonus of $4,000 in the first year and a one-time bonus of $5,000 in the second year. A decision on teacher pay for the 2021-22 fiscal year has remained undecided as the district tries to pass a package tax. The measure failed twice in 2020, leaving teachers in limbo.

According to the contract, the teachers would have received a salary increase of $4,000 to $8,000 with a tax on parcels. If the package tax fails, teachers would receive a permanent $4,000 pay raise.

In support of their teachers, hundreds of students left class last October. An online petition organized by Prospect High School student Angela LeDrew in support of district educators garnered 24,000 signatures within weeks. In December, the union also presented a vote of no confidence in Superintendent Robert Bravo, signed by 85% of all educators, before a bargaining session.

As tensions continued to mount, the union also voted in January to activate “work to rule”, where teachers only work the minimum required by their contract and limit their availability outside working hours. The action lasted a week before a tentative contract agreement was reached earlier this month.

As the union prepares to negotiate its contract for next year, some district leaders hope to be able to reconcile with the educators.

“It saddens me to hear this report from President McCarthy that teachers do not feel valued by the board,” said Administrator Stacey Brown. “I hope that in the future this will no longer be the case, that we can fix it and do better in the next negotiation.”

Student council member Ainsley Bateman also urged the council to work to regain teachers’ trust.

“Now is the time for the council to focus on building the community and restoring the relationships we had before,” Bateman said. “It’s something we can do to show we care.”

Contact Tran Nguyen at [email protected] or follow @nguyenntrann on Twitter.

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