On October 4th I was talking to a client and learned that a large number of teachers had left our local Borel Middle School at the end of last year. With the rising cost of housing in the San Francisco Bay Area and the wave of baby boomer teachers retiring, I was concerned that the conditions might finally be developing for a “perfect storm” in which replacements might not be found due to cost of living issues for new teachers.
Our district has always been funded differently from surrounding districts, since before my children started attending the local schools about 25 years ago, and it seems that these problems still have not been resolved.
I opened a discussion on Nextdoor.com in our neighborhood to try to gather additional insight into the teacher departures from Borel, and am reproducing parts of that discussion here because Nextdoor access is limited to our local neighborhood. Text other than mine below has been quoted with permission of the author. Horizontal lines separate posts which are also quoted in italicized text.
October 6, 2016, DK:
GC: “David, while I can’t speak for all teachers, I know that personally I would be fine trading out the tenure system for a substantial increase in compensation and a fair evaluation system not based solely on test scores. That being said, I would agree that the issue may be taboo, as I’ve never once heard anyone on either the teacher union side or the district/state side even mention the possibility.
As for the “substantial” vacation time (I assume you’re referring to summer vacation), many people do not know that this is not paid vacation time for teachers – our salary is paid 10 months out of the year, and the other 2 we receive no compensation. Additionally, nearly every teacher I know works at least a few weeks out of the summer (unpaid) packing up and setting up classrooms for the new school year and attending professional development opportunities. We also work a few hours of unpaid overtime nearly every workday, and some teachers are regularly seen in their classrooms on the weekends. All of that being said, as long as those work hours were taken into account and not counted as “vacation” time when determining fair compensation/salary, I think an agreement could be reached with teachers.
The bills do not stop coming in just because one is essentially unemployed (though with benefits at least) for a couple of months.”
In the next few days following the conversation above, I found several articles in the local newspapers which indicated that concern about this and the related housing issues were on the rise:
In the Oct. 9, 2016 Chronicle:
From the Oct. 10th San Mateo Daily Journal about SMFCSD efforts to solve the housing problem:
“Update on the teacher housing issue for the SMFCSD in yesterday’s DailyJournal:
and also today’s issue for SMUHSD:
“The latest from the Daily Journal: