This website has been created as a way for our community to hear the teacher's perspective. We hope that you use this website as a tool for asking questions and thinking critically about the future of your school. Please, do not hesitate to reach out, speak out, and become an active advocate for public education!
Harmony Union Teachers
VOTE TO STRIKE!
You can’t put students first if you put teachers last
After a failed mediation session HUTA members attended the May Board Meeting to encourage the District to return to the bargaining table. The District chose not to return to the table. Harmony Union Teachers have taken a strike vote before entering into fact-finding, the last legal step of bargaining. HUTA has taken this step to ensure that teachers are prioritized in the annual budget, and in an effort to ensure that salary and benefits remain competitive to recruit and retain the best educators for our students.
COST OF LIVING
- Harmony Union teachers are not guaranteed COLA (cost of living adjustments)
- The California CPI (Consumer Price Index) for the Bay Area is higher than the rest of California - if raises don’t account for this, teachers effectively receive a pay cut.
- According to a recent article published in USA Today, Santa Rosa is the 5th worst city to live in for teachers in the nation! Housing costs are notably higher in West County. Four of the five cities listed as the worst places for teachers to live are located in the greater Bay Area!
THE BROADER CONTEXT OF TEACHER WAGES
Comparing Harmony Teachers salaries to other Sonoma County teacher salaries is a flawed metric because all Sonoma County Teachers are underpaid. Given that HUSD has a unique funding formula not matched by any other local schools, one must look at broader trends within the state and Bay Area:
Average Teacher Salaries in Neighboring Counties:
Marin: $85,981 Napa: $82,465 Sonoma: $68,998
Based on the J-90 forms submitted to CDE, Harmony Union teachers make 16% below the state average teacher pay, despite teaching in one of the most unaffordable counties in the state for teachers.
According to the 2017-18 SARC report, Districts with a similar ADA spend on average 32% of their budget on teacher salaries, HUSD reported spending only 21% of their budget.
THE DISTRICT CAN AFFORD IT
HUSD has 81.62% in reserves with a December adopted Board Resolution to save over $4 million. The District has the 2nd highest amount of reserves in the entire county which includes $2.4 million in a “Budget Stabilization Fund.” Instead of allocating money to increase the size of the reserve, the District could choose to spend the same money to provide teachers with a raise. HUTA believes that as long as the District has such large reserves, it has, at a minimum, an ethical obligation to keep up with the rate of inflation and cost of living increases.
In 2017-18 teachers elected not to receive a salary increase when the District claimed it was deficit spending. Now that the District can meet its financial obligations and simultaneously project to increase its reserves as well as administrative pay, teacher raises continue to not be prioritized in the budget.
HOW IS BARGAINING FUNDED?
The District annually budgets tens of thousands of dollars from local taxes for legal fees. This year, those legal fees have been directed to fight the teachers on their advocacy for fair and livable wages.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Make your voice heard - Contact HUSD Board Members and become engaged at board meetings.
● Steve Bair, President firstname.lastname@example.org
● Mariah Lander, Clerk email@example.com
● Henry Goff firstname.lastname@example.org
● Charlie Laird email@example.com
● Yuri Koslen firstname.lastname@example.org
Next Meeting: August 22nd - Salmon Creek Falls Building - Open Session begins at 6:00pm- WEAR RED!