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San Francisco public school teachers may get a 6% raise

Instructional aide Alex Schmaus addresses the SFUSD Board of Education on Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022, in San Francisco. | Noah Berger for The Standard

San Francisco Unified School District and its teachers union landed on an agreement that would bring educators a raise for the first time since 2018—and potentially more to come.

Under a tentative agreement announced over the weekend, teachers and paraeducators will get a 6% pay bump for the current school year backdated to July 1. The agreement also adds 45 minutes of weekly prep time for elementary school teachers, 30 minutes for middle and high school teachers, and station substitute teachers full-time for high-needs schools. 

“This agreement is an important investment in our educators, and an important step for SFUSD to attract and retain talented professionals,” SFUSD Superintendent Dr. Matt Wayne said in a prepared statement. “I want to thank our educators who continue to teach and nurture students every day in SFUSD schools and classrooms.”

The proposed wage hike would mark the first raise across the board for SFUSD educators since 2018, when San Francisco voters approved Proposition G, a parcel tax to boost teacher wages. 

It could hardly come at a more critical time. The pandemic pushed many teachers past their limit, leading to a staff shortage crisis last year and continued disruptions from reassignments to plug gaps this school year.

In addition to burnout from the pandemic and returning to a different school environment, staff have dealt with missing pay and benefit errors for more than nine months under a still-unfolding payroll disaster. Teachers have repeatedly attested to the difficulties the boondoggle it places on their ability to do their jobs as they try to make sense of their paychecks and grapple with lack of communication from understaffed central office employees.

“All of it relates to teacher stress,” United Educators of San Francisco President Cassondra Curiel said of the agreement. “We also know that 6% is not enough. We have higher needs in San Francisco and the Bay Area than a one-digit raise can do.”

UESF and the district agreed to reopen the current contract this fall for the specific purpose of salaries. The two parties will negotiate once again in the spring for its full contract, when Curiel said she expects conditions for paraeducators to become a big topic as stakeholders monitor state funding. 

Curiel added that bargaining in the spring will also happen under a new chief negotiator, for Friday was the last day for the district's head of labor relations, Daniel Menezes. Other labor unions are still undergoing negotiations with the district. 

The Board of Education will vote on the agreement at a meeting in October.