Mediation between PUSD and APT fails

Julie Reichle

PHS Social Studies teacher, Melanie McCauley, speaks at a December 2023 school board meeting.

PUSD and APT have failed to come to terms in mediation and APT has taken the next step and applied to pursue fact-finding, according to school district and APT sources on Tuesday.

The Piedmont Highlander student newspaper first reported this story on their social media accounts on April 2.

In the fact-finding stage, a panel consisting of a representative from APT, PUSD, and a neutral member appointed by the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) will meet. APT and PUSD will present their positions and work toward a compromise. If neither side accepts the compromise, they can go back to the negotiation table or the district can impose a final offer. The union can either accept that offer or strike.

APT voted earlier this year to authorize a strike if no deal could be reached.

In a statement to the Exedra on Tuesday evening, APT President Dr. Elise Marks said:

APT vowed publicly to negotiate in good faith during Mediation and to do everything we could — including moving very significantly from our original stance on compensation — to reach an agreement that would work within the district budget and enable PUSD educators to afford to keep doing their jobs. And we kept our word. We went in with high hopes that we could reach a fair and reasonable settlement.

Unfortunately, despite four long Mediation sessions, final agreement could not be reached with district management, and Mediation failed. We are devastated by this result. This is the first time in the memory of anyone currently working in the district that APT and district leadership have failed to reach agreement. At this point, we are forced to take the next step and apply through the Public Employment Relations Board for the formation of a Fact-Finding panel to hold a hearing to consider the details of the case. It’s important for the public to understand that Fact-Finding is not an audit, and no new “facts” will be found, so it’s incumbent upon district leadership to find a solution so great teachers can stay in Piedmont with their students. APT has not given up on finding resolution, and hope district leadership understands how urgent it is that we do so.

At its Feb. 28 meeting PUSD said it would explore the possibility of putting a parcel tax measure on the November ballot as a way to fund teacher salaries in coming years. The Board of Education approved a modified first round of budget cuts on March 4.

PUSD Superintendent Dr. Jennifer Hawn said in an email on Tuesday night that “we continue to be committed to providing a competitive compensation package to our staff. We respect APT’s decision to move forward with fact-finding, and we will engage in the process in an effort to do everything we can for our APT members.”

7 thoughts on “Mediation between PUSD and APT fails

  1. Hi Amy- the statement about the 13% raise was accurate. 4% was retroactive to the 2022-23 school year, 5% for the current year, and 4% next year. It was not a misrepresentation.

  2. I believe the school board and Dr. Hawn, as a team, have nothing to hide. They have all been, as a team, more transparent than I have experienced past admin within PUSD being under past leadership. I have been asking a lot of questions and talking with teachers, parents, school board members and other community members regarding compensation agreements other districts are getting that may not be quite as generous as they appear and/or how districts that made extremely generous compensation offers in the past year or so are now facing severe financial shortfalls (this article about OUSD and SFUSD shows how districts are now facing the prospect of closing schools to pay for compensation increases they gave last year). I have looked up information on other districts website and gotten into the weeds, asking questions as I don’t understand some of the minutiae. I don’t feel the APT leadership has been consistently truthful with their teachers in comparison to facts found from the source.

    There was a statement made by the APT president written in Dr. Hawn’s Piedmont Pulse a few months ago that stated, “Sausalito / Marin City, whose salary schedule is very close to Piedmont’s, reached an agreement that will give educators a total 13% raise by the time they enter their classrooms next fall.” This made it sounds like the educators got a $13% increase in one year which wasn’t true: it appears they agreed on 13% over three years; not this school year as Elise stated. This is misleading and makes me really upset.

    In terms of additional sources of information, late last fall a group of APT, district, and Board representatives came together to update the Standards and Criteria report that was prepared to show PUSD compensation compared with compensation from other districts. They agreed on the districts that they would add to the Standards and Criteria list. All districts compared are unified (meaning k-12) districts that receive LCFF funding. A handful of districts in areas with significant business/property tax revenue are what are referred to as basic aid school districts; these districts typically receive significantly more funding per pupil than LCFF districts do. Because PUSD doesn’t have sufficient property tax revenue (because we have so few businesses) and Prop 13 probably effects this because we have folks who have lived in their homes for so many years in Piedmont that their property taxes can be INCREDIBLY low: $6k, $8K per year. You can find the tax records and history on Zillow showing some homes are kept under trusts allowed, under Prop 13, property taxes to stay the same as they were decades ago when they should be upwards of $100K per year.

    Also I learned more about Title 1 schools, I didn’t know if Piedmont was one which means we would get more funding. Many districts receive more state and federal funds than we do because they have more “unduplicated students” meaning those that are either low income, English language learners, or foster youth. Because we have so few of these students, we receive little more than the standard LCFF allocation per pupil from the state. We also received fewer Covid funds and other one time allocations than districts with more unduplicated students do. This is why we are so reliant on PEF and parcel tax funds; these two sources of funds provide over 40% of our district budget. 

    Much of these facts were relayed to me by school board members and fact checked by me via school board meeting minutes/videos from past board meetings and information I found on the internet from the sources (the school districts mentioned).

    I am saddened by what I see has misleading the public, on the APT side, of what is true, and it feels like the APT leadership is also misleading the teachers. I hope things can get worked out beyond this kind of misrepresentation of the facts.

    Best,

    Amy Griffith

    • Hey Amy. I believe Dr. Marks was correct that the Sausalito/Marin district teachers would receive a 13.6% raise by next year. They are technically receiving percentages split across three years, but those years are 4% retroactively for 22-23, 5% for 23-24, and 4% for the following 24-25 school year, according to the Marin Independent journal. One other source, edsource.org, correctly lists a three year 13.6% increase, however it does not mention which years they were.

      • So am I still confused that it was 13% over 3 years? The statement made me think Dr. Marks was saying 13% over one year. Thank you.

          • Hi Amy- You can find all the salary schedules on Sausalito Marin City’s website.
            https://www.smcsd.org/Departments/Human-Resources/Salary-Schedules/

            If you pick a box (let’s say BA +60 or Masters, year 5):
            In 2022-2023 that salary is $81384. (at the top of the page it says it is a 4% increase, the original salary schedule isn’t up on the website.)
            In 2023-2024 that salary is $85,453 (an increase of 5%)
            In 2024-2025- that salary is $88,872 (an increase of 4%)

            As the agreement was reached now and is retroactive, teachers who were teaching in 2022-23 who are still teaching will receive a one time bonus of the money they should have received in the 2022-2023 school year AND the increase in this year’s salary schedule. That means a teacher from this year to next year, will be getting a 4% increase PLUS all the money from 2022/23 and 2023/24 school years.

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