After months of negotiations, the Coronado Unified School District announced a new salary agreement with the Association of Coronado Teachers during the first week of May.
The new contract, which will last through June of 2017, stipulates that teacher salaries will rise between 5 and 11 percent over the next two years.
Coronado High principal Jenny Moore said that the district's teachers have gone eight years without a raise, despite inflation and increases to the cost of living.
“I’ve been hoping that our teachers would be honored with a monetary increase despite budget woes,” Moore said. “I feel that a salary increase is not only a symbolic, but practically important, thing to have happened. I’m very pleased.”
The new policy guarantees that every teacher will receive a pay raise of 5 percent, but certain groups of teachers could end up seeing a bigger proportional raise, depending on their education level and number of years in the district. The school board’s intent is to bring every Coronado educator up to San Diego County’s average teacher salary.
CHS English teacher Heather Bice said that another positive part of the new agreement is that teachers can expect more consistent increases in pay.
“Before, a teacher wouldn’t get a raise from years ten through fifteen, which put them at a significant disadvantage,” Bice said. “Now, teachers will see a salary increase every year for years one through thirty.” Though Bice cannot speak on behalf of the Association of Coronado Teachers, she considers the new policy to be a fair deal. “It’s going to help Coronado recruit quality teachers…and keep us here,” she said.
For years, the school district has justified the low wages for teachers with the “Sunshine Clause,” which implies that because Coronado High School has a high quality-of-work experience, teachers should be willing to accept less compensation.
“The Sunshine Clause doesn’t say that working in Coronado is so wonderful that teachers should be willing to work for pennies,” said Moore. "There is nothing so wonderful that you can feed your family on it, so despite how much our teachers love to work here, there are times when the bottom line has to dictate their life choices.”
Moore describes the school board’s offer as a show of faith and teamwork between teachers and board members that demonstrates mutual respect and understanding.
“This is a pledge to keep our talented teachers here and away from other districts that may pay more,” said Moore. “Since the board reached an agreement, I’ve heard some teachers say, 'I’m going to stay now.' That is wonderful for me to hear.”