HAYWARD (KPIX 5) — Representatives from the New Haven Unified School District and the teachers union were trying all day Sunday to hash out a deal to end the teachers strike, which began last Monday, May 20.
After a ten hour bargaining session, both sides weren’t able to produce a settlement, the district announced on Sunday evening.
The school district serves about 11,000 students in Union City and southern Hayward.
All day Sunday, teachers were picketing outside the Alameda County Office of Education in Hayward while negotiations were going on inside.
The teachers union is asking for a 10 percent raise over the next two years, saying it’s necessary to ensure students get the best quality education.
“We want to be able to attract and maintain quality teachers,” says Lisa Duncanson, a spokesperson for the New Haven Teachers Association.
The issues with hiring the best teachers are compounded by rapidly increasing housing costs.
“The cost of living in the Bay Area is extremely high, but for what we are being paid, it’s not significant to what we need,” says Denise Novak, a 4th grade teacher in the district.
School district representatives say their teachers are already the highest paid in Alameda County.
According to the district, the average teacher salary is more than $96,00 dollars a year, with the lowest paid teachers making around $73,000 a year and the highest making just under $120,000 a year.
“The district is still really trying to balance a salary increase that’s respectful of our teachers, but also keeps in mind the district’s long term financial health,” says John Mattos, the New Haven Unified School District spokesperson.
The district says there are fewer kids enrolling in their schools, which means less money from the state, so they’re offering a 3 percent one time bonus for the 2018-2019 school year and a 1 percent pay raise in the 2019-2020 school year.
“We really want our teachers back in the classroom with their kids. I think the teachers want to be back in the classroom with the kids, and I think the offer that we put on the table would get us really close to that,” says Mattos.
The teachers say they will stay outside the office picketing all night, if that’s how long the negotiations continue.
District representatives say they’re willing to stay at the bargaining table, so long as the discussions are productive.