The Coast News Group
San Marcos teachers protesting a contract offer with no pay increase for the 2021-22 school year.
San Marcos teachers unhappy with contract negotiations protested at the district office last month. Photo via Twitter/SMEA

Letter: ‘Zero percent’ for teachers misleading

Your article on the San Marcos teacher contract negotiations promotes myths about teacher pay that I think need to be made clear to your readers. 

As is common in such media reports, it was implied the zero percent increase offered by the district means teachers would receive no raise. 

In reality, teachers are under defined salary schedules that offer periodic raises, often annually.  Usually that increase rate exceeds inflation. 

What the union is asking for is a “bonus” raise, on top of their normal annual increases. From the district’s own pay records, we see in 2020 the median total compensation of a full time San Marcos teacher was $121,748. 

Far from being “the lowest in the county,” San Marcos teachers rank 17th out of 43 districts — in the top half. If that is not a “livable wage,” what is? 

Certainly inflation is up recently. However, if we look at the last decade, inflation has averaged 2.12% per year in the county. 

In that same time, San Marcos teacher median total compensation has gone up 8.06% per year.

That’s almost four times higher. 

When did we hear the union president clamoring to give some of that back because it was too much?  Seems like picking a single year is very much cherry picking data.

Perhaps the district’s “intransigence” is just welcome financial responsibility. 

A deficit of almost $26 million next year means layoff announcements now.  Adding more cost would mean more layoffs, cutting from the education of our kids. Isn’t that a bit like taking candy from babies?

Are the union leaders putting their own interests ahead of our kids’ education and their co-workers’ jobs planning on apologizing to parents and laid-off workers for considering their own wallet more important than their concerns?

Todd Maddison