OCEANSIDE — Teachers will receive a 4% salary increase this year following board approval earlier in December.
The Oceanside Unified School District board approved a 4% salary increase and a one-time payment of $2,500 retroactively starting from July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023, at a Dec. 13 board meeting. The raise comes after the school district reached a tentative agreement with the Oceanside Teachers Association in November.
Starting teacher salaries also received a 4% pay bump, including certificated teachers, preschool teachers, junior ROTC instructors, speech and language specialists, psychologists, school counselors, supervising teachers and high school counselor coordinators.
Some residents took issue with the raise citing concerns about taking money away from students that could be used to improve test scores and state standard goals.
According to publicschoolreview.com, the district’s schools currently have an average math proficiency level of 36% compared to the state’s 40% average and a reading proficiency score of 46% compared to the state’s 51%.
Oceanside resident Todd Maddison told the board that the money could be used to hire more teachers to allow for smaller class sizes, more school supplies, more specialized programs for students or even higher starting pay for teachers.
Maddison also suggested that the district is not willing to disclose what cuts will need to be made down the road to pay for the raises or how much the teachers are currently receiving the raises will make.
“The myth of poorly paid staff will continue,” Maddison said. “These people fund your campaigns, so of course, we’re going to vote for approval.”
District documents break down the salary schedule changes for teachers.
In other financial news, the board also reviewed its first interim financial report for the current school year. As of October, the district had a revenue increase of over $64 million due to attendance recovery, not spending as much COVID-19 relief funds as previously anticipated, and receiving more than $47 million in combined state grant funding for arts and music instructional materials, learning recovery efforts, special education and expanded after-school enrichment programs.
The district also had a $49.3 million increase in expenses by October, including $33.8 million spent on books and supplies, an additional $13.3 million in services and operations, and some increases to salaries and benefits due to extra work hours.
Andrea Norman, associate superintendent of business services, said the increased revenue left the district with a higher ending fund balance of $73.5 million instead of the originally projected $61 million.
“While both revenue and expenses increased, the expenses remained lower than revenue, increasing the ending fund balance,” Norman said.
According to Norman, district reserves also remained at 3%, which was also great news.
“I’m happy to announce that we do not need additional expenditure reductions to maintain a 3% reserve,” Norman said. “This is the first time since 2016… that’s very exciting.”
During public comments, Maddison praised the purchase of nearly $34 million in school supplies but also noted that the district’s increase in revenue was only because of one-time funds that won’t reoccur in following years.
According to Norman, multi-year financial projects currently show that the district is on track to see significant revenue drops starting the next two years without more of the one-time grant funding and the additional loss of funds due to declining enrollment.
“The prudent thing to do would be to use our money to improve the education of our kids, which would help decrease the enrollment drop,” Maddison said.