All West Contra Costa Unified School District employees will receive salary increases of at least 10 percent by the 2020-21 school year after the Board of Education approved agreements Wednesday that will cost the district an estimated $37 million.
The contract agreements between the WCCUSD and United Teachers of Richmond (UTR) are aimed at retaining educators that have reportedly been leaving the district due to low pay and soaring Bay Area housing costs.
As part of the agreement, district teachers are set to receive 15-percent increases in salaries from 2018 to 2020. Teachers will receive a 4.55 percent increase for the 2018-19 school year while the other UTR members will see a 2.5 percent raise. All UTR members will receive raises of 3 percent in 2019-20 and 2 percent in 2020-21. The raises add to the 5 percent salary increase that began in March 2018.
The agreement with UTR also reduces average class size in K-3 from 24 to 22 students and the maximum class size from 28 to 24 by the 2020-21 school year. In grades 4-6, the maximum class size will be reduced from 33 to 31 students by 2020-21. And in middle and high school, the maximum class size in core classes will be 36 students and 38 for elective courses.
Other contract agreements: teachers will receive 30 hours of paid collaboration time, and the district will offer maternity/paternity paid leave through a new program called “enhanced California Family Rights Act leave.”
“We made a promise that we would do everything we could to increase employee salaries so they can better afford to live in this area and we were able to fulfill that promise,” Superintendent Matthew Duffy said in a statement. “Our employees deserve to be paid like professionals and I firmly believe that this will help us recruit and retain the best and brightest for our students.”
In the same statement, UTR President Demetrio Gonzalez said he believes the raises will help WCCUSD retain educators “who have told us numerous times that the number one reason they are leaving is due to low compensation and the growing cost of housing in the Bay Area.”
“I also fully believe going from near the bottom in Contra Costa County in pay to the top will help us recruit and retain the effective educators our students deserve,” Gonzalez said.