Framing the Conversation
All of us in the Sacramento City Unified School District are driven by our passion for education and the future of our children. None of us would be in our profession if we didn’t value the importance of our schools and our role in preparing America’s next generation to succeed in the ever-changing world economy.
To do that, we need to have modern schools that provide an environment in which to learn, the best educators we can retain and attract, and the tools and materials to support both our children and our teachers.
This year, our district is once again faced with challenges to remaining fiscally solvent and making us the district where we can provide our students the education they so richly deserve and attract and retain talented educators. In addition to the contract signed last June that will cost the district $9.8 million, we are being hit with a wave of new costs to pay for pensions and health care.
Governor Brown recently signed legislation to shore up the California State Teachers Retirement Systems (CalSTRS) and the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS). That legislation will result in a cumulate increase in our district’s costs to these systems of nearly $27 million over the next five years.
Increases in health care costs are equally staggering: increases of $5.7 million to $14.5 million each year from now until 2021. These costs are particularly concerning. Our contract limits us to dealing with just two health insurance companies, leaving us unable to negotiate quality health care at lower costs elsewhere.
Against this backdrop, we have begun negotiations with the Sacramento City Teachers Association on an annual contract.
We are optimistic that we can fairly and honestly debate and negotiate the issues on the table with respect, transparency and integrity. We need to work together to solve these financial challenges. Our negotiations have no room for personal attacks, obstructionism, or posturing.
The challenges our district are facing are real, and not unique to our district. Now more than ever, we need cooperation and a genuine partnership to make the Sacramento Unified School District the Destination District for California. Our children depend on it.