S.F. schools to cut furlough days

Teachers union rejects surprise offer, wants more

April 13, 2013

After years of cuts to salaries and other compensation, the San Francisco school district unexpectedly reduced the number of furlough days required of workers this school year.

The district's administrators union quickly accepted the give back of one day of pay. The union had expected two furlough days.

The teachers union, however, has so far turned its back on the offer, which would have reduced furloughs from 1.5 days to a half day.

The district was under no obligation to cancel the furlough days, but with the economy more stable and the passage of Proposition 30 to boost education funding, Superintendent Richard Carranza said he felt comfortable the district could afford the move.

In addition, Carranza and the school board decided to cancel all scheduled furlough days next school year - 1.5 days for teachers, two days for administrators and three days for central office staff.

"It's a sign of good will," he said. "We want to give back to our employees who sacrificed for us."

The district will spend $5.28 million combined to restore the furlough day this year and those next year.

Teacher union officials, however, said they have sacrificed a lot more than one furlough day and believe the district has enough money in reserves to give back more.

Union leadership has requested the district restore the full 1.5 days this year and give the teachers the pay from next year's 1.5 days of furloughs, too, Carranza said.

"We really have put ourselves out there," said Matthew Hardy, spokesman for the United Educators of San Francisco. "It's a sign a respect for the people who have made great sacrifices to the district and who do the work in the classroom."

While the teachers union has so far rejected the restoration of one day to their paychecks, a "me-too" clause in their contract requires the district to give teachers any additional benefits given to other employees.
That means teacher furlough days will be reduced by a half day to match the one-day furlough obligation of administrators.

"It was surprising the (give back) wasn't accepted with open arms," the superintendent said. Still, "we're excited because I think teachers and paraprofessionals will be excited to get something back this year and know there will be no furloughs next year."

District and teachers union officials said they are in discussions and could yet resolve the situation.