File Photo by Sam Hodgson
Bruce McGirr is director of the union representing San Diego Unified's administrators.
I’ve had a few emails and tweets from teachers and principals wanting to know when or whether administrators at the San Diego Unified School District will make the same concessions educators agreed to last week.
Educators voted on Wednesday to ratify a tentative agreement that puts off a series of pay raises they were promised in 2010. They also agreed to continue taking five unpaid furlough days for the next two years, and to take up to 14 additional furlough days if both tax measures on November’s ballot fail. The school board approved the deal Thursday.
Now, teachers want to know whether administrators like principals and vice principals will do their part to help avoid layoffs and tackle the district’s deficit.
From what I can gather, they probably will, but not for a while.
In 2010, administrators made the same deal with the district as teachers: They agreed to take five unpaid furlough days for two years and were promised a succession of pay raises in the 2012-13 school year.
The effect of the administrators union giving up those pay increases and extending the furlough days would be a symbolic gesture. It would have relatively little impact on the district’s budget, since the union only represents about 5 percent of district employees.
Bruce McGirr, director of the administrators association, which represents about 550 employees, said he understands the pressure on his members to accept similar concessions to local teachers.
“We realize that, politically, and publicity wise, we’d look pretty bad if we didn’t make the same concessions,” McGirr said. “I’m sure we’ll get on board.”
Juan Romo, the association’s president, didn’t comment on the likelihood of concessions, but confirmed that a union negotiating team has met with the district and will meet again on July 9.
I asked what’s taking so long.
McGirr blamed delays in coming up with an agreement on difficulty setting up meetings to negotiate with the district. He said the union has asked for meetings, but has been told the soonest the district can meet is July 9.
“It’s not one side or the other dragging its feet,” he said, “this just takes a long time.”
McGirr also pointed out there is less urgency for administrators to make an agreement with the district. The administrators’ union only represents about 5 percent of district employees, he said, and only a dozen or so administrators have been laid off this year.
By contrast, the teachers union represents the bulk of district employees, and had to come up with an agreement to bring back teachers by July 1, when the district must submit its budget to the County Office of Education.
With the next meeting a week away, teachers, parents and administrators will be watching to see if and when the administrative union decides to make a deal with the district.
And they’ll be taking a close look at whatever deal emerges, to make sure administrators make the same sacrifices local teachers have agreed to for the next two years.
Will Carless is an investigative reporter at Voice of San Diego currently focused on local education. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 619.550.5670.
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