Statement: “There’s a 7 percent salary increase coming up, just as they’re asking taxpayers to pay more,” said Lani Lutar, president of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association, speaking against a proposed parcel tax for San Diego Unified schools on KUSI on July 19.
Analysis: Unionized employees in San Diego Unified are slated to earn roughly 7 percent more in salaries about three years from now. It will come in three separate pay hikes of 2 or 3 percent, starting in July 2012 and finishing at the end of June 2013.
While workers will get a salary increase, it’s important to note that first, they willtake a pay cut: Employees are taking five furlough days this and next school year. For teachers, that equals a 2.7 percent salary cut during those years. After the furloughs end, employees will be restored to what they would have earned before and get their pay hikes on top.
Parcel tax proponents take issue with what Lutar is implying: the tax would fund the raises. If the parcel tax is approved by voters in November, it would generate $50 million annually and help close the district’s budget deficit, which is estimated at $127 million next school year.
The parcel tax is specifically earmarked for extra per-pupil-funding for school site budgets, smaller classes in the early grades, training for science and math teachers and other programs. Critics counter that by covering those other costs, the tax would essentially free up money for other budget needs, including the raises.
But what Lutar actually said is true: The school district is asking voters to consider paying more in taxes while a pay increase of about 7 percent is on the horizon.
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— EMILY ALPERT