Tahoe Area Educators Fight for Fair Salaries as District Revenues Soar
Teachers, Essential Workers, Left Behind in Pandemic Surge in Property Values
TRUCKEE – Amid a surge in property values that has driven up local school revenues and left some educators struggling to find affordable rental housing, teachers with the Tahoe Truckee Education Association (TTEA) have declared an impasse with the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District (TTUSD) over a cost-of-living increase.
TTEA represents approximately 285 teachers, counselors, nurses and other educators over 11 school sites. Back to in-person instruction five days a week, the educators are fighting for an initial 2% cost of living adjustment this year that could rise the following year with a surge in property tax revenues in order for salaries to keep pace with inflation. Should property tax values stagnate, the COLA, as proposed by TTEA, would stay at 2%. Negotiations between TTEA and the district stalled at the end of last week after the district offered no additional counter offers and would not commit to doing so in future negotiating sessions.
“As property values have skyrocketed, we are seeing essential workers like teachers being driven out of town,” said Jess DeLallo, TTEA President. “It’s been an extraordinarily difficult year with this pandemic, and that has been compounded by a surge in real estate values that has driven up the cost of rental housing for our teachers but financially benefited our district. We are asking for a fair and reasonable cost of living adjustment that we believe the district can easily absorb. This is a matter of fairness and necessary to ensure stability for our students, schools and community.”
TTUSD is a basic aid district, a school district with much higher funding than surrounding regular school districts due to higher-than-average property values. This provides the school district with local property taxes that are in excess of the normal State Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) based on student average daily attendance.
In addition to a surge in property tax revenues, the TTUSD will also be receiving $8.4 million in additional one-time funding from the federal and state government to assist with pandemic-related needs.
TTEA plans to file an impasse letter with the Public Employee Relations Board, which will help move the bargaining process toward mediation and then fact-finding if a resolution can still not be achieved with help from a neutral mediator. However, according to DeLallo, TTEA remains open and hopeful that the district will return to the bargaining table prior to mediation with a fair settlement offer.
The Tahoe Truckee Education Association is affiliated with the 310,000-member
California Teachers Association and the 3 million-member National Education Association.