The Bakersfield City School District has finally reached an agreement with its teachers union over a salary increase for this year, but the result isn't what teachers were hoping for.
During the course of an all-day mediation session this week, the district and the Bakersfield Elementary Teachers Association agreed to a 2 percent salary increase for the 2018-19 school year, retroactive to July 1, according to a post on the BETA Facebook page. The increase is a far cry from the 4.5 percent the union was seeking from the district.
The agreement sparked anger, concern and confusion from union members on social media, which BETA President Steve Comstock responded to on Facebook.
"I understand that 2 percent is far short of where we started, what we deserve or what is fair," he said. "There is a true problem with equity in BCSD. Attacking your bargaining team is the wrong way to approach what is angering you."
Comstock encouraged teachers to come to the upcoming board meeting on Tuesday at the district office to voice their feelings about the agreement.
The district has maintained over the course of negotiations that it can only afford a 2 percent increase for teachers. However, many teachers felt they deserved more after the district board of education agreed to give 5 percent salary increases to the assistant superintendents in 2017, on top of the 3 percent increase that everyone got the last time there were negotiations.
After several attempts at coming to an agreement, the two parties recently reached impasse, at which point a state mediator was brought in to assist with the negotiations.
Comstock said the current agreement is only for one year. The association will go back to the bargaining table with the district next school year.
"Our bargaining team recognizes that the true battle lies ahead of us," he said.
The district has not provided any public comment about the agreement.