Shoreline teachers finalize contract, with pay raises and retirement incentives


The teachers and other certificated staff of Shoreline Unified School District finalized a three-year contract with the district last week, obtaining a 3 percent salary increase each year for the next three years. Staff expressed satisfaction about both the bargaining process and its ultimate gains. Negotiations began at the end of the last school year and concluded on Jan. 28. Julie Cassel, co-president of the Shoreline Educators’ Association, said that although the union had “obviously asked for more, we met in the middle and our members overwhelmingly ratified the contract.” She added that she felt the school board had been supportive and open to hearing what the S.E.A. wanted to discuss. The agreement contained a retirement incentive: if at least three certificated staff members who will have served 15 or more years by June 1 decide to retire before April 1, they will each receive $17,500 in addition to their standard retirement package. Currently there are 47 certificated staff, 19 of whom have been with the district for more than 15 years. Superintendent Bob Raines said that such offers are made periodically. “It’s a win-win for those employees,” Mr. Raines said. “It helps them make a determination to do something they’ve been thinking about doing, and it helps the district. We’re able to cheerfully say goodbye to a longtime employee and bring in somebody who is lower on the salary schedule, so it helps us afford the salary increase.” Yet Ms. Cassel said that, historically, the retirement incentives have been higher. “I think that in order for a retirement incentive to be an incentive it needs to be a significant benefit to the retiree,” she said. According to Mr. Raines, when the district was in serious financial trouble in 2014, it offered $30,000 to employees who announced their retirement by Jan. 30, 2015, provided that five employees took the incentive (they did). Overall, the union was pleased with the salary increase and the raises in per-hour compensation for duties performed outside of typical classroom responsibilities, as well as increases in extracurricular stipends for drama and cheer, Ms. Cassel said. Members of the S.E.A. have had a 2 to 4 percent raise every year since 2012. The classified staff has yet to begin this year’s round of negotiations with the district, though union representative Markey Lees said she was “cautiously optimistic” that they would have the same success in reaching an agreement.