Fresno Unified’s administration has provided the California Department of Education with erroneous maximum teacher salary information since the 2013-14 school year.
Last week we reported that FUSD’s admin. submitted inaccurate teacher salary comparisons to FUSD trustees via a board communication. These comparisons are important because trustees use them to measure competitiveness with other districts during bargaining cycles. The false data shows that FUSD has the highest local maximum teacher salary when in fact, using the publicly available teacher salary schedule, FUSD teachers have the lowest local max. teacher salary. In the board communication, FUSD admin. cited data from a third-party web-site, ed-data.org. Upon further research, ed-data gathers its information from the CA Dept. of Ed., which gets its information directly from local school districts.
It’s understandable for FUSD admin. to use the ed-data website for gathering other school districts’ salary information. However, one wonders why admin. didn’t just look at the current salary schedule when inputting data for its own district?
FUSD’s Circular Citation
The maximum teacher salary numbers FUSD provided to the CA Department of Education are incorrect because they include the salaries of teachers who work an extended school year. Specifically, JROTC teachers who have 15+ years of experience and work 218 days a school year (FUSD teachers work 185 days in a school year).
Including max. teacher salaries for those who work an extended school year is not allowed by the CA Dept. of Education.
Let’s take a look at numbers based on the FUSD provided data on the CA Department of Education website:
Source: CA Department of Education
As you can see in the chart above, the minimum and maximum teacher salaries increase or decrease in tandem. This is because teacher contracts are negotiated in percentages, therefore even though the actually dollar amounts are different for a minimum salary and maximum salary teacher, their pay increases by the same percentage. Again, those amounts increase or decrease in tandem from school year 2006-07 to 2012-13.
In the 2013-14 school year, when FUSD starts reporting erroneous data to the CA Department of Education, the maximum teacher salary numbers take a dramatic jump. As you can see, the district would like you to believe that the max. teacher salary jump 9.12% in just one year, when minimum teacher salary only increased by 2.7%. Then in 2014-15 FUSD makes the claim that max. teacher salary jumped another 9.09% from the previous year. Which brings us back to the 2015-16 data, where FUSD makes the outlandish claim that max. teacher skyrocketed 13.79% from the previous year, when minimum teacher salary increased by 5%.
Fresno Unified makes matters worse in their response to why the maximum teacher salary increased. The CA Dept. of Ed. allows each district to explain why the maximum salary increased or decreased. In 2013-14 FUSD stated, “Due to Innovative Schools,” which is a pre cursor to Designated Schools. Designated Schools have an extended school year, which is not allowed in maximum teacher salary data. In both 2014-15 & 2015-16 FUSD left the state wondering with this one-word response, “checking.”
In the end we are left with the facts and some lingering questions.
FACT: FUSD provided the CA Department of Education with incorrect maximum salary information for 2013-14, 2014-15, and 2015-16.
FACT: FUSD provided its own board trustees the same incorrect information and claimed it was from a third party source, when they could have easily given them the salary from the schedule on their website.
The lingering questions are:
- Who’s responsible for completing and submitting FUSD’s information to the state?
- Why has erroneous info. been submitted since the 2013-14 school year?
- Will the FUSD correct the info. for the state and the board trustees?
We will wait to find out the answers.