2021 Negotiations Updates


Monday, December 13, 2021

Dear Sac City Unified Families:

Last Friday, December 10, the Sac City Unified School District declared that it has reached an impasse in its efforts to negotiate with the Sacramento City Teachers Association (SCTA) over a number of issues related to reopening schools for in-person instruction and independent study this 2021-22 school year.

The district and SCTA have been negotiating since last July over a number of issues that affect continuity of learning for Sac City Unified students this school year while the COVID-19 pandemic continues. These issues include:

We are now four months into the school year and resolution of these issues at the bargaining table have not been resolved. This is why the district has submitted a request for an impasse determination from the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB). Seeking an impasse declaration means that the district is asking PERB to appoint a mediator to work with the district and SCTA with the goal of quickly resolving these issues. Engaging in the statutory impasse process will allow the district to work toward agreement with SCTA and put the proposed plans for addressing continuity of learning for students into action.

For more information, please see the news release issued on Friday: Sac City Unified Seeks Impasse Determination to Resolve Issues Impacting Continuity of Learning During the 2021-2022 School Year.

To receive news and updates about Sac City Unified’s negotiations with labor partners, please sign up for negotiations updates by completing the form at the bottom of the district’s  Labor Negotiations webpage  https://www.scusd.edu/negotiations-updates.

Friday, December 10, 2021

Sac City Unified Seeks Impasse Determination to Resolve Issues Impacting Continuity of Learning During the 2021-2022 School Year

Declaration of Impasse Submitted to Public Employment Relations Board submitted on December 10, 2021

Friday, November 5, 2021


Overview of Collective Bargaining

While the Sacramento City Unified School District is working to reach agreement with the Sacramento City Teachers Association (SCTA) on a successor contract to the previous contract which expired in 2019, the district has also attempted to problem-solve challenges that have been exacerbated by COVID related to staffing, unfinished learning, among other challenges.  

Since last July the District has been attempting to address these issues in a way that best meets the educational needs of all Sac City Unified students. Even though schools reopened when the school year began on September 2, 2021, negotiations with SCTA have continued on the following:

All of the issues above are being negotiated along with the District’s ongoing efforts to reach agreement on a successor contract between SCTA and the District. The extended efforts to reach agreement on a successor contract and the cycle of negotiations over each of the above matters takes significant time on the part of many leaders of the district’s management team, which otherwise would be spent focused on student instruction and managing educational programs.

More detail on the district’s plans to address the needs of students in this school year, fill staff vacancies, and increase compensation for school nurses is provided below. 

Addressing Staffing Shortages to Improve Students’ Continuity of Learning

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, teacher staffing shortages have increased across the nation and in California. Staffing shortages can negatively impact students’ continuity of learning. 

Sac City Unified has made a number of proposals to provide additional pay to address the serious teacher staff shortage that has resulted in a gap between student demand for Independent Study and available teachers, a shortage of substitute teachers, and the need to improve continuity of learning for students in short and long term independent study. The District has proposed to provide additional pay to teachers who perform extra duties to support students in long- and short-term independent study. 

  • Addressing Staff Shortages in Independent Study Program to Meet Increased Demand

    • To meet the demand for students electing Independent Study rather than in-person learning, on October 26, 2021, the District has proposed additional pay for teachers who agree to teach up to 10 students in long-term independent study for up to 8 hours a week after their regular teaching day. This additional pay would be available to any teacher across the district with the appropriate credential to teach the assigned students. 
    • This proposal would allow the District to expand the number of teachers assigned to students in the Capital City Independent Study Program and more quickly remove students from the current long-term independent study wait-list.
  • Addressing Continuity of Student Learning When Students are Required to Quarantine at Home

    • To meet the educational needs of students who are temporarily out of class due to COVID quarantine requirements, on September 16, 2021, and updated on October 26, 2021 the District has proposed additional compensation for teachers who agree to keep students in short term-independent study engaged with their classes by using Google Classroom to communicate with students and turning on the “PolyCam” that has been provided to all classrooms. 
    • Using PolyCams in the classroom would improve continuity of learning for students who need to be temporarily placed on short-term independent study for COVID-related reasons by allowing these students to attend class virtually and keep up with their in-person class. 
    • While we continue to negotiate, students in short term-independent study are provided packets of work to complete independently while they are away from their classes.
  • Addressing Teacher Vacancies and Need for Substitutes

To address an historically higher rate of staff vacancies and ensure that all of our students are taught by an appropriately credentialed teacher, the District has proposed increased pay for substitute teachers and for regular teachers who take on additional duties. On October 26, 2021 the District is also proposing to temporarily deploy Training Specialists to fill vacant teacher positions at high-need sites to ensure that students at those sites are taught by fully credentialed and highly qualified teachers. The District is also proposing to supplementally use on-line courses for instruction in hard-to-staff courses until the class has a permanent teacher. 

  • The District has proposed a 25% increase in pay for substitute teachers and for regular teachers covering other classes while on their prep period. Increasing the substitute rate of pay will allow the District to more effectively recruit substitutes to cover temporary teacher vacancies and alleviate the pressures on school site administrators and fellow teachers who are currently working to fill the need at their school sites.
  • To meet the urgent need for teachers with appropriate credentials to cover teacher vacancies and support continuity of learning for students, the District has proposed to direct Training Specialists who usually work at the District Office to temporarily fill vacant teaching positions at high-needs school sites.
  • To meet the need for students to receive instruction in certain hard-to-fill positions such as foreign language and math, the District has proposed to supplementally use on-line courses for this instruction until the class has a permanent teacher. Students would have access to courses that follow standards and would work online at school under the supervision of the daily or long-term substitute teacher. Students may also have access to these courses while at home as well as at school. 
  • Addressing the Need to Compensate School Nurses for Extra Work in Conducting COVID Contact Tracing

    • In Sacramento City Unified school nurses are represented by SCTA. Initially on September 16, 2021, and updated on October 26, 2021, the District has proposed to increase pay for school nurses who play a vital role in contact tracing, and to compensate school nurses for taking on extra duties to manage COVID-related health needs and other student health issues.
    • The District has proposed additional pay of $150/hour for nurses working extra hours to perform additional duties related to COVID contact tracing and supporting other student health needs.

The District’s prior proposals to SCTA on these issues can be accessed here.

Friday, October 22, 2021

Negotiations update: proposed professional learning, stipend, and changes to health care plan, and impact on teacher pay

The Sac City Unified School District is in ongoing negotiations with the Sacramento City Teachers Association (SCTA) over a successor contract because SCTA has been working under an expired contract since 2019.  On October 13, 2021, the district updated its proposals on professional learning, compensation and health benefits.

One of the district’s objectives in the successor contract negotiations is to reach agreement on elements of the contract that are major contributing factors of the district’s ongoing structural deficit. The district’s proposed plan to update the health benefits program offered to SCTA members is a significant factor under negotiation. The district has not proposed changes to teacher salaries, but instead is proposing to align the health benefit costs to the costs of other districts. This would reduce a significant cost burden for the district and allow the district to allocate more funding for students.

The district provided staff with two pre-service professional learning days before this school year. In an effort to continue this positive trend, and address a lack of ongoing professional learning over several years, the district is proposing to add three pre-service days to the work year for SCTA members for years 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 in order to provide meaningful professional learning in support of district-wide efforts to meet the needs of all students in SCUSD. These would be an additional three days with corresponding additional pay equal to approximately 1.66% of an employee’s salary. Current topics and opportunities for professional development include: Universal Design for Learning (UDL), High Quality Instruction, Multi-Tier Systems of Support (MTSS), and Implicit Bias, and Anti-Racist Training.

Additionally, the district is proposing to provide staff with stipends for three years. A $1,000 annual, limited-term stipend paid from one-time funds would be provided for 2021-2022 through 2023-2024 to address numerous matters, including new COVID related costs and responsibilities. In total, these added professional learning days and stipends for the specified years will increase compensation to staff members by approximately 3.0% for the average staff-member making $75,000 in each of the 2022-2023, and 2023-2024 school years. The total cost to the district of the additional professional learning days and the stipends is approximately $18.6 Million in one-time funds.

The district seeks to reach an agreement that reduces the cost of health care benefits for the district, while continuing to offer high quality health benefits to our employees consistent with the State Auditor’s Recommendation. Currently, the district pays for 100% of health care costs for employees and employees’ families at no cost to the employee, and employees are entitled to access health care through Kaiser HMO or Health Net HMO/EPO/PPO.

Approximately 1,357 certificated employees and their family members currently get health care through the Kaiser HMO option. The full family coverage with this option costs the district  $22,860 per family each year.

Approximately 1,093 certificated employees and their family members currently get health care through the Health Net option, with 524 employees selecting the full family coverage HMO option at an annual cost to the district of $34,994.16 per family.

The cost of health care benefits currently offered by Sac City Unified are far more expensive than the cost of health care benefits offered by any other school district in our region. Sac City Unified’s employee health benefits are also far more generous, and are more expensive per employee, than health benefits offered to state employees. Health Net, in particular, is the costliest HMO option paid by any school district in our region  and was noted by the State Auditor as the fourth costliest health plan for school districts in the entire state in 2018.

The district wants to reach an agreement that will reduce costs for the district and help stabilize the district’s budget. The district proposed to do this by providing a soft cap on the amount that the district contributes to employee health care which would equal 100% of the cost for an individual employee to be covered, and 75% of the cost for a +1 and family plan under the current low cost plan (currently Kaiser HMO plan). Under this scenario, employees would still have access to the Kaiser HMO option at no cost for themselves, but would need to pay 25% of the cost for the +1 and family Kaiser HMO plans. Similarly, if the employee opted for the more expensive Health Net HMO, the employee would need to pay for a percentage of the cost of coverage that is over and above the district’s contribution based on the cost of the Kaiser plan for themselves and for any additional family members added to the plan.

The health care proposal is still under negotiation, but the district’s goal is to make the percentage comparable to what employees at other districts in our region and state employees are responsible for.

This change to health benefit contributions would not change teachers’ salaries in any way. It would, depending on which health plan the employee chooses, add a pre-tax expense to their monthly pay.

Employees who chose the Kaiser HMO option for themselves will have no reduction in take home pay for their own health insurance. If the employee on the Kaiser HMO plan adds one or more family members, they would see the new, pre-tax cost for their contribution for health care, estimated to be approximately $228 for two people, or about $322 for a family, per month.

Employees who opt for the more expensive Health Net HMO will see a new, pre-tax cost for their contribution for their own health insurance of about $242. The employee contribution pre-tax cost for two people on the Health Net HMO would be about $712, and for a family the pre-tax cost would be approximately $1,008.

The Collective Bargaining Agreement and the district’s proposal contain a Health and Welfare Benefits Committee with equal representation between district management and SCTA. Included in the committee’s scope is studying healthcare plan options and making recommendations regarding feasibility and cost efficiency.

Again, the district is not proposing any change to the employee salary schedule as a result of this change in the health care benefit. But, employees who select a health care plan other than the Kaiser HMO option and those who include additional family members on their health insurance will be asked to pay for a percentage of the cost of the health care option that they select for themselves and their family.

This change will align Sac City Unified’s health benefit costs to the costs of other districts in the greater Sacramento region. It will also reduce a significant cost burden by approximately $17.2 Million annually for the district and allow the district to allocate more funding for educational services for students.

During this near-term period in which an annual, limited term stipend will be provided, staff will have the opportunity to enroll into Kaiser, Health Net, or any other affordable health care plans that are recommended by the health care committee and selected by the district.


In contrast, while proposing to freeze all other successor contract negotiations for this school year, SCTA has proposed a 3.5% salary increase for 2021-2022 for an estimated total ongoing cost increase of approximately $8.5 Million each year.

While the changes to the health care plan proposed by the district are on the table, SCTA has proposed that no changes be made to the healthcare benefits package, which would result in the district continuing to pay 100% up to full family benefits in Health Net or Kaiser plans, and SCTA has proposed that the district fund an increase to the dental premium contribution. SCTA’s proposal also includes a placeholder for a proposal on child care.

SCTA’s proposals do not address adding professional development days to the work year, which are needed to address a lack of ongoing professional learning over several years, support high quality teaching, help meet urgent needs to improve student outcomes, and provide anti-racism training. Adding these professional learning days would bring Sac City Unified into alignment with the professional learning provided in neighboring school districts.

Sacramento City Unified will continue to update our community concerning important negotiations updates.

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Negotiations with the Sacramento City Teachers Association (SCTA) on Reopening of Schools

California state law requires all school districts to reopen for full time in-person instruction and Sac City Unified looks forward to our students returning to school on September 2, 2021. 

Since July 1, our district has asked SCTA to identify which aspects of the district’s reopening plan that they believe are negotiable. SCTA passed the district a formal proposal on August 17 containing numerous aspects that are not required or recommended by state law and local, state, and federal guidance. SCTA’s most recent proposal was passed to the district on August 27, and this proposal continues to include, among other things: 

  • A requirement that the district shift to distance learning for all students when county case rates hit a certain threshold which would put the district out of compliance with state law and prevent the district from reopening on September 2, 2021 with in-person instruction. 
  • A 6-foot physical distancing requirement, which is inconsistent with CDPH guidelines.  This would mean that our district would be unable to welcome back all students for in-person instruction and put our district in violation of state law.
  • COVID-19 testing for all 40,000 students and 4,700 staff before they return, subject to staffing and availability of test kits. 
    • Our district, unlike other regional districts, offers testing at every single open school site, the Serna Center each weekday, and will host testing events at district locations prior to reopening. Once open, students and staff can request a test every day in our Care Rooms, but we do not have the staff or capacity for testing and contact tracing to mandate testing for more than 45,000 people prior to reopening. It is our goal to develop a mandated testing program as soon as possible, but it should not prevent our students from receiving in-person instruction on our scheduled start date. Universal testing of staff and students has not been a condition for reopening of any other district in our state. 
  • Remote teaching for staff due to child care/dependent issues even while our students are returning in-person, and the creation of five (5) child care centers across the district for children of staff as a condition for reopening.
  • Automatic damages of $250,000 to penalize the district with potential additional punitive damages (which are damages intended as a punishment) for any/each violation of SCTA’s proposed Health and Safety MOU
  • Requires SCTA approval before making any updates to our District’s health and safety protocols when local, state, or federal guidance changes.

Yesterday afternoon, the district passed a counterproposal and communicated again to SCTA that the District intends to follow health guidance and state law. We are committed to continue discussions with SCTA over any issues they identify related to our reopening schools consistent with state and local requirements and guidelines. 

As part of negotiations, we also presented our plan to SCTA to offer our families an Independent Study program that would provide our students with more synchronous instruction than is the minimum required by AB 130. You can view the district’s proposal and proposed schedules here. The approach to independent study proposed by the District did not result in an agreement with SCTA so the District will offer an independent study program that still meets the state requirements under AB 130.The proposal was not agreed to by SCTA so we will offer an independent study program that meets, but does not exceed, the requirements of the state’s new independent study law, AB 130. For our families who expressed interest in our Independent Study Program, we will continue to send additional information separately and will host a community meeting next week. 

Our district is committed to a full reopening with in-person instruction, and the state of our negotiations will not change the September 2 start date of our school year.  Please read this statement from our Board of Education expressing this commitment

Negotiations with SCTA on Successor Contract 

In addition to negotiations over our reopening, our district has continued to negotiate with SCTA over a successor contract, because SCTA has been working under an expired contract since 2019. 

One of the District’s objectives in the successor contract negotiations is to reach agreement on elements of the contract with SCTA that are major contributing factors of the district’s ongoing structural deficit. As part of these negotiations, the district has proposed to update the health benefits program offered to SCTA members. The district has not proposed changes to teacher salaries, but instead is proposing to align the health benefit costs to the costs of other districts. This would reduce a significant cost burden for the district and allow the district to allocate more funding for students. 

While the district has been provided one-time funding through COVID-19 relief, our ongoing expenses exceed our revenue, and we cannot use the relief funding for these ongoing expenses. Additionally, this structural deficit limits the educational services the district can offer our students. 

To be clear: the status of successor contract negotiations does not impact the start date of our school year, and does not change the state law that all districts must resume in-person instruction for all students. For more information about negotiations on the SCTA successor contract, please visit the SCTA Successor Contract Negotiations Dashboard here

We know that our students, families, and community are excited about returning to school for in-person learning and are looking forward to the first day of school on September 2. We have demonstrated it is safe to do, and we have strong health and safety standards in place to protect the health of our students and staff. 

After more than 18 months away from school, our students deserve the opportunity to learn in-person at school with their teacher and peers. We are so excited to see students back on Sac City Unified campuses, and look forward to our Return Together on September 2.  


Thursday, July 22, 2021

Please view the district’s proposal to the Sacramento City Teachers Association on the 2021-2022 work calendar and preservice days. The proposal was first passed on June 2, 2021. 

Thursday July 22, 2021

Please view the district’s negotiations dashboard with all proposals and letters regarding negotiations with the Sacramento City Teachers Association on a successor contract. 

The dashboard includes the district’s most recent proposals and responses passed on July 20, 2021.

April 6, 2021

SCUSD Declares Impasse in Negotiations with SEIU

As a community, we are happy that this week that our district will welcome students back to in-person learning. Our students need the necessary academic, social and emotional support that our school sites provide. We know that families are ready for students to return, as 53 percent of our families have indicated that they would send students back in-person. Our district is ready too, with strong health and safety protocols in place, testing available for students and staff, and after having offered all employees the opportunity to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.

After nearly a month of negotiating with the Service Employee International Union 1021 (SEIU) on negotiable effects related to reopening schools, the District has formally declared impasse. Please view our most recent proposal here as well as SEIU’s proposal here, and additional information available on the negotiations dashboard here

Impasse is a formal declaration that continued negotiations would not be productive to reach a formal agreement. The district submitted the impasse certification to the Public Employee Relations Board yesterday, after notifying SEIU verbally on Saturday, April 3. The next step in the impasse process, if approved, would move the parties to mediation where a State-appointed mediator would work with the District and SEIU in an attempt to help the parties reach an agreement.

As the district is welcoming students back to school on April 8, employees including SEIU members are expected to report to work beginning on April 5 for employees working at our elementary schools and in positions at District worksites other than school sites consistent with existing expectations. This impasse declaration does not change the district’s reopening plans or dates. 

Below is a summary of primary areas of disagreement between SEIU and the District at the time of our impasse filing: 

What the district offered SEIU members

In addition to a plan with robust health and safety protocols consistent with public health recommendations, the district made the additional following offers to SEIU in a good faith effort as part of the negotiations process:

  • A $1,000 stipend for SEIU members recognizing the potential for additional workload and COVID-related expenses to return to in-person services and instruction.
  • A $750 stipend for SEIU members for professional development and preparation days.
  • A $1,000 pro-rated stipend for SEIU members who have worked on-site since July 1, 2020, including but not limited to those employees in Nutrition Services, Custodial services, Maintenance and Facilities, and Technology Support Services.
  • A $100 reimbursement for allowable operating expenses for SEIU employees while they had been working remotely.
  • Option for parents with childcare issues to bring their school-age children to work to be included in the in-person cohorts of their grade level at the school in which the parent is employed (or in the classroom for Instructional Aides) if there is space to safely accommodate children and without disrupting learning.
  • Option of remote work or accommodation for staff with serious health condition or primary caregiver responsibility for family members with serious health conditions when able to meet essential functions of their positions
  • Physical distancing requirements consistent with CDPH guidelines

Additional demands by SEIU

Despite these offers by the district, SEIU countered with additional demands, including:

  • A $1,250 stipend for SEIU regardless of whether or not they return to in-person services and instruction
  • Elimination of the proration of the $1,000 stipend for employees working on site during school closures, meaning that all SEIU members would receive the stipend whether they worked on site or not.
  • A requirement that the district establish four childcare centers staffed by SEIU and SCTA members
  • An additional stipend of $1,500 for SEIU members with a child between the ages of 3-14 who cannot bring their children to attend school
  • Allow employees with children 3 and under to work remotely
  • A $400 stipend for employees who have been working remotely during the pandemic for related expenses incurred
  • Requirement that the district follow outdated 6 ft. physical distancing guidance and not the updated guidance from CDPH and SCDPH which would allow for 3 ft. of physical distancing between student desks in classrooms
  • Additional 3 days of sick leave beyond the 10 days provided under SB 95 related to Covid-19

The district’s proposal reflects its appreciation for SEIU employees across Sac City Unified and recognizes those who have worked on site throughout our school closures. The district’s proposal also recognizes the potential for additional workload and expenditures related to our school reopening.

While the district recognizes the challenge that childcare can present, not just for SEIU employees but employees across the country, the district is unable to meet the childcare needs of employees as proposed by SEIU in their last counterproposal from April 3, 2021. Additionally, although the district has attempted to assist employees by allowing them to bring children to work in some situations where safety and supervision can be provided, this is meant to be a temporary solution through the end of the school year as employees address the issue of disrupted operation of schools and childcare providers.

The district will continue to work with employees through its existing Employee Assistance Program and other resources for identifying child care within the Sacramento community.

Resources and information for locating childcare providers:

The District remains committed to working with SEIU leaders through the statutory impasse process and will continue to share information about our progress in this important work.