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Labor Negotiations Update

This web page is designed to provide our staff and community with information, resources, and progress reports relevant to current labor negotiations that are taking place between the Hayward Unified School District and our labor partners.

April 21, 2023

This is the time of year when we begin to closely watch the budget process in Sacramento. As the state budget provides the vast majority of our funding, it serves as the template for our own budget process.

At the same time, we are negotiating with the four employee bargaining units: Hayward Education Association (HEA), Association of Educational Office and Technical Employees (AEOTE), Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Safeco/M&O, and SEIU Para-YEP.

The collective bargaining process allows public school employees to bargain with their school district regarding compensation and other employment-related issues. Each contract is negotiated separately with the bargaining unit’s respective negotiating team. The contracts would run through June, 2025.

Contract negotiations offer us an opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to the vital staff members who serve our students and families. Our employees live and work in a region with a high cost of living, and compensation should reflect that reality, when possible, if we are to recruit and retain high-quality staff.

These two events—the state budget and contract negotiations—are connected. Knowing how much state funding we can expect allows us to determine the resources available to support ongoing costs. This is crucial because our mandate from Alameda County education officials, and our promise to taxpayers, is to operate within our means.

Compensation’s Share of the Budget

Salaries and benefits make up 93 percent of HUSD’s general operating budget. HUSD’s staffing costs are higher than the state average, which is 88 percent. Consequently, salary and benefit adjustments have a considerable impact on the budget.

Enrollment

Enrollment has been declining in HUSD for the past 20 years. Despite enrollment efforts, demographic studies indicate that it will continue to decline.

This is a statewide phenomenon. California’s public schools saw the fifth straight year of enrollment decline in 2022, losing 110,000 students. It’s the first time state enrollment has dipped below six million in more than a decade. The pandemic exacerbated this decline, which has been caused by a declining birth rate, the high cost of living in many California communities, and other factors.

Three years ago, the California Department of Finance projected an 11.4 percent decline in statewide enrollment by 2031, a loss of 703,000 students from pre-pandemic 2019-20.

While the state compensated districts for the decreased enrollment during the pandemic, that funding is disappearing. Because district funding is tied to student enrollment, declines in enrollment negatively impact our budget. 

The Budget

State funding frequently does not fully cover the full needs of education. For HUSD, when costs exceed the district’s allotted state funding, HUSD must make difficult choices about how and where to spend money. While we want to avoid cutting resources in the coming years, the district is facing a challenging fiscal environment.

At HUSD we put students and families first. We understand that to better serve our students we need to support the staff who directly serve them. At the same time, we need to be responsible stewards of taxpayer funding. We look forward to continued productive negotiations with our labor partners, and we are confident that we can ensure the right balance.