Dear San Mateo-Foster City Community,
The San Mateo-Foster City School District (District) and the San Mateo Elementary Teachers Association (SMETA) reached an impasse in the negotiations process in the summer of 2017. With the assistance of a state appointed mediator, parties participated in a mediation process. Mediation is used to support a mutual agreement and is a confidential process to which both parties agreed to adhere.
Unfortunately, an agreement could not be reached during mediation and it appears that the parties will be released to the next step in the process known as “Fact Finding.” In the Fact Finding proceedings, the District and SMETA will present information to a panel who will review the data and issue an advisory recommendation. This process can take 60 or more days to reach conclusion and both parties may continue working towards settlement.
Complicating the negotiation process is the District’s fiscal condition. Of the 23 districts in San Mateo County, 22 districts are struggling with a structural budget deficit. While there have been recent increases in State funding, the additional funding only restores revenue levels to those received in the 2007-08 school year. The San Mateo-Foster City School District is one of the districts struggling with a budget deficit largely due to escalating pension costs and increased costs of doing business.
Our District also suffered the loss of $7 million in parcel tax revenue resulting from the failure of Measure Y last March. The District has made $4 million in budget reductions for the 2017-18 school year. It is in the process of identifying an additional $4.5 million in reductions for 2018-19 and another $4.5 million for 2019-20. These reductions are being made in order to meet salary proposals of 4% for 2016-17 and 2% for 2017-18 and remain fiscally solvent.
The San Mateo-Foster City School District will continue to work toward a successful conclusion to these negotiations. The District’s focus remains on the success and well-being of the students, staff and community we serve.
We will continue to keep you updated as information becomes available.