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Labor Negotiations

On an annual basis, the Torrance Unified School District engages in a negotiation process with our labor partners to work on various issues including potential salary increases for our employees. 

This year, we have been meeting with the negotiating teams for each of our labor partners in an effort to reach settlements for the 2023-2024 school year. As always, our leadership is committed to moving forward with solid evidence and dealing with negotiations in good faith, so we can retain our incredible staff for the benefit of all our students.

This webpage features information to ensure that all staff members have access to updates and information in order to better understand the negotiation process and the data that management is using to make decisions. 

Negotiations Update on TTA Bargaining for 10-20-23

Today we held another negotiation session between representatives of the Torrance Teachers Association (TTA) and TUSD Administration. The information here is intended to provide background information about these negotiations and insight into our fiscal outlook.

Topics here include:

TUSD Salary Equalization As Already Implemented

What has been missing from recent communication regarding salary equalization was the intent and process for equalization that was approved by both TTA membership and the TUSD Board of Education in Spring 2023. Information from the slide deck that TTA prepared (linked here) for TTA members back in January 2023 regarding salary equalization included:

  • “TUSD came to TTA with this proposal committing to setting new benchmarks for salary in efforts to recruit and retain employees”
  • “Every employee in TUSD except the superintendent and the officers are included in this salary benchmarking.” 
  • “TTA agrees that this proposal is fair, equitable, and does the right thing to correct historic salary schedule inequities.” 
  • “Every member of TTA will receive at least a 3% raise retroactive to July 1, 2022. TTA secured a floor of 3% in dialogue with TUSD.”
  • “Some members will receive more than 3% because they have been historically and inequitably underfunded by virtue of how the salary schedule was built.” 
  • “Based upon updated numbers from TUSD: 
    • 3% [raise] - 13% of membership 
    • 3-4% range - 37% of membership 
    • 4-5% range - 6% of membership 
    • Above 5% - 44% of membership”
  • “The proposed salary schedule corrects historic inequities within the schedule while equalizing TUSD with the average salary of comparison districts.”

All parties were aware at the time that this effort was completed, it was done with the most recent comparable information available. Additionally, that once the cell-by-cell corrections were completed, ongoing efforts would be needed to meet or exceed the median of comparable district settlements. Equalization was never intended to be final and complete when first implemented because of lags in data from other districts. In fact, when TUSD started to assemble the data needed for equalization there was no money to pay for it. When the State of California unexpectedly gave an additional 6.7% for LCFF funding in 2022-23, TUSD took action to implement all of the salary equalization recommendations immediately.

One Equalization Recalculation Based on New Data

Due to a request from TTA, TUSD recently reached out to School Services of California (SSC) to verify that our Step 20 amounts were compared to the maximum step at the other districts, whether that was Step 25, Step 30, etc. SSC demonstrated a consistent 3% gap when looking at median salary comparisons below Step 20 versus a Step 20 comparison. Because of the existence of this 3% gap and that this gap is due to Steps above Step 20 at other districts, and because TTA has long requested a Step above Step 20, TUSD today proposed to add a Step 25/Step 55 at 3% to close out equalization as implemented in Spring 2023. This will impact over 290 of our teachers with the most experience, and TUSD is prepared to implement this change retroactively to July 1, 2023, once there is an approved Memorandum of Understanding with TTA. 

This 3% Step 25/Step 55 is the result of the same approach that was used throughout the salary equalization process, and as such would be applied to the following five teacher salary schedules:

  • Resource Teachers: 185 Days
  • Resource Teachers, HS Librarians: 192 Days 
  • Resource Teachers: 195 Days 
  • Resource Teachers: 212 Days 
  • Teachers and Resource Specialists

Again, this targeted approach is driven by data and is not an across-the-board increase for all TTA salary schedules or subject to “me-too” clauses.

TUSD Funded Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) versus the State of California COLA

The State of California publishes a COLA each year which is the first input for the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF). The LCFF alone provides approximately 69% of our funding, with another 22% coming from other State resources (Special Education, Lottery, etc.), 7% from Federal funds, and 2% from various local sources including facility rentals and donations.

For 2023-24, the State COLA is 8.22%. However, due to the “formula” part of the LCFF, and because we have been declining in enrollment and attendance these past few years, the chart below illustrates how we actually received a 5.60% increase in LCFF funds, not 8.22%. The same can be seen looking backward:

  2020-21 2021-22 2022-23


State COLA  0.00% 5.07% 13.26% 8.22% 26.55%
TUSD Funded COLA  0.00% 4.00% 11.41% 5.60% 21.01%

Total TUSD ongoing raises (incl. sal. eq.)

0.00% 5.00%

(6% + 2.1% eq.)

(5%* + 0.8% eq. +
0.48% Step 25/55)


*5% proposed raise for 2023-24

Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) increases paid to TUSD employees

Taking the percentages above and converting them to dollars, the chart below illustrates how much funding TUSD received in LCFF increases over the past few years, and how much of those increases were paid to employees. Increased money paid each year for employee costs includes salary, TUSD salary equalization, Step and Column costs that give raises each year to employees based on longevity and/or further education, and pension cost increases paid by TUSD to CalSTRS and CalPERS.

Annual TUSD increases, in millions; includes proposed 5% increase for 2023-24, along with remaining equalization (0.8% classified, 0.48% Step 25/Step 55)



2022-23 2023-24
TUSD Funded COLA  ($2.4) $10.0 $26.1 $14.0 
LESS: LCFF Supplemental ($0.5) $0.4 $2.0 $1.1
Net revenue increase (decrease) ($1.9) $9.6 $24.1 $12.9
Salary increases (total increase with equal., ongoing) $0.0 $10.9 $17.6  $15.4
Step and Column (increase; ongoing) $2.3 $1.9  $3.0 $3.1
CalSTRS (increase; ongoing) $0.2 $2.7  $2.6  $0.5 
CalPERS (increase; ongoing) $0.4 $0.7  $1.6  $0.5 
Net LCFF increase (decrease)  ($4.8) ($6.6) ($0.7) ($6.6)

For the most recent four years TUSD has paid out more than the net increases in the Local Control Funding Formula towards increased salary and benefit costs. We agree that historically our salaries had been lower than surrounding districts, but of late TUSD has put a priority on paying our employees as much as we possibly can while remaining fiscally solvent. 

Additional information

Some additional information has been circulated. In our view, the data provided is not an "apples to apples" comparison. The first page of the sheet shows that TUSD is 11th out of 12 comparison districts for maximum teacher salaries. Longevity is included from some districts and 2023-24 settlements from others. Without a common starting point, accurate comparisons can’t be made. 

On the second page of the information it is stated at the bottom that "longevity not included...." However, each of the three TUSD administrator salaries listed do include longevity stipends, hence the comparison conclusions are not accurate. Using salaries with longevity removed shows that TUSD Administrator salaries are #11, #11 and #8 of the listed salaries, thus TUSD administration as listed is below median.

The third page lists Administrator salaries. Data from Transparent California was used here and the significant problem with Transparent California data is comparability:

  • Transparent California allows districts to submit either fiscal year data (July 1 - June 30) or calendar year data (Jan 1 - Dec. 30). 
  • Transparent California allows districts to include or not include extra pay items at the district's discretion, such as longevity stipends. 
  • Some districts choose to give no data. 

Thank you for taking the time to review and consider this information. We remain committed to the negotiations process, and to doing the best we can for all of our employees, whom we thoroughly respect for the work each of you do for our students and families.

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