Negotiations Frequently Asked Questions

Negotiations Frequently Asked Questions

Negotiations between CUSD and the Association of Coronado Teachers

Frequently Asked Questions

As our school community may already be aware, the Coronado Unified School District (CUSD) and Association of Coronado Teachers (ACT) are currently engaged in contract negotiations. Recently, ACT distributed a flyer to parents and others in the CUSD community setting forth its position on some of the issues currently being negotiated. We have since received numerous inquiries from parents and other community members.  In response, our Governing Board has asked district staff to create this document to provide our school community with important information regarding the status of negotiations and CUSD's bargaining positions.

Do board members want to lock away funds instead of investing in the classroom?

  • No.  The elected School Board Trustees have a fiduciary duty to allocate tax payer funds in a manner that is fiscally responsible and sustainable.
  • If CUSD commits to ongoing expenditures that are not supported by sufficient revenues, it may need to make cuts to maintain a balanced budget, some of which could impact valuable programs and services.
  • CUSD’s position is that it is neither fiscally responsible nor sustainable to use one-time reserves for ongoing expenses such as employee salary and benefits.  

Is the District listening to Teachers?

  • CUSD will always listen to its teachers.  CUSD and ACT's negotiating teams have met and negotiated twelve times in the past nine months.  Over the course of those meetings we have reached tentative agreements on many areas of the contract.  Although some other subjects, such as employee compensation, are still at issue, the parties are working diligently to resolve those as quickly as possible.

Were there changes in budget estimates from the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year to the end?

  • Public school funding from both State and Federal sources adjusts throughout the year.  As a result, we must adjust our budget multiple times per year.
  • These ongoing projections are based on a careful, thorough analysis of the best information available to us throughout the fiscal year.

How does CUSD’s funding compare to other districts?  

  • CUSD ranked 36th out of 42 districts in San Diego County in LCFF funding received.  
  • To put this in perspective, the state provides CUSD with approximately $1,500 less per student than San Diego Unified School District.  With about 3,000 students in CUSD, that equates to roughly $4.5 million dollars less than we would receive if we were funded similarly to San Diego Unified School District.

Have CUSD teachers been offered a raise this year?

  • Yes.  CUSD has proposed a salary increase of 3% ($480,000 on-going) for this school year while the teachers have requested a 7% ($1.1 million on-going) raise.  Below is a chart that provides a 5-year history of salary raises provided to teachers as well as Cost of Living (CoLA) amounts received from the State. 




ACT Raise History

Cost of Living (CoLA)

Increases from State
















2013-2018 Totals




Current Proposals

3.00% (CUSD)

2% retro-active to 7/1/18

1% on date of agreement


7.00% (ACT)

4% retro-active to 7/1/18

3% on 1/1/19


Current CoLA


  • In addition to negotiated raises, teachers also receive an average pay increase of 2.44% through automatic movement on the salary schedule based on years of service.  The District must budget for this annual ongoing expense.

Is CUSD teacher compensation at the bottom compared to neighboring districts?

  • No.  When compared to other TK-12 districts in San Diego County, most of which receive more funding per student than CUSD receives, our teachers' salaries rank just below the County average.

  • However, it is important to note that total employee compensation is measured by salary and health and welfare benefits, not just salary.  For full-time employees, CUSD currently contributes up to 65% (as much as $25,250 for each employee) of the premium cost for family medical, dental, and life insurance plans.  The cost to CUSD is projected to continue rising by an average of 7% ($170,000) every year.

  • When these health and welfare benefits are combined with salaries, CUSD ranks above the average compared to other unified school districts in San Diego County.

  • Click here for a comparison of the teacher salaries and benefits across comparable districts in San Diego County.

How much does the District contribute towards Teachers’ Retirement Benefits (STRS)?

  • CUSD paid $2.1 million to the State Teachers Retirement System (STRS) last year.
  • This cost is anticipated to rise by over $200,000 every year, potentially climbing to $3 million by 2021.

  • This ongoing, increasing cost is one of the main factors that CUSD must consider when determining how much of an ongoing salary increase is fiscally responsible and sustainable.

Are District Office Administrators’ salaries in the average range?

What are class sizes in the Coronado Unified School District?

  • CUSD’s population changes throughout the school year, primarily due to 35% military-dependent student body.  

  • To ensure we have room for new students while reducing the need for combination classes, we maintain the following target class size averages for each site:

    • TK-1st Grade:  25 students

    • 2nd-3rd Grade:  27 students

    • 4th-5th Grade:   30 students

    • 6th-12th Grades:  32 students in core classes (Language Arts, Math, Social Science, Science)

  • Click here to view the current class sizes at each school.

Are CUSD teachers working without a contract?

  • No.  The current collective bargaining agreement between CUSD and ACT is in place through the 2020 school year.
  • Each year, articles of the contract may be opened up for negotiation.  This year, salary was one of those articles.

If my child’s teacher is “working to contract,” will he/she be unable to speak with me before or after school if I have questions or concerns?

  • Although full-time teachers are contracted to work 7 hours and 35 minutes per day (including a duty-free lunch and breaks), 185 days per year, our contract also requires that teachers continue to furnish adequate time to students outside the instructional day.
  • It is therefore CUSD’s expectation that ACT’s decision to “work to contract” will have no impact on a teacher’s availability to communicate with parents via email, phone, or in-person to discuss any pertinent issues.  Should you have any challenges in this regard, please reach out to your school principal.

Is a teacher strike imminent?

  • No.  A lawful strike may occur only after the entire negotiations process has ended without an agreement.  This includes not only the completion of regular negotiations, but also the completion of the “impasse” process, which occurs if regular negotiations have hit a stalemate.  

  • Unless or until an agreement is reached, the impasse process would involve meetings with a mediator, a hearing before a fact-finding panel, and the issuance/consideration of the fact-finding panel’s report.  

  • CUSD and ACT are still in the regular negotiations process.  Therefore, we are not at the point in our negotiations where a lawful strike may occur.  

Are experienced, qualified teachers leaving CUSD?

  • At the end of the 2017-2018 school year, we had several teachers who left our district due to moves outside of the County or State while others decided to pursue other careers.
  • We are aware of three teachers who left our district to pursue teaching in other districts here in San Diego County.  With over 160 certificated teachers on staff, this equates to about 2% of our teaching staff.