Santa Barbara Unified School District | Credit: Carl Perry (File)

[Update: Thu., July 11, 10:30 a.m.] The intense, back-and-forth labor negotiations in the Santa Barbara Unified School District that dominated the past year are officially over after more than 92 percent of the Santa Barbara Teachers Association (SBTA) approved the wage settlement reached with the district last month, avoiding a potential strike.

Read the full story here.

[Original Story] For months, the two unions representing teachers and other employees of the Santa Barbara Unified School District (SBUSD) have been fighting for better wages with the administration. But while the teachers union and the district have reached a tentative agreement on pay, other school employees are still at the bargaining table. 

So far this year, the California School Employees Association (CSEA) — representing workers such as custodians and family engagement liaisons — won an increase in hourly compensation for the lowest salary ranges, among other minor contractual agreements. But they are still negotiating for raises across the board.

During their 12th negotiation session with the district this week, the CSEA requested a 10 percent salary increase this year and a 5 percent increase next year.

The district countered with 10 percent this year, 3 percent next year (with the potential for an additional increase if property tax revenue is more than 5 percent), and another 2 percent in 2026 — a proposal that matches the recent tentative agreement reached with the Santa Barbara Teachers Association (SBTA). 

CSEA also requested longevity pay for employees — meaning a 4 percent raise at 20 years, 5 percent at 25 years, and 6 percent at 30 years — but the district rejected it. 

The CSEA’s next negotiation sessions are July 15 and 19.

As for teachers, the school community is waiting with bated breath to hear whether union membership accepted the tentative agreement on wages or rejected it outright.

Because that agreement had not been ratified, it was not included in the district’s 2024-25 budget, which was approved on June 25. 

Much of the district’s funding comes from local property taxes, which, on average, has provided the district with a 4-5 percent increase in funds in past years. However, according to the district, the Santa Barbara County Tax Assessor has projected a decrease to 3.75 percent in the coming year. 

Leaving out any potential wage agreements with either union, the budget still includes a projected deficit due to “increasing costs and a slower rise than usual in revenues from local and state funds,” according to the district.

The full budget is available on the agenda.

To view all past negotiations updates from the district, visit the district’s website here.

Premier Events

Get News in Your Inbox


Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.