Gary Wynn (letter Jan. 9) claimed that the Fresno Unified School District received an 8% increase in state "COLA" revenue that should be passed on as a salary increase. Unfortunately, Mr. Wynn did not consider that the revenue Fresno Unified receives is based on the number of students enrolled, which is about 1,800 fewer than last year.
Because of fewer students, the total increase is only 5.21%. This is about $20 million, which is just about equal to 6.17%, the district's current offer to teachers (a 5% salary raise, plus 1.17% for the district's increased contribution to health benefits).
In fact, other teachers unions, including the state's largest, United Teachers of Los Angeles, acknowledge that with declining enrollment, the full per student COLA is not received. From the UTLA newspaper: "The UT cited a figure of 7.93% for the COLA given to school districts. We've since learned that that figure is inaccurate ... Figuring the loss of student enrollment into the overall percentage, the most recent calculations have the number dropping to an effective 4.43% increase."
Because Fresno Unified's enrollment is also declining, our "effective" COLA is 5.21%, not 8%.
Ruth F. Quinto
Chief Financial Officer
Fresno Unified School District