California Educator

February/March 2020

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Ba rga i n i n g Ro u n d u p Compiled by Julian Peeples #OurVoiceAtTheTable Del Norte County: Teachers organize for strike In the far northwest corner of the state, teachers are building a movement for the schools their students deserve. Del Norte Teachers Association is in heated and oft-delayed negotiations with Del Norte Unified School District to address the teacher retention crisis that has seen an astounding 47 percent teacher turn- over rate in the past three years. More than 90 percent of DNTA members voted to authorize a strike in late December. In January, a fact- finder agreed with DNTA that the district's failure to attract and retain quality teachers affects the district's ability to serve students. "Teacher turnover hurts kids, so this contract must help this district attract and retain quality people for Del Norte students," says DNTA President Marshall Jones. "Our students need highly qualified teachers who stay and invest in Del Norte students. One way to do that is a fair contract that provides increases to the salary schedule and health and welfare benefits." At a December school board meeting, the superin- tendent announced he had no intention of finishing the bargaining process and suggested the district would refuse to impose a last, best and final offer in a bad- faith attempt to procedurally block a legal strike. As of press time, the district had not submitted a proposal since late October. "This delay does not weaken our resolve. We intend to use all legal avenues to oppose these unfair and illegal practices," Jones says. "Del Norte teachers are standing up for students and fighting for the future of the schools and community. There is no more important expenditure than investing in a stable and highly qualified team of teachers to work directly with our students." Certificated and classified staff at Smith River Elementary show support for a fair contract for Del Norte educators. (The educators edited in two members to this photo.) 43 F E B R U A R Y / M A R C H 2 0 2 0 A

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