California Educator

August/September 2021

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Page 43 of 75

TWIN HILLS: Fight continues for fair pay Twin Hills Teachers Association members are organizing for a livable wage that is fair, just and equitable, preparing to strike if necessary to win the resources they need to survive. The average wage for THTA educators is $69,594 — about $15,000 below the state average and not enough to pay for housing and other needs in Sonoma County, one of the least affordable counties in the nation. An extended contract dispute with Twin Hills Union School District recently went to fact-finding, where THTA educators delivered compelling testimony showing how they are not valued or respected by the district. Many Twin Hills educators work sec- ond and even third jobs to make ends meet, while others simply find work in another district. "Living without a reasonable salary is really hard on the soul," says former THTA member and education special- ist Lacey Reese. "I started to look in neighboring counties and have been hired for the same position with a 25 percent increase in pay, full health coverage for myself and my son, and a team that appears happy, partly because they are being paid a livable wage for good work." Though the impartial fact-finder found that THTA educators are not being paid fairly, the recommendation of a 4 percent one-time bonus will not address the long-term problem of the district refusing to make their educators a priority. LOS ANGELES: Educators approve agreement to return to full in-person learning United Teachers Los Angeles over- whelmingly approved an agreement with the school district in June on safety protocols and other conditions for the full physical reopening of schools for the 2021-22 school year. "With the approval of this agreement, schools across Los Angeles will have critical COVID safety protocols in place when we welcome students back to the joys of full-time in-person learning," UTLA President Cecily Myart-Cruz says. " The pandemic has challenged students, families and educators in ways unimaginable, but it has also triggered inno- vation and taught us lasting lessons about the power of public education to heal. Educators are committed to meeting our students where they are and creating the healthy, healing, equitable schools that our students and their families deserve." The agreement maintains many of the necessary COVID-19 protocols that are proven to keep students, staff, families and the education community safe, including COVID testing, screening, ventilation, cleaning and disin- fecting of school facilities, and a COVID-19 Compliance Task Force at every school. LA Unified has the lowest number of COVID infections among the nation's largest school districts because of the safety protocols that educa- tors, parents and community members have fought for and won. "The pandemic has challenged students, families and educators, but it has also triggered innovation and taught about the power of public education to heal." —UTLA President Cecily Myart-Cruz 42 Advocacy

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