California Educator

May / June 2017

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SAN MATEO EDUCATORS HOLD PROTEST San Mateo Elementary Teachers Association (SMETA) members held protests at the San Mateo-Foster City School District offices in late April and at the school board meeting May 18 over the lack of a contract settlement that meets their goals of salary increases and reduced class sizes. Frustrations at the table continue, even though the K-8 district is expected to have about $48 million in reserves by the end of the fiscal year on July 1. " This district refuses to prioritize teachers' salaries to help stop the turnover in this high-cost area," says SMETA President Julie MacArthur. "Salaries must be competitive. Recruiting and retaining educators is crucial to the success of our students and our community." Negotiations continued in May. In San Mateo County, the $51,070 starting salary for these educators ranks 17th among neighboring school districts. HEMET BROKEN PROMISE LEADS TO MEDIATION Hemet Teachers Association (HTA) has made ending teacher turnover a top priority for their community. Earlier, the chapter extracted a pledge from Hemet Unified School District (HUSD) to compensate local teachers at the county 's median pay, to help halt the continuous exodus of teachers who find better conditions in nearby districts. Because the district's current offer falls below the annual cost of living, it not only breaks that promise to HTA, but also calls into question the seriousness of HUSD's com- mitment to improve instruction by retaining great teachers for all students in the Hemet community. After mediation, if no settlement is reached, HTA and HUSD will move into fact-finding. BUENA PARK HEROES, NOT ZEROS Filling the Buena Park Unified School Dis- trict boardroom at the May meeting, Buena Park Teachers Association members wore T-shirts reading "We are heroes, not zeros" in protest of a zero percent salary offer that is considered an insult to every teacher in the district. Orange County is one of the most expensive communities in the U.S. Noncom- petitive pay makes recruiting new educators a much more difficult task. Impasse has been declared, and the first mediation session is scheduled for June 20. SANTA BARBARA FINALLY, AGREEMENT On April 5, the Santa Barbara Teachers Association (SBTA) and the Santa Barbara Unified School District reached a tentative agreement that provides a 2 percent salary schedule increase and additional pay for voluntary participation in summer profes- sional development. It was reached one day after a huge turnout of SBTA members and community supporters rallied to protest the district's failure to even put a salary increase on the table. The agreement also includes a district commitment to begin bargaining for 2018-19 in February 2018 and to conclude in April 2018. It was over- whelmingly ratified by SBTA members April 17. By Cynthia Menzel, Mike Myslinski, Ed Sibby and Frank Wells. #OurVoiceAtTheTable SMETA members take to the streets. SBTA members at the April 4 rally. 41 May / June 2017

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