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The Student News Site of Dos Pueblos High School

The Charger Account

The Student News Site of Dos Pueblos High School

The Charger Account

Better pay, they’ll stay

Charlotte Fletcher
Teachers Anna Guerrero (left) and Kelly Savio (right)

Many people have been confused about whether or not teachers are on strike for better pay. Although it may have been considered, it is not the current case. Instead, teachers are participating in a work to contract.

SBUnified School District teachers are negotiating with the district for better compensation. Their first negotiation meeting was on Nov. 14 and more meetings have been arranged for the future.

“We have the sense that it could take a while to have these conversations and for us to … come to an agreement,” Ethnic Studies teacher Anna Guerrero said.

The latest labor negotiation update from Nov. 15 explained that the SBUSD core values in negotiations are to improve student experience and well being, support quality educators to promote success for all students, remain fiscally solvent in both the short and long term, be transparent and adhere to the districts agreements, pursue coherence and clarity of purpose while acknowledging diverse needs across the district, and to be passionate about the issues through respectful dialogue.

Additionally, the negotiation update stated that the district proposed to increase contributions to cover 75 percent of Medical Premiums, but SBTA proposed a 20 percent wage increase for the 2024-2025 school year along with a proposal to maintain class size reductions.

It is important to teachers that the district will come ready to discuss these topics. According to a Santa Barbara Independent article, “Why Teachers Will Go on Strike,” teachers have felt underpaid and underappreciated for a long time. They are currently considered low income employees. This issue among the SBTA union has been taken a step further through negotiations and more. If teachers don’t receive better pay, the cost of living in Santa Barbara might become too high to afford.

Therefore, if the district doesn’t come prepared to negotiate teacher pay, teachers will continue to closely follow their work contract. Working to their contract means that they will only do what is required of them by contact with anything extra coming to a pause for the time being. Because of this, classrooms will be closed before and after school along with lunch. Due to this, many clubs have been postponed until further notice.

“This [lunch] is, … contractually, [the] only break that I get all day,” Guerrero said.

IB English and AP Literature teacher Kelly Savio explained the extra effort Guerrero puts in for her students outside of her contract hours.

“[Ms. Guerrero has been] having students in her room and if … any of the clubs need help doing something she is going to help them … figure out how to get a guest speaker,” Savio said. “And that’s all on her personal time, too. So it’s the same … when we open up our classrooms, before or after school, or when we help people on our prep periods. I’m not contractually required to do that at all.”

Savio then explained how she helps her students in her personal time.

“Right now, I happen to just be [a] teacher [of] all seniors,” Savio said. “So I have a lot of letters of [recommendation] requests. I’m super happy to do that, and I tried to do as many as I could this year, given that I have three, [or] four, classes of seniors. But … I’m not contractually required to do that. It’s … on my personal time [and] I [try] to make sure to write very good letters … I take a lot of time on those letters. [I do] that, all [in] my personal time … and I don’t get paid for that.”

The Noozhawk article, “Santa Barbara Teachers Blast School Board District on Eve of Salary Negotiations,” covered what took place at the first salary negotiations meeting on Nov. 14. The article stated that 55 percent of the SBUnified districts budget is to be spent on teachers salaries, but it failed to do so last year even though it is required by the state.

55 percent of the SBUnified districts budget is to be spent on teachers salaries, but it failed to do so last year even though it is required by the state.

Another Noozhawk article, “Turnover, ‘Lack of Trust’ Fuel Salary Dispute Between Santa Barbara Unified Teachers Administration,” explained how some people think the conflict between staffing levels and salaries is because of the current superintendent, Hilda Maldonado. It stated how this conflict derives from a “lack of trust” toward Maldonado. Maldonado has been replacing veteran senior administrators with people outside the district, which has caused uncertainty within the district and impacted the union in labor negotiations. According to union leaders, administrators and teachers are paid substantially less when compared to other local districts.

Another struggle within the district is the lack of substitute teachers, which cuts into teachers’ prep periods that they use to catch up on work.

“We don’t have enough [substitute teachers] so when teachers are out, then we are asked to cover during our prep periods, and … we … get paid a small amount for covering another teacher’s class during our prep period,” Guerrero said. “And if you give up your prep time, that’s your time to support, to, like, plan for your classes and get your grading done. That means that you are then taking that work home. It just takes away from your ability to … get your job done without using a lot of your, again, unpaid personal time.”

Teachers hope that the district will be prepared to negotiate for better pay. If the district does not, teachers plan to continue to work to their contract. Teachers hope that the district will see the extra mile they put in for their students.

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About the Contributor
Charlotte Fletcher
Charlotte Fletcher, Reporter
Charlotte Fletcher (10) is adding on to the latest chapter of the book that she is writing. She is writing it with a friend, and she hopes to get the book published. “I love writing,” Charlotte said. “That’s like one of my favorite things to do.” 
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