Students gathered at Girsh park to hear speeches. “This is probably one of the best places to live in the world. If theyre teaching in a place like this, they should be paid to live in a place like this, said Jack Hansen (9)
Students gathered at Girsh park to hear speeches. “This is probably one of the best places to live in the world. If they’re teaching in a place like this, they should be paid to live in a place like this,” said Jack Hansen (9)
Kaiser Orduna

The DP Walkout: hundreds leave school in support of fair teacher wages

It is not a common occurrence to see nearly 1,000 high school students heading down Storke Road on a Friday morning.

However, this was the scene on Dec. 1, as Dos Pueblos students walked out of school to bring attention to Santa Barbara teachers’ demands for fair wages. A train of students longer than one could see the end of walked from DP campus to Girsh Park, chanting ‘No pay? No show. No pay? We go.’

The walkout began after first period at around 10:00 a.m. during nutrition break, where crowds of students holding signs and megaphones marched passed the Greek and towards the front of the school. Papers with chants and a map of the route were handed out as the growing crowd looped around the B building. The

students made their way to the back exit of

Students participating in the walkout crowd around the Greek before the march. (Evie Pazan)

the school on Alameda, and headed to Girsh Park.

“I think we’ll definitely have strength in numbers,” said Aidan Myers (12), Senior Class President and an organizer of the protest, before the walkout. “The march on campus is strictly just to snowball. But once we’ve gone through the school and made it clear that it’s happening now if you want to join, we’re gonna walk out.”

Students were unexcused and marked truant if they participated, and as a result approximately 900 students were marked absent from second period.

The walkout took hundreds on route from Del Norte to Cathedral Oaks, congregating for a moment at the gas station on the corner of Storke and Del Norte. Everyone was encouraged to stay safe and on the sidewalk while traveling past the freeway. DP Admin, CSAs, Sheriff Deputies, and Scotty G were present monitoring the crowd and controlling traffic, but the walkout remained peaceful.

“Please know that our staff’s primary focus will be the safety and supervision of all students whether they are on campus or off,” Woodard wrote in a message to parents earlier this week.

Upon arrival at Girsh Park, the crowd gathered around to hear testimonies from students expressing their concerns and showing their support for teachers.

“We are gathered here today, not because of us, but because of our teachers back at DP,” said Myers. “We’re the only school in the county to host a walkout for the teachers.”

Protest organizers (Left-right) Lukas Ginder (12), Valeria Taburcio-Romo (12), and Aidan Myers (12) (Kaiser Orduna)

ASB President Valeria Taburcio Romo (12), an organizer of the protest, highlighted all the ways in which the teacher’s “work to contract” has affected students. She mentioned how teachers do not get paid for tutoring or assisting students during lunch, before, or after school hours. There is also a chance that students will lose activities such as PGPs, school dances, and senior activities because teachers cannot oversee them. There will be no club meetings held, and teachers will not even be allowed to write letters of recommendation.

“How are we going to apply to top universities in the state of California?” Taburcio  Romo said. “USC requires one. If I can’t even get one, I can’t even apply. My application is then incomplete.”

Regardless of the work to contract, students at the walkout expressed their support and gratitude towards teachers.

“As a first generation student, my teachers are the ones I run to the most,” Jessica Avila-Ruiz (12) said. “They have guided me through tough times and showed me that I am capable of doing more. Me standing here is proof of that.”

In the state of California, it is required by law to pay at least 55 percent of their budget towards teacher salaries. Taburcio Romo mentioned how the district failed to do so, and underpaid teachers $6,700,000 The district instead sought a waiver for the expenses, and has been criticized for their spending priorities.

“The board would rather extend their travel budget by $1,000,000 then pay their teachers what they deserve,” said Taburcio Romo. “How much are you traveling? One million dollars? That’s a bit extensive.”

“What does a seventeen year old student and Hilda Maldanado have in common? What do we have in common? We don‘t know what it’s like to raise a family on the teacher salary in Santa Barbara.”

— Aidan Myers

Students also brought up the cost of living in Santa Barbara, where a first year teacher salary barely covers the cost of renting one bedroom in Santa Barbara, and even teachers who have worked for over a decade can barely afford housing. It was pointed out how superintendent Hilda Maldonado makes over $330,000 a year.

“What does a seventeen year old student and Hilda Maldanado have in common?” Myers said through the megaphone. “What do we have in common? We don‘t know what it’s like to raise a family on the teacher salary in Santa Barbara.”

Taburcio Romo informed the crowd of SBTA’s proposal for a 20 percent raise for the 2024-25 school year. The district responded with a compensation package that included a raise of eight percent for the next school year, and four percent the following year, as well as medical benefits.

Students crossing the freeway on Storke and Del Norte Dr. “Take your time people, this is a walkout not a run-out,” said Assistant Principal Perry to students. (Evie Pazan)

“You know what they offered? Say it a little louder,” she asked, in which the crowd responded with resounding chants of “eight.”

By 11:15 a.m., the testimonies concluded and the walkout ended. A number of students made their way back to campus by lunch time, and a large amount headed to the nearby Camino Real Center.

“This does not end today, after today it’s not like the teachers are magically gonna get what they need,” Finnegan Wright (12) said to the crowd. “We need to keep doing this, because when the students act together, we can move mountains.

 

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  • S

    SethDec 4, 2023 at 10:08 am

    GUYS! We have bad news… the DP Walkout last week made it into the news… now it’s gonna go international like Max Fosh’s Welcome to Luton prank…

    Reply