The latest rally took place after school on April 15, outside of Point Loma High School. More than a hundred teachers, students, counselors, and coaches dressed in red to show their support for SDEA’s proposal. The more than 100 faculty members were met with honks and praise from motorists as they drove by.
“We’re out here at PLHS today to make our voices heard and make the community aware of our ‘Fight for 5’ campaign,” said Lindsay Burningham, president of the SDEA. “We hope that the district will acknowledge the very hard work all of our teachers, counselors, and nurses do everyday and present a fair contract that is comparable in salary and class size requirements to other districts in the state.”
The school district is receiving more than $105 million next year from Prop 30. The SDUSD administration has proposed huge central office raises for themselves, some in excess of 25 percent, and initially offered only a 1.4 percent raise to teachers, counselors, and nurses.
“As a teacher, I try my best to teach critical thinking skills in the classroom; and, therefore, I am totally confused as to how the district leadership can give themselves a 20-plus percent pay raise, offer teachers 1.4 percent, and not expect the SDEA to question this huge disparity,” said PLHS cinematic arts teacher Anthony Palmiotto.
“The SDEA believes that SDUSD teachers, counselors and nurses are dedicated professionals and that a salary similar to other districts in the state is the key to recruiting and retaining qualified educators,” added Palmiotto.
Only recently has the district budged and offered the teachers a 4 percent salary increase. If an agreement is not met soon, an independent arbitrator can be called in to help resolve the dispute.
“A 7 percent salary increase is not too much to ask for,” said PLHS history teacher Patrick McElhaney. “All we are asking for is a fair contract.”
The SDEA plans to hold firm on its “Fight for 5” bargaining agreement.