Teachers, students attend School Board meeting in light of teacher pay raise demands

Many+teachers+gathered+at+the+School+Board+on+Oct.+10%2C+2017+to+voice+their+concerns+over+the+negotiations.+Credit%3A+Emily+van+Deinse+%2F+The+Foothill+Dragon+Press

Many teachers gathered at the School Board on Oct. 10, 2017 to voice their concerns over the negotiations. Credit: Emily van Deinse / The Foothill Dragon Press

Jill Vallance

“Please put the people first, we are what makes the district great.” Even though this was voiced by Foothill systems specialist Kris Nordin, the idea was on the minds of many teachers and school staff who stood in the sea of red at the School Board meeting on Tuesday night.

The Ventura Education Support Professionals Association (VESPA) and the Ventura Unified Education Association (VUEA) joined together to defend a long-debated issue at the most recent school board meeting: a two percent raise for all the teachers and staff in the Ventura Unified School District for the 2016-17 school year.

During public comment time, many grievances were brought to light. For example, one complaint was that when the district had furlough days, the staff and faculty still haven’t been reimbursed.

Nordin concluded that “it’s not fair and it’s not right” that some school employees’ work hours are just 15 minutes short of the six hours a day required to receive medical benefits from the district without paying premiums. 

 

 

A theme that continued through the night was the cost of living, which was said to be unreasonably high with the wage they earn now. With the amount of money they are paid by the district, it is not unknown that “there [are] teachers and support staff who have to have second or third jobs,” teacher Jennifer Kindred said.

Many seniors in AP Government, along with their teacher Cherie Eulau, attended the meeting for their citizenship project because they knew it would be interesting. Wessal Esber ‘18 observed that the meeting was “a really mind-opening experience to see how many people were able to gather, fill the chamber and voice their opinions.”

“After the meeting, […] there was just this revelation that I need to be grateful for my teachers,” Eden Hoover ‘18 concluded. “I hope they get that raise.”

 

 

Kindred stated that she “didn’t even know that [the students] knew about it.” Although it was refreshing to see students make an appearance and express their support of the Foothill staff, she believes that “this issue should stay between the faculty and the district.”

This the update on the negotiations as of Oct. 9, 2017.

What do you think?