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San Marcos High School ~ Santa Barbara, CA

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Teacher Negotation Updates

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SBTA

UPDATE: As stated on the sbtaunite Instagram, the district and SBTA have jointly agreed to enter an impasse following the recent bargaining, landing on the decision to maintain the last salary SBTA proposed (15% and 8%).

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Yesterday, on January 11, the Santa Barbara School District met with the teachers’ union to discuss yet again, teachers’ salaries. After the walkouts before winter break, teacher negotiations continued to be in full swing. There was a new development at the board meeting just last night.
Santa Barbara teachers have been underpaid for years, but it was called to attention this year with negotiations opening up in November 2023. The raises being given by Santa Barbara Unified School District is not enough to match inflation, as well as being under the state requirement. The district must give 55% of the money they get from the state to the teachers, but they did not do that this year. They had to apply for a waiver this year because of them not meeting the minimum and in turn owe teachers 3.2 million dollars from the amount they should have paid.

Teachers started going on a ‘work to contract” situation in the fall by keeping their classrooms closed at lunch and during prep periods to prove how much it affects the students if they only work their contracted hours. 611 teachers went on this soft-strike as part of the protest, and there have been many board meetings and negotiations going on that most people do not even know about. Teachers, students, and parents have been fighting for higher wages at board meetings with little progress. Out of 941 districts, SBUSD paid some of the lowest wages, despite the cost of living being so high in Santa Barbara County. Many teachers have to commute to work because they cannot even afford to have a home here. These unlivable salaries are causing teachers to move to other districts at a faster rate than ever. This much turnover of staff makes for inexperienced teachers, less connection with the students, and less of a sense of community at SBUnified schools.

San Marcos political science teacher Mr. Clow said, “It’s been great seeing how united we are and seeing all the hard work the negotiators are putting in. They know we support them and we feel supported by them as we try to get paid enough to live where we work.”

At the last negotiation before the winter break, the Santa Barbara Teachers Association argued for a 15% raise for 2024-25 and 8% the next year, and the board offered 8% for 2024-25 and 4% the next year. Last night, SBTA came back with the same amount and the board officially declined, so there was no movement.

It is unclear what will happen in the future, but we are not the only district that is facing this problem. In a Portland school district, teachers went on strike for three weeks and schools ended up closing for 11 days. We do not know if SBUSD will go in the same direction, but it could affect the length of our summer break if schools do end up closing.

To show their concern for their teachers and belief that their teachers deserve better, students across the district have gone on walkouts. They will probably continue showing up at board meetings, making statements, and writing letters to the board. These actions show students need teachers and we need to stand up as a community for our education system, which is one of the main messages that the teachers union is arguing during the salary negotiations. These actions will also affect what will happen at the next meeting, especially now because of this recent news of the board declining the ask by the teachers.

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About the Contributor
Natalie Anderson, Staff Writer
Natalie is a sophomore at San Marcos and this is her first year as a writer for the Kings Page. She loves writing and is excited to be a part of journalism this year. Her favorite sections to write about are feature and lifestyle. Her favorite subjects are Math and French. In her free time, Natalie enjoys dance, reading, baking, and being with friends and family.
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