By Dianna Huculak
(Editor’s Note: Dianna Huculak, the DTA President read the following statement last night at the Davis Joint Unified School Board Meeting).
The Davis Teachers Association is pleased that, in our last bargaining round, the school board has decided to prioritize teachers, librarians, nurses, counselors, and school psychologists, all of whom work directly with children over a budgeted deficit. We recognize that the school board, after five months of bargaining, has, at last, made significant movement to begin to address the low wages of our members.
While we are excited about the movement, DTA would like to remind that board, that from the beginning of this round of negotiations, we have been seeking significant but above all fair increases for ALL of our members, not just small sub groups. The huge disparity in the offers made by the district for people – perhaps 7 percent for one member while 1.5 percent for the person working next to them – is unacceptable. The compensation gap is profound at all levels of the salary schedule. It impacts not just beginning teachers, but also those teachers who have dedicated their professional lives to working in this district. You have our offer, you should accept it, and accept it now.
Educators in this district have already sacrificed enough. It goes beyond the everyday work of the teacher – whether it’s grading on the weekend, buying basic classroom supplies, staying late to attend meetings and to plan our lessons. We have taken furlough days, departments have routinely taken extra sections work, 120%, we have packed students into our classrooms. New and experienced educators have patiently waited, not just this year but for years – some of us, even decades – for the district to take action. This has never been an issue of how the state decides to fund schools, but instead has always been an issue of what many school boards and superintendents over the years have prioritized – and looking at the profound wage gap that exists, clearly educators and students of this district have not been a priority.
So let’s settle this now. Let’s not tell our most experienced educators that they are not as deserving of a meaningful raise, because you already have them, and it’s too late for my colleagues to go anywhere else. Let’s settle this with you valuing their dedication to the children of the Davis community and the work they’ve done to help schools.
Let’s settle now, so that you can show our middle career educators that you value them too. That they don’t need to search for other jobs in other districts to have their experience, education, and dedication to students valued. So they won’t have to choose between trading off retirement and their children’s college education to stay working in a community with colleagues and students that they love.
Let’s settle’s so that our newest hires will see that Davis will value their contributions, not just now, but in the long term. That Davis is not just a place to start, and to gain experience for a better playing teaching job, but a place to stay, a place grow as a professional, a place that will prioritize them and their families – a place in which they can invest in not only the broader community of Davis, but also invest in our schools, and generations of families.
Let’s settle. As a board, you alone have the power to positively impact educators, not just now but in the future. You can be our partners in creating a school district that values educators at all levels of their profession. A board that understands that we are all in this together for students and the families that we serve. A board whose budget reflects that they value the dedication and service of educators to generations of families. Let’s settle the contract now.