The Sierra-Plumas Joint Unified School District teachers need you! You are receiving this information from the Sierra-Plumas Teachers Association because you are considered a valued stakeholder in the future of the SPJUSD.
Your teachers are currently negotiating with the SPJUSD Board for recognition and appreciation for their efforts during this challenging 2020/2021 school year. Teachers are the most important asset of any school district and we are simply asking to be compensated for our hard work during this COVID -19 pandemic. We are one of the lowest paid districts in the state of California and our teachers deserve better, especially considering how hard we fought to keep our community’s kids in the classroom during this pandemic.
The following information will explain the current situation of the negotiations between the teachers and the district.
Your SPJUSD teachers went above and beyond for our students during the pandemic. While districts around the country decided not to reopen schools, we chose to stay in session and we worked hard at it. Cohorts of teachers and administrators in Loyalton and Downieville worked all summer and throughout the school year to create a sustainable plan to remain open. Teachers created new school and classroom protocols, rearranged their classrooms to support the social distancing mandate, implemented safety and hygiene procedures for students to follow, and spent countless hours cleaning student supplies, tables, chairs, and masks to give them a sanitary environment. Teachers continued the role as educators, but also as a classroom nurse, janitor, and safety monitor.
Your SPJUSD teachers put in the extra work to get students back in the classroom while most districts would not re-open. We wanted to work in-person while many other districts had to bribe their teachers to come back to the classroom. We chose to teach in person because we know what is best for our kids and our community! We put our children first. Yet, teaching in-person did not make our load any lighter. This year, we found ourselves having to reinvent instruction over and over again under constantly shifting guidelines as we switched instructional formats at a moment’s notice. We fought to teach in person during the COVID-19 pandemic when most districts stayed virtual because we listened and knew it was best for our kids and community.
Your SPJUSD teachers are not getting a fair share of the COVID payments to our district. SPJUSD received over a million dollars in COVID-19 payments. Districts state-wide received these extra COVID-19 payments and there are very little restrictions on how those monies are to be spent. We also recently learned that school districts in California will receive larger-than-normal Cost Of Living Adjustments (COLA). (COLA is an increase in funding for schools to compensate for inflation and is often used for salaries.) Districts usually receive a COLA each year, typically around 1%. Our district will receive almost an 8% COLA over the next two years! Yet, in a total lack of appreciation and regard for our efforts and profession, the district and negotiating board members refuse to pass an acceptable amount on to their teachers; the living piece of our little district!
Our negotiations team has met with the district and their negotiations team twice. In the first meeting, we requested a 3% retroactive raise on the salary schedule. They rejected our proposal and offered us nothing. In the second meeting, the district came to the table with nothing again! We did not accept and so then they proposed a $1000 one-time COVID-19 payment with 0% this year, 1% next year, and 2% the following year. This was turned down as it was not in our best interest to negotiate 3 years out. In an effort to work with the district, we pulled the request of an increase to the salary schedule and asked for a one-time payment of $4000. The district and SPTA will negotiate again this Wednesday. We are dismayed and confounded that our district refuses to offer us a reasonable one-time payment, but also an ongoing salary increase even though all of us are experiencing over a 5% increase in cost of living!
COVID payments and salary increases to teachers are generous in school districts around us. To offer some perspective, we gathered data from nearby districts:
• Foresthill teachers will receive a $2500 covid payment, and 2% on the salary schedule next year with an additional $2500 covid payment.
• Colfax teachers will receive a 3% retroactive salary increase for the current year, along with a one-time $2500 covid payment.
Our district has over $1 million from COVID-19 funds and districts all over the state are using it to help their employees and so should SPJUSD! We fought to teach in-person during the COVID-19 pandemic when most districts stayed virtual. We demonstrated that our priority is our students. We pushed for in-person instruction knowing that our workload would increase. We developed and adjusted lesson plans for the ever-changing direction of the health department and the state officials. Our Board touts being one of the very few districts that stayed open for instruction during the pandemic and it was your teachers that made it possible.
We hope you will take this opportunity to call on the SPJUSD board to recognize the extraordinary effort by your teachers to provide for your student’s educational, mental, social and emotional needs during this once-in-a-lifetime pandemic.
Please write emails, letters and make phone calls to discuss with your local board members the importance of fairly compensating teachers for the extraordinary work they’ve done during this very difficult year.
Thank you for your support and please forward this email.
Sierra Plumas Teachers
P.S. Here are the emails for your SPJUSD board members and Superintendent:
Patty Hall. : firstname.lastname@example.org
Allen Wright : email@example.com
Mike Moore. : firstname.lastname@example.org
James Berardi email@example.com