By Mica Bernhard & Jordan Cutler-Tietjen
Thursday, February 4th marked the beginning of the long-anticipated annual salary and contract negotiations for La Canada High School staff, prompting teachers to wear blue shirts as a sign of solidarity.
Recently, teachers have taken notice to the difference in pay grades in comparison to similarly high-achieving districts. The highest certificated salary for instructors at San Marino, for example, is $100,423 at 20 years of employment, whereas La Canada’s top salary is $90,720 at 25 years.
Moreover, the longer teachers stay at LCHS, the less money they earn next to peers at other school districts. Though there have been annual raises of late--4% in the 2014-2015 school year--the increases are not sufficient to overcome recession-induced budget cuts that prevented raises for a significant amount of time, leaving teachers’ present salaries lower than they would have been otherwise. According to the La Canada Flintridge Educational Foundation, teacher salaries have only increased 6% since 2007, a negotiation completed in 2014.
The pay disparity with other high performing districts is particularly noteworthy considering LCHS’ redesignation as a National Blue Ribbon School and top-performing scores on the SBAC testing this year. One teacher, who asked to remain anonymous, believes that as many as 19 instructors have requested letters of recommendation, indicating they might be searching for jobs at higher paying districts.
Mr. Carroll, an AP and regular U.S. History teacher, revealed that he “could make about $8,000 more working at a district like South Pasadena...Maybe even more at Glendale.” With regard to the letters of recommendation, he confirmed that they are “not meant to be any kind of labor ploy...We’re not trying to use students as pawns in any way.”
As the contract negotiations begin, these factors will all come into play. Despite the growing dissatisfaction, staff and administration share a common concern for the well-being of their students. As Principal Mr. McFeat put it, “Attracting and retaining the best employees, and keeping them while they’re here is our number one goal.”
This is the first in a series of articles that will cover the relationship between the teachers, the administration, and the district. For questions, comments, concerns please contact email@example.com.
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