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The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

OPINION: Educators should be compensated for their service

Local K-12 district continues to negotiate with their teachers on higher salaries
Claire Geriak
A teacher is shown to be overwhelmed with many different factors in her life, such as affording housing, education, relationships and towering bills, while still having to work long hours at her job. Illustration created on Canva.

A classroom is in session when the instructor is present. 

The moment the teacher walks through the door, their focus should be on the students and the material at hand. Right?

It may come as a surprise that some teachers have anything but school on their mind. An array of thoughts can be flying through their mind like pigeons at the sight of bread crumbs.

Am I going to make rent for this month?

What am I going to give my children to eat tonight?

Do I have enough for gas?

Students expect their instructors to prepare them with the right material, understand their needs, and be mindful of their dedication and commitment to the school.

When have school boards ever given this kind of consideration and attention to their teachers? 

“We definitely should be holding educators to a different type of standard, right–or respect and importance, I think that’s really what I want to say,” Hozby Galindo, president of the Santa Barbara Teachers Association, said.

In December of 2023, students from high schools including Dos Pueblos, San Marcos and Santa Barbara all conducted walkouts in support of negotiations between the SBTA and the Santa Barbara Unified School District to receive higher pay for their teachers. 

“The community understands [teachers’ needs], the issue is when people make it all the way to a strike, it really just does mean that the school boards are not hearing or understanding those needs,” Galindo said. 

Galindo was appointed to his role as president of the SBTA in 2023, and had previously taught at La Cumbre High School as a mathematics teacher. 

According to Galindo, he had bargained for the SBTA for nearly six years before joining the executive board. 

The bargaining team at the SBTA consist of members appointed by the president who are responsible for reaching tentative agreements on contracts between the Association and the district.

On Dec. 12 of 2023, the SBTA had proposed a 23% salary increase to the Santa Barbara Unified School District; 15% for the 2024 to 2025 school year, and an additional 8% for the 2025 to 2026 school year. 

The SBUSD responded with an offer of 13%.

The SBTA rejected this low-ball offer. 

“Right now, a lot of teachers are banding together, being a part of a union, standing as one voice, and sometimes taking the ultimate step of going on strike,” Galindo said.

Currently, the SBTA and the SBUSD are in the next stage of negotiation, the impasse process, occurring as a result of both parties failing to reach an agreement.

The impasse process includes various mediation, fact finding and post-fact finding procedures, and can last anywhere from three to six months, according to the negotiations update section of the SBUSD website.

“I just think there’s been a lack of giving importance to the role [of] educators,” Galindo said.

Teachers have lasting impacts on students’ overall development as not only scholars, but as members of society. They instill certain habits that contribute to the livelihood of these students. 

“I would like to see for the future that teachers are properly compensated so that they can actually focus where they need to focus, which is in the classroom, on students,” Galindo said.

The needs of these educators are of utmost importance, and without their continuous support of students across the community, many of these individual learners would endure a detrimental setback in their developing lives. 

“We definitely need to make sure that we have the best individual that we can send into a classroom everyday,” Galindo said. “And that’s part of the reason that we’re fighting here so much.”

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