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Teachers only offered 2% raise
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Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
Some information on the tentative agreement between the school district and the teachers: The district has offered your teachers a 2% raise for this year, retroactive to January of this year.  That means the 2% is only good for half of the year, so in reality it is a 1% raise for this year.  I know that because I teach my students that half of 2 is 1.  A 1% raise for this year?  Does that sound fair to you?  It gets worse if you read on.
The school district budget increased this year from $216 million to $245 million.  That’s a 14% increase or raise for the school district but they offer us 1% for this year. That $29 million increase is like giving teachers a raise of 29%.  You read that right.  For every million, that’s equivalent to a 1% raise for the teachers.
 Also, the district is required to keep $7 million in savings for emergencies.  They have nearly $100 million in savings.  Again, that’s equivalent to a 93% raise for teachers.
 Of course, teachers won’t get all that money.  Most importantly, they didn’t ask for that.  Not even close.  We asked for a 5% raise. We asked also for more nurses, counselors at the elementary schools, and lower class sizes.  That’s a student centered approach. Teachers know what our students need.  And people trust us to know what students need. Across the country, teachers are admired by 90% of the public because people know us and appreciate what we do.  The school district doesn’t appreciate us.  A 5% raise is fair as you will see below.
 They’re not using any of that money to help kids.  That’s why this is a bad deal.
It’s also bad for the taxpayer.  We pay taxes to help students.  The district isn’t a bank. They need to spend that money on the students.  A fair offer to the teachers will help keep the teachers we have and recruit the best and the brightest.  Right now, there is an extreme teacher shortage.  How extreme?  Lodi Unified has had 70 substitute teachers instructing students since the beginning of the school year.
If you treat teachers like this, you can understand why there is teacher shortage.
 Also, the district wants to require teachers to sit in meetings every Wednesday and postpone the start of school for an hour.  As if teachers don’t work hard enough, that is like adding 2 hours to a teacher’s work hours EVERY week.  An hour for the meeting and an hour to make up for the loss of instructional minutes by starting school an hour later.  Teachers don’t need to be sitting in more meetings because they could be preparing curriculum, correcting papers, or tutoring students.  We are hired to teach students, not sit in meetings.
 And I just have to ask: Who makes a $40 million mistake called Going Digital with devices that don’t work, receives a 5% raise this year, and keeps their job?  Our Superintendent Jason Messer does.  He gives himself 5% and offers his teachers 1%.  Now, that’s hypocritical.

Ken Johnson
Local teacher