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Hart district teachers rally for better pay

Union in negotiations with board for last few months

Posted: May 4, 2016 10:44 p.m.
Updated: May 4, 2016 10:44 p.m.
Teachers hold signs in front of the Hart district offices on Tuesday ahead of a board meeting. Teachers hold signs in front of the Hart district offices on Tuesday ahead of a board meeting.
Teachers hold signs in front of the Hart district offices on Tuesday ahead of a board meeting.
Stacey Killinger, right, holds her daughter Kinslee, 1, as daughters Aurora, 7, right, and Lia, 5, left, peer into the boardroom at the Hart district on Tuesday as teachers fight for wage hikes. Stacey Killinger, right, holds her daughter Kinslee, 1, as daughters Aurora, 7, right, and Lia, 5, left, peer into the boardroom at the Hart district on Tuesday as teachers fight for wage hikes.
Stacey Killinger, right, holds her daughter Kinslee, 1, as daughters Aurora, 7, right, and Lia, 5, left, peer into the boardroom at the Hart district on Tuesday as teachers fight for wage hikes.
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Hundreds of teachers stood outside the William S. Hart Union High School District office Wednesday night holding signs that said “quality educators shape the future,” “support your educators” and “Hart teachers deserve quality pay.”

Close to 500 people, comprised of Hart District Teachers Association and classified employees, paraded inside the board room at 6:45 p.m. to give public comment before salary negotiations for the teachers continued in closed session that evening.

Negotiations have been going on for a couple of months, and the hope is that an agreement will be reached by the end of the month, said teachers association President Jayme Allsman.

“We’re asking that they (the school board) empower their team to work with us and come to a mutually beneficial agreement,” said Allsman, stating that they are asking for a 4 percent increase in salary, approximately.

This would be the second increase in about 10 years, she said. The teachers did receive a 4 percent increase in salary in the 2014-15 school year as well as an off-schedule 3 percent bonus.

“The association has never asked for anything the district has not been able to give,” Allsman said. California and the school district are recovering from the recession, she said.

In order to attract new teachers, the district needs to remain competitive, she said.

There are about 1,000 members in the teachers association currently, with 85 percent of the teachers living in the Santa Clarita Valley.

Jennifer Davidson, a teacher at Placerita school, said she wanted to be a part of the Hart district because she believes it is the best in California and it is home to her.

The only problem was in finding a house in the valley that she and her husband could afford, both on teachers salaries.

“You need to provide a competitive salary to live here,” she said.
Adam Holland, a teacher at West Ranch High School, said the district is family to him.

“We’re all on the same team,” he said.

“We don’t undervalue our students. Please don’t undervalue us,” Holland added.

“I hope you will do everything in your power to appropriately remunerate the teachers,” said John Minkus, vice president of the teachers association.

Board member Steven Sturgeon responded to the comments stating that he believes the school board has been incredibly supportive in the past, and he believes in continued improvements to the salary schedule.

Linda Storli, board member and former teacher, said she is very aware of just how much the teachers do.

“I think you can trust this board to understand your issues and what you want, and trust this board to do the right thing,” she said.


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