By Charly SHELTON
Tuesday night’s Glendale Unified School District semi-monthly board of education meeting had a running theme – teachers. The meeting was attended by dozens of teachers, many of whom were there to show support for fellow teachers during the contract disputes with the district. During each meeting, the GUSD board sets aside time on the agenda to hear public comment. Many of the speakers during the public comments section spoke on behalf of the teachers and to implore the board to come to a contract agreement that the teachers will be happy with.
“I feel yesterday’s bargaining session was a step in the right direction in achieving a timely settlement,” said Taline Arsenian, president of the Glendale Teachers Association, to the board. “I want you to know that teachers are anxious to receive a fair settlement so that we can focus all our efforts on our students. At yesterday’s bargaining session, [GUSD’s Chief Financial Officer Robert] MacIntyre said something that resonated with me. He said, ‘We want happy teachers.’ On that, we are all in agreement.”
Several speakers echoed Arsenian’s sentiment in their time at the podium, including Teacher of the Year Andrea Reuter, who commented on the negotiations during her acceptance speech.
GUSD Board President Christine Walters was not able to respond directly to the speakers at the time due to agenda limitations, but she did speak with CV Weekly via email regarding the teachers who came to show their support at the meeting.
“We are always glad to have our teachers participate in our meetings and appreciate their sharing their concerns and frustrations,” said Walters. “We do believe that our teachers are our most valuable asset in the district and at the same time we are challenged with the constraints of balancing salary requests, class sizes/number of teachers and properly supplying our classrooms with the fluctuating monies that come from the state each year. We have recently made good progress in negotiations and are hopeful that we will come to an agreement very soon.”
Arsenian, in her comments at the meeting, seemed to feel the same as Walters, in hopes that an agreement in the negotiations will come soon.
“If we are able to come together and get this contract settled,” said Arsenian, “I am sure we will all be happy.”