By Jake BOWMAN
Teachers’ salaries have been a hot button issue in recent years. The Washington Post reported that almost half a million workers went on strike in 2018. A vast majority of those strikes were led by teachers seeking higher pay, more funding for their schools and a desire to be treated with more respect.
Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris has made teachers’ salaries one of her main talking points. Earlier this year Harris unveiled a plan to raise teachers’ salaries by an average of $13,500 a year. According to her website, the reason behind this is simple.
“Paying teachers for the full value of their work isn’t just a good strategy to improve education: it’s central to building an economy that works for working people. Research shows that attracting and retaining more great teachers improves student performance, increases graduation rates, and leads to higher future earnings for our kids.”
Teacher salary negotiations are underway across the nation in many school districts and at the Glendale Unified School District it is no different. There have been negotiations between GUSD and the Glendale Teachers Association since 2017. Though they are not in negotiations currently, as the school district is in its summer break, there are plans to renew negotiations as soon as school is back in session.
According to GTA president Taline Arsenian, “We did not complete negotiations for last year. The Association’s top priority is to secure a fair and affordable wage increase for the 2018-19 school year as the District’s ongoing revenues increased by at least $17 million.”
When asked whether health insurance and pensions were a critical part of the negotiations, Arsenian answered, “Health insurance is a mandatory subject of bargaining. Pensions are determined by legislative action at the state level and non-negotiable.”
At this time it’s unclear exactly how the negotiations will play out.
The national average teacher’s salary is around $60,000 a year with the average in 2017-18 California being about $80,000 a year, according to the California Dept. of Education. Teachers often have to pay out-of-pocket for school supplies and expenses accrued throughout the year. Though many people agree that education is an important issue and there are some things that need to be worked out, how to go about doing that is up for debate. Also unknown is if a strike is in the future for GUSD.
“There are many steps prior to considering a strike vote with GTA’s membership,” said Arsenian. “Currently, we are still participating in coming to the table and negotiating. No one has called impasse. We will resume negotiations early next school year.”
Questions submitted to GUSD were not answered as of press time.