Responding to article

The Community Voice

I am responding to last week’s article, “CRPUSD teachers bargaining chasm remains as possible strike looms”. According to Jen Hansen, CRPUSD Director of Human Resources, RPCEA is asking for a 19 percent salary increase. To clarify, RPCEA’s initial proposal was for a three-year cumulative increase of 7 percent the first year, and 6 percent for each of the next two years, which does equal 19 percent, but not in one lump sum, as the wording suggests.

The reason RPCEA opened with a proposal of 19 percent was to get teachers’ salaries closer to today's state average. Of course, in three years, when the proposed increase would be reached, salaries will have once again fallen behind the average, but teachers would at least gain some ground. Currently CRPUSD teacher salaries are 20 percent below the state average. It should also be noted that, with any proposal, compromises are anticipated during bargaining. However, after three negotiation meetings the district gave a “last best offer” on 9/15, meaning that RPCEA could either accept the offer or move to impasse. Considering their offer was so far from our proposal, RPCEA chose to declare impasse and go through the legal mediation process. RPCEA remains willing to negotiate; however, we cannot compromise to the extent the district is asking.

Last week’s article closes with a quote from CRPUSD about not wanting to give teachers a raise “on the backs of kids”. I feel that given the salaries of many neighboring districts, not giving teachers a reasonable increase will be “on the backs of kids” because the district will not retain nor attract the quality teachers that are needed in order to make our district great. In addition, our district and site administrators are paid at or above the state average. CRPUSD’s superintendent is paid 18 percent above the state average for her position, which places her among the highest paid in the county. CRPUSD’s teachers are paid 20 percent below the state average, which makes their salaries among the lowest paid in the county. If a salary increase for teachers would be “on the backs of kids”, then by that logic administrative salaries should be reduced to 20 percent below the state average as well. RPCEA feels that it is possible for the budget to be restructured to include competitive salaries for all of its employees, while still serving our students, who deserve the very best.

Shala Pace

Thomas Page Academy Teacher

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