More than 100 teachers in the William S. Hart Union High School District gathered outside of the district office Wednesday to show their solidarity while their union members negotiate for higher wages.
Wearing their signature gray and white shirts, Hart District Teachers Association members could be seen walking from surrounding schools to show their support prior to Wednesday’s board meeting — where 16 educators were honored as teachers of the year.
District and school leaders at Wednesday night’s meeting spoke of teachers’ hard work in the classroom and how they go above and beyond in every aspect to provide the children of the Santa Clarita Valley a quality education and future success
“We’re here to show our support for the negotiations team who had been working at this for more than 15 months and to encourage the board to do what’s right,” union President Jayme Allsman said during the gathering.
“Without (teachers’) professionalism and dedication, the quality of education in this valley would suffer greatly,” Allsman said. “The certificated staff in this district makes the magic happen,” yet the group has been without a contract for more than a year now.
Allsman said she represents many hardworking, dedicated and patient educators, who “have always stepped up to the plate when asked to tighten our belts to keep the district solvent.”
Allsman recognizes that the district is underfunded, but the group hopes Hart District leaders will use one-time funds from Fund 17, “which is filled with lots of one-time money. Some of which is earmarked for certain projects and some of which isn’t,” she said.
Competitive salaries are crucial for the district because many teachers are expected to announce their retirement in the coming years, meaning quality educators will be need to be recruited to the valley, Allsman said. Without competitive salaries, teachers will either decline the position, which could affect the quality of your child’s education, or be forced to commute and feel disconnected from their community and school sites.
“Our ask is modest. Our ask is reasonable. Our ask is good for morale and for the community,” Allsman added. “Please empower your team to meet our request of 2 percent off and 1 percent on.”