Newhall School District teachers sought raises, they rallied and protested more than once with colleagues, parents and students outside of the district office, and they finally came to an agreement with the district.
The Newhall district governing board approved a 4% retro-pay for teachers in the 2021-22 school year, and a 1% on-schedule salary increase effective July 1 for active employees. Superintendent Jeff Pelzel said the agreement would also include Newhall Education Support Professionals and non-represented staff such as administrators, classified management, confidential employees and others.
“We were pleased we could come to an agreement that respected staff and our hard work,” said Hillary Hall, co-president of the Newhall Teachers Association and teacher at Pico Canyon Elementary School.
According to Hall, teachers protesting may have helped move the needle during negotiations, but more importantly, parents became aware of teachers’ need for a raise. Hall said teachers were seeking 5%, but both parties compromised and came to an agreement.
Newhall teachers have cited a need to increase wages to help retain current teachers and entice new teachers into the district. The cost of living has gone up immensely, said Hall, so teachers need an increase in their salaries.
Hall said teachers appreciated public support because it meant a lot to them to see the community rally behind the Newhall teachers.
In addition, the district ratified the language in NTA, NESP and non-represented staff to reflect agreed-upon changes and additional increases in wages or stipends for additional work.
“Our governing board and district staff are committed to giving as much as we can to all our staff as long as we can maintain our 6% reserve,” Pelzel said.
According to Pelzel, the Newhall district was able to allocate the money from its budget for salary increases while maintaining a 6% reserve, which is the amount of money a school district must save to use in emergencies, and a reserve is required by the state for all school districts.
Overall, all parties came out content with the agreement, Pelzel said. More than 90% of teachers approved of the agreement, too, he added.