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Saugus school district teachers demonstrate, demand salary increases 

Members of the Saugus Teachers Association demonstrated at Tuesday’s Saugus Union School District governing board meeting, demanding salary increases ahead the union’s contract expiring in June. Courtesy photo.
Members of the Saugus Teachers Association demonstrated at Tuesday’s Saugus Union School District governing board meeting, demanding salary increases ahead the union’s contract expiring in June. Courtesy photo.
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Teachers within the Saugus Union School District demonstrated their desire for a salary increase at Tuesday’s governing board meeting ahead of the union’s contract expiring in June. 

According to Saugus Teachers Association President Carleen Shute, the union has asked for salary increases of 7.5% in November before dropping that demand down to 3% in its latest proposal. The increases would be retroactive to the beginning of the school year. 

“Our Saugus teachers deserve a cost-of-living adjustment so we can show up rested and focused on being the best teachers we can be,” Shute wrote in a text message. “After all, our students and families deserve the best version of our excellent teachers. Our teachers need to meet their own needs before they can meet their students’ needs.” 

The district has yet to formally respond to the union’s proposal as it is waiting for Gov. Gavin Newsom’s May budget revision, according to Superintendent Colleen Hawkins. Classified staff, represented by California School Employees Association Chapter 112, have asked for salary increases of 10%, Hawkins said. 

“We continue working with our labor partners, STA and CSEA, to collaborate in finalizing our annual contract negotiations,” Hawkins said in a statement. 

School districts across the state received a COLA of 8.22% for the 2023-24 school year. 

Shute, in her first year as head of the union and her 20th year as a teacher in the district, said multiple teachers spoke in front of the board and district staff on Tuesday, telling them that they have had to take up second jobs to make ends meet. 

“STA simply asks the district to prioritize teachers’ salaries,” Shute wrote. “We give 100% to our students and families each day. We deserve a COLA to counteract the effects of inflation … What’s really at the heart of the matter is teaching our kids. We need our teachers to be able to focus on teaching to their needs and not worrying about making ends meet.” 

The district and STA previously agreed on 9% salary increases that took effect in July 2022. 

“Our hope is that the district makes teacher pay a priority in their budget instead of being an afterthought,” Shute wrote, adding that the district has been supportive of working conditions. 

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