The Tehachapi Unified School District continues with negotiations with the Tehachapi Association of Teachers concerning the proposed contract to replace the current three-year contract slated to expire June 30.
TAT has requested a 2.5 percent increase with no furlough days, however the proposed contract will provide a one percent salary schedule pay increase, with no furlough days. Although the district and union have continued to meet for negotiations, no settlement has been announced.
The school board meeting held April 8 was well attended, both by members of the public as well as district teachers who wanted to voice their opinions concerning their negotiations for the first pay raise they hope to receive since the 2007-08 school year. This was the second board meeting at which teachers have expressed their concerns.
Among them were Tracey Cunningham, 6th grade teacher at Jacobsen Middle School, and Janice Tietz, fifth grade teacher at Tompkins Elementary.
"We are being asked to do twice as much now," Cunningham said. "I was just wondering if you really understand what that means when it comes to having the opportunity for us to use the restroom. Many of us have master's degrees. Do you really want to make them race out every time they have to use the restroom, then race back outside to watch the kids?"
"It's time to settle, and to move on," said Janice Tietz, fifth grade teacher at Tompkins Elementary School. We have given up enough in the past years. We are not asking for the moon!"
President Mary Graham responded passionately to what the teachers had to say to the board.
"I do appreciate the teachers and the administrators who work in this district," said Graham. "They do a fantastic job.
"But I also want you to think about this... this board's responsibility is to manage the funds that come in and look at the whole picture. We are looking and trying to balance what little monies that come in. This district did not receive a big bucketload of money. To make sure that this district stays stable and viable, we don't want teachers layoffs," said Graham.
"I do respect and appreciate everything that you have done."
Superintendent Gilbert has confirmed that the district has already settled its contract with the California School Employees Association, the union that represents non-certificated personnel including bus drivers, cafeteria workers and clerical staff. That settlement included a 1 percent salary schedule increase with a 1.1 percent restoration of salary for the furlough days.