Teacher Salary Fight
Teachers are there to offer support to students, during and outside of school hours, for academic, extracurricular, and mental/emotional concerns. Regardless of everything that’s expected of them, teachers make a comparatively low salary based on their education and qualifications. They have to pay for rent, bills, food and other necessities, but since the state doesn’t give enough support for classroom supplies, teachers often have to use their own money for those as well. In addition to this, many teachers buy notebooks, paper, pencils, scissors and other fundamental supplies for students that can’t afford to purchase them on their own. That alone can amount to hundreds of dollars per year.
Krista O’Connor has been a teacher at Petaluma High School for the past 20 years and vice president for the Petaluma Federation of Teachers for the past six years. She has personally contributed to the fight for higher pay by speaking to the PCS Board of Education about the salary and contract, writing letters to the Argus-Courier and informing the community about issues with this contract. According to petalumacityschools.org, a teacher’s average yearly salary is $60,000. Teachers in the Petaluma School District recently received a 3.8% increase in salary for the 2019-2020 school year, making it easier “to keep up with increases in our everyday bills and expenses,” said O’Connor. She added, “Also, the rate of pay supports our retirement fund.” There isn’t a current protest happening since there was just a raise put in place, but there will always be controversy over everything teachers need to cover financially. They can only hope that in the future they will get the recognition they deserve.