No Abatement in Anguished Teacher Appeals for “Fair” PayNov 08, 2023 02:47PM ● By Sharon Pearce
FOLSOM CORDOVA, CA (MPG) - At the November 2nd Board meeting, 25 teachers plus family members mounted more appeals to the FCUSD Board entering the month on restructuring the 2% pay raise non-starter they have claimed was insulting them for months.
Student Board member Matthew Mellijor revealed he was “appalled” that the issue was ongoing since the beginning of the school year. Board member Kara Lofthouse remarked that the Board does hear the teachers. She revealed she had been a local teacher and left, which seemed to be a suggestion. Lofthouse also said, “We need to focus on people who are making changes for our students. Money is baseline but there is a lot of work to do.” Along the same line, at the end of the meeting Superintendent Dr. Sarah Koligian spoke on new trade careers being taught in the District.
Meanwhile, teachers quoted their families who had advised them to not worry about them but “Walk.” They continued to quote the 6-8% pay raises received in neighboring Districts. Jean Cavanaugh told the Board, “I had my best year of teaching giving up my extra (duties), and advised teachers to leave now. Katie Dixon, a 25-year teacher, summed it up with, “We are not feeling like you want us here….There is only so much life you can suck out of us.”
Christina Cook said, “I think this is a Human Rights issue. I can’t make any more money; I am at the top of my pay scale. I will make $127 on a 2% raise.” Michael Alexander stated, “Teachers helped me to become a successful accountant. I don’t know how you can offer a 2% increase. I work with numbers every single day – 2% is sad.” Another teacher said, “You (already) owe us 1.2 % so we are receiving only a .8% raise. We are without a contract.” School Board member Chris Clark advised he recently attended a California School Boards Association (“CSBA”) meeting, where a member said to him, “This District is being watched and when your teachers are ready to walk, we have a place for them.”
Board President David Reid read a formal statement in which he said that “Due to collective bargaining, the Board is limited in what they can say but (he) instructed negotiators to continue to work with the union, and Staff to keep teachers apprised of the process.”
Spokespersons for the FC Leadership Association made a presentation on behalf of Prospect Community Day School stating it was there to “debunk” any idea that Prospect was a “bad kids school.” The Board was told Prospect takes students from seven comprehensive educational sites. There, they learn to be pro-social as well as commit to academic learning. Student numbers range from eight to 50. It was explained some students may come to them with years of trauma. Three student graduates from Prospect explained to the Board how Prospect had benefitted them.
A graphics presentation and discussion was held on Proposed Boundary Modifications for the 2024-2025 School Year. Much of it centered on the opening of Alder Creek School, how many students will go there, and the type of schools to develop out of Gold Ridge, Mangini and others.
Ken Reynolds of Schoolworks presented graphics, answered questions and discussed the potential of various grandfathering policies, yet to be decided. He said there can be problems if students choose not to transfer to available schools. Apartment complex size was discussed in areas like Alder Creek and Gold Ridge. President Reid commented “We need to be prepared for 2000 students in middle schools. Do we want them at that capacity level? Everything is on space availability as to bringing younger siblings over with older students.” It was stated more on this will be brought to the Board by December 14.
Dr. Koligian spoke on developing careers for high school students, with an example presentation given on First Responder employment. In the field of Biotechnology, the Folsom Patient Care Pathway was displayed in graphics, showing students using a simulated ambulance to learn patient care.
Dr. Koligian reported on future jobs, saying law enforcement was expected to increase 4% and first responders 7% over the next five years. Programs for associate degrees are being developed, she indicated.
Dr. Koligian also reported on the safety issue around E-scooters, advising, if some did not know it, that drivers must have a driver’s license, wear a helmet, and must step off at intersections and walk or carry the scooter across. She stated that parents need to be aware of this while gift-shopping for youth.