HomeBlocksFront-GridGlendale Teachers Rally for Support Ahead of Wage Requests

Glendale Teachers Rally for Support Ahead of Wage Requests

Roxana Castro, a teacher at Thomas Edison Elementary School, is among the many GUSD educators advocating for higher teacher pay ahead of wage negotiations with the district.

Members of the Glendale Teachers Association and supporters gathered outside the Glendale Unified School District on Tuesday to rally for increased wages for GUSD teachers ahead of salary negotiations with the district.
GTA presented the Board with a petition, signed by more than 1,100 GUSD educators, “in support of investing in the classroom and giving educators a fair raise.”
“It’s imperative that the dedication of GUSD educators in shaping young minds is met with financial recognition,” Sarah Morrison, GTA’s bargaining chair, said. “Today we are standing united. We are rallying for respect because respect is not merely words; respect is a tangible acknowledgement of our invaluable contributions to GUSD students.”
The crowd of about 300 people heard from union leaders and Glendale teachers about the financial hardships educators in the district are facing.
Ame Chang, a French teacher at Crescenta Valley High School, said that with all the work teachers dedicate to not only running their classrooms, but spending extra time grading assignments at home, sponsoring clubs, tutoring, chaperoning dances and beyond, it can be hard to maintain moral when she is struggling to get by financially.
“Obviously, it’s very rewarding to see our students succeed, however, I thought that [teaching] came with the promise of a stable career and a middle class living,” Change said. “But that promise is slowly starting to feel more and more out of reach because we struggle with the rising cost of living.
“We have student loans in the back of our minds, and wages in GUSD are still far behind that of surrounding districts.”
Morrison explained that the proposal GTA is submitting to the district on Feb. 26 will ask for a 10% increase in salaries, effective for the 2022-2023 school year and for the current school year.
During negotiations last year, GTA secured a 5% increase for the 2022-2023 school year, so the additional 10% the association is asking for now would bring the total payout to 15%.
Morrison stressed the importance of offering competitive wages, emphasizing that GUSD has fallen to the lowest quartile in 3-year wage increases for school districts in Los Angeles County. With enrollment on the rise in the district, teacher retention is vital, Morrison said.
“Right now, we’re losing teachers who are being lured to districts that are giving much higher raises, that pay better or that are closer to where the educators actually live, because most of us are at this point priced out of even renting in Glendale,” Morrison said.
The district issued a statement to the News-Press about the upcoming negotiations.
“In addition to offering the highest benefits package of any school district in Los Angeles County, Glendale Unified is committed to offering competitive wages to our highly valued employees. We are doing everything we can to get as close to the wage increase proposed by GTA as possible without having to cut valuable programs that benefit students,” the statement read.
The district went on to say that they have offered a 3% ongoing raise which would bring the total compensation increase to 11.5% over the last three years.
Morrison noted that the average wage increases in the La Cañada Flintridge, Pasadena, South Pasadena and Burbank school districts over the last two years have been 16.5%, and that figure may increase further following some districts’ ongoing wage negotiations.
GUSD parent Angie Givant spoke at the rally about her appreciation for the “dedication, love and generosity” GUSD teachers show to their students. Givant said her husband is a special education teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District, who cannot teach closer to home because the salaries in GUSD are “so much lower.”
“I urge the district today to bring an end to these now years long negotiations by bringing an offer that not only matches the investment of comparable districts but makes real steps toward attempting to match the value our teachers provide,” Givant said.
In its last negotiation with the district, GTA declared an impasse and the organizations had to go to mediation. Both GTA and the district are hoping for a smoother process this year.
“We are hopeful that we can quickly come to an agreement with GTA so our teachers and certificated staff can receive the pay increase they deserve, and our collective focus can remain fully on our students,” the district said.

First published in the February 16 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.

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