Independence Teachers Picket for a Raise

For more than a year, teachers at Owens Valley School have tried to get a raise. They say they are the lowest paid teachers in the Eastern Sierra and that the school has the money to help out, but won’t. Teachers walked with picket signs and talked about a strike outside a closed session board meeting, and then went in with community members to plead their cause. As of today, board members have refused to loosen the purse strings.

Harold McDonald, president of the Owens Valley Teachers Association, explained that the school has a $700,000 reserve – more than 40% of the entire budget. Raises for the 10 teachers would amount to $40,000 per year. He also points to test scores of Owens Valley students – the highest in the valley.

Last Friday, some 50 parents, teachers and community members crowded into the meeting room on the Owens Valley campus. Three board members waited to hear from the public and they did.

One after another, parents and long-time community members stood up to support a raise for the teachers. Not one opposed the raise.

Parents told us that they understand the Board might give teachers a raise if they pay for their own health insurance. Association President McDonald confirmed that the Board did give the teachers a new proposal Monday, but he says the teachers will not accept it. He said they still have not offered a percentage raise.

On another note, Board member Irene Cruise recently left the Board and the school is accepting applications. The Board will make an appoint later this month, apparently.

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